Download of the day: Lightworks

Our daily pick of the best Windows software

Lightworks

Who says you need to pay big bucks for a professional video editing program? Lightworks is stupendously powerful software that's available completely for free.

Why you need it

The prohibitive cost of professional video editing software can form a major barrier, especially if you're just starting out or don't have much in the way of funds. If you want a fantastic program that can work with video but need something cheaper than Adobe Premiere Pro, Lightworks is the perfect choice – even more so because you don't even have to pay for it.

But don't think it's not up to much because it's free – Lightworks is used extensively by Hollywood directors, and was put to good use on such films as The Wolf of Wall Street, The King's Speech and Pulp Fiction. So if it's good enough for people like BAFTA award-winner Peter Honess, we're sure you'll love it too.

So what can it do? Well, there's a multi-layered timeline, a multi-channel audio mixer, full effect adjustment with keyframes and real-time waveform and vectorscape tools. There are more than 40 effects bundled with Lightworks,

One of the best aspects of Lightworks is its compatibility – it can work with files created in Final Cut Pro, Avid, Adobe After Effects and many more programs, which makes it ideal if you're working on a project with various different collaborators.

The paid-for version allows you to export your work in 1080p (the free version is limited to 720p maximum), support for hardware I/O and a few more advanced options, but the free version offers so much that there's really no need to shell out unless you plan on editing a Hollywood blockbuster.

Key features

  • Works on: PC, Mac, Linux
  • Versions: Free, Pro (£14.99 per month, or £99.99 per year, or £249.99 outright)
  • Feature rich: There is an amazing amount of functionality in Lightworks, especially when you consider that you can use it for free
  • Used by Hollywood: Lightworks is such an impressive program that it has been used on a number of Hollywood films
  • Highly compatible: Share your work with collaborators who are using different software or even different operating systems – Lightworks can handle it all

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