4K Video Editing in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux


I’ve been a Linux guy for a very very long time. I started using it around the time that Redhat 4.0 came out so probably since around 1996 but the limitations of the content creation software has always been my reason for not jumping ship and leaving windows behind. Every few years I check in and see how the Linux video editing world has progressed and see if its worth making that full time switch.

In this video I’m going to show you how to install a few editing programs on Linux but more specifically Ubuntu 18.04 and see if its up to the task of editing the type of footage that we film for gear seekers. Spoiler alert we will be covering Davinci resolve again and Ill be showing you how to install the final release version on Ubuntu.

In these, lets call them tests were only going to see if these programs are capable of playing back and colour grading the highest end footage we use for the channel. That for us is very important given the amount of videos we produce on a weekly basis.

The caveats for this video go a little something like this. This video is geared towards seasoned video editing professionals and people with specific workflow requirements, like us and not hobbyists. The argument can be had that these programs are capable of editing videos and can do the job easily but can they do the basic things that we here at gear seekers require. The basic things to us are the most important part of our workflow.

Okay that with that said lets talk about our most specific requirements.

Firstly the solution needs to be free. Any programs that cost money are out. We already pay for our adobe creative cloud subscription, so we don’t want to spend more money.

We shoot everything in UHD 4K. More specifically, the footage is encoded with the Avid DNxHR HQX codec with a bitrate of 1.5Gbps. So about 10 times the bitrate of shooting 4K 10bit LongGOP on the Panasonic Lumix GH5 internally. Its a very heavy codec and it requires a PC with the ability to do that heavy lifting.

Speaking of heavy lifting, the machine were using was built from the ground up for editing this footage. Thats the only task it will ever do. Its running an Intel i7 6900K, 32GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 memory at 3200MHz. A Gigabyte GTX 1070 and the main editing and scratch disk is a Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD with the AOC 32inch 10bit 4K display. This machine is no joke, it can edit proper 4K footage in Premiere Pro with its eyes closed. Well that is if computers had eyes.

Okay lets check out our first candidate kdenlive. Kdenlive has come a very long way in its long time being the pseudo-pro video editing solution for Linux. But is it up to the task. Lets take a closer look.

Its obvious that a lot of work has been put into it but it lacks the features for the type of workflow that we would typically use for gear seekers, not only that when we run the program in the GPU accelerated mode, it cant play the footage and the non accelerated mode just feels sluggish.

Alrighty lets check out Openshot. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it but can it do what I want. Lets take a look.

Openshot is missing a lot of basic features and struggles to play our the footage in the timeline. There aren’t many options and there isn’t any GPU acceleration anywhere to be found.

Next up is Shotcut. Its claim is that its designed for 4K video editing. Lets see if it can do it.

Shotcut is a very promising program. Its got GPU acceleration, supports external monitors but its missing basic LUT support and more advanced color grading which is a must for our workflow. I reckon Shotcut is the one that we will keep an eye on.

Last but not least, lets check out Davinci Resolve 15. We did an install guide for resolve 15 on Ubuntu you can check that out in the top right hand corner right now or sit tight because I’m going to give you guys a quick updated install guide for it. Although Ubuntu isn’t technically supported, it is easy to install. Lets check it out.

Well its clear that resolve can do everything we want in Linux, the only problem I have with resolve right now is, its missing a key feature that I want more than need and that’s multiple GPU support. The studio version does support this though. Luckily for me I have a studio license coming with our new Blackmagic camera.

I dont hate any of these programs and I see that each of them has their use but for our workflow right now the clear standout for us is resolve. I do use resolve for some things in our videos but not as our main NLE. I also think I need to keep my eyes on Shotcut, It looks like its got the potential to be a real contender.

I know there are a few other programs that people use to edit in Linux like but I don’t think they were worth checking out right now. If you guys have any suggestions for programs you think we should check out in a follow up video in the future let me know in the comments section. Hopefully this video helped you decided what you want to try out or maybe it didn’t because we have such a stupid editing requirement. Who knows.