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Developer(s) EditShare LLC
Initial release 1989; 29 years ago
Stable release
14.0.0[1] / April 4, 2017; 16 months ago
Operating system
Platform IA-32[2]
Size 93 MB
Available in English
Type Non-linear editing system
License Freemium

Lightworks is a professional non-linear editing system (NLE) for editing and mastering digital video in various formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions, and television in PALNTSC, and high-definition formats. Lightworks was an early developer of computer-based non-linear editing systems, and has been in development since 1989. Lightworks won a 2017 EMMY Award for pioneering digital nonlinear editing. Lightworks has millions of adoptors worldwide due to the software being available across three platforms in Windows, Mac and Linux

The program is currently available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. The development of an open sourceversion was announced in May 2010.[3] No source code of the programme has yet been released.


The free version comes with a limited number of features:[4]

  • Realtime effects
  • Advanced multicam editing
  • Second monitor output
  • Ability to import a wide range of file types
  • Export to Vimeo (H.264/MPEG-4) up to 720p HD
  • Export to YouTube (H.264/MPEG-4) up to 720p HD

Note: The free version cannot export to DVD, Blu-ray, but can export to a hard drive (since Lightworks 14).

Use in films and TV series[edit]

Film title Year Director Editor
Pulp Fiction[5] 1994 Quentin Tarantino Sally Menke
The Cure[6] 1995 Peter Horton Anthony Sherin
Romeo + Juliet[5] 1996 Baz Luhrmann Jill Bilcock
L.A. Confidential[5] 1997 Curtis Hanson Peter Honess
Moulin Rouge![5] 2001 Baz Luhrmann Jill Bilcock
28 Days Later[5] 2002 Danny Boyle Chris Gill
Bruce Almighty[7] 2003 Tom Shadyac Scott Hill
Revolutionary Road[5] 2008 Sam Mendes Tariq Anwar
Centurion[5] 2010 Neil Marshall Chris Gill
The King’s Speech[5][8] 2010 Tom Hooper Tariq Anwar
The Wolf of Wall Street[5] 2013 Martin Scorsese Thelma Schoonmaker


OLE Limited was founded in 1989 by Paul Bamborough, Nick Pollock and Neil Harris. In 1994 it was sold to Tektronix,[9] who were not successful at developing the company’s products. In 1999 it was sold on to the newly formed Lightworks Inc., then owned by Fairlight Japan, and then purchased by Gee Broadcast in May 2004.[10][11]

Gee Broadcast ownership, 2004-2009[edit]

Under Gee Broadcast ownership, new product releases resumed with the release of the Lightworks Touch range,[12][13] and the Alacrity[14] and Softworks[15]ranges for SD & HD editing.[16] Softworks offered the Lightworks User Interface and toolset in a software only package for laptops or office workstations. Softworks and Alacrity supported mixed formats and resolutions in real time and project output in different resolutions without re-rendering. Alacrity supported dual outputs while the same facility was available for Softworks users as an option.[17]

EditShare ownership, 2009-present[edit]

In August 2009 the UK and US based company EditShare acquired Gee Broadcast and the Lightworks editing platform from, along with their video server system GeeVS.[18]

At the annual convention of the National Association of BroadcastersNAB Show, on 11 April 2010, EditShare announced that they plan to transform Lightworks into Lightworks Open Source.[19] It was presented at IBC in Amsterdam September 2010.[20]

On November 9, 2010, EditShare announced that Lightworks would be downloadable on November 29 of the same year, at first exclusively for the users who had registered during the initial announcement,[21] but subsequently publishing the software as “public beta”.[22]

EditShare planned the release of the open source version in Q4 of 2011, after they finished code review.[22] They plan to make money from proprietary plugins offered in their associated online shop, including plugins needed to access professional video formats. Shortly before the scheduled release date of 29. November 2011, EditShare announced that an open source release of the software would be temporarily delayed, but did not announce a new release date. The announcement noted that they were not yet satisfied with the stability of the new version.[23][24]

Windows version released at NAB 2012[edit]

After an 18-month beta program, EditShare released Lightworks 11, for Windows only, on the 28th of May, 2012. The non beta release of Lightworks includes a host of new features for editors, and runs on wide range of PC hardware. The software was re-designed and re-written for portability (versions for GNU/Linux and Mac OS X have also been released) and now supports many more codecs including AVCHD, H.264, AVC-Intra, DNxHD, ProRes, Red R3D, DPX, XDCAM HD 50, XDCAM EX, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K, but only for the paid Pro version. The free version supports DV, MPEG, Uncompressed and other codecs for both import and export.[25][26][27]

Windows version 11.1 released 29 May 2013[edit]

On 29 May 2013, v11.1 stable release was made available for download. A major development in the Pro version is much improved performance of the H.264/AVC codec in MP4 and MOV containers. This makes it possible to edit this format natively, even with less powerful CPUs. This should interest HDSLR and GoPro camera users. Native editing of H.264 MTS files has been possible since version 11.0.3.

This version of Lightworks has also replaced HASP with the new EditShare Licensing System (ELS), which eliminates some installation problems. Lightworks Free users can now download the 64 bit version, which was previously limited to Pro users. The Free version now also comes with a 30-day Pro Trial period.[28]

Linux version announced at IBC 2012[edit]

EditShare demonstrated the Linux version at the NAB in Las Vegas in April 2012, and posted a video of it running on Ubuntu on their YouTube channel.[29] At IBC in Amsterdam in September, an updated Linux demo was presented, and EditShare announced that the initial Linux alpha version would become available on October 30.[30] Lightworks 11 alpha for Linux was released on the 30 April 2012, but only to a limited audience.[31] The Linux version of Lightworks was made available as a Public Beta on 30 April 2013.[32][33][34]

Lightworks 12 beta released for Windows, Linux and Mac[edit]

On August 8, 2014, the first beta of Lightworks version 12 working on Windows, Linux and Mac was released.[35]

Lightworks 12.5 released for Windows, Linux and Mac[edit]

On August 29, 2015, Lightworks version 12.5 for Windows, Linux and Mac was released.[36]

Lightworks 12.6 released for Windows, Linux and Mac[edit]

On February 4, 2016, Lightworks version 12.6 for Windows, Linux and Mac was released.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ “Lightworks v14.0 Release Notes”.
  2. Jump up^ “Tech Specs and Compatibility”LightWorks. EditShare EMEA. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. Jump up^ Joey, Sneddon (21 May 2010). “Oscar winning Lightworks Open-Source Video editor Is Coming to Linux”OMG! Ubuntu!. Ohso Ltd. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  4. Jump up^ “Compare Versions”Lightworks. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i “Spotlight”.
  6. Jump up^ “Christy’s Post Production Center”.
  7. Jump up^ “Spotlight: Scott Hill”.
  8. Jump up^ “Spotlight: Tariq Anwar”.
  9. Jump up^ “Company News; Tektronix To Buy Lightworks Editing Systems – New York Times”. 1995-04-11. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  10. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  11. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  12. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  13. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  14. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  15. Jump up^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein,. “Docs and software downloads” (PDF).
  16. Jump up^ “Lightworks ships Softworks Version 1.1”. 2006-10-27. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  17. Jump up^ “Lightworks Softworks User Manual v4” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  18. Jump up^ EditShare. “EditShare Ships New Version of Flow Media Asset Management Solution – Press – News & Events”.
  19. Jump up^ EditShare. “Welcome to EditShare”.
  20. Jump up^ EditShare. “EditShare”.
  21. Jump up^ Lightworks News Nov 2010 Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. Jump up to:a b “Lightworks”. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  23. Jump up^ “Lightworks: Freie Videoschnittsoftware wird etwas später aktualisiert –”.
  24. Jump up^
  25. Jump up^ “Lightworks: Top Features”. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  26. Jump up^ “Lightworks: All Features”. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  27. Jump up^ “Lightworks: Tech Specs and Compatibility”. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  28. Jump up^ “New EditShare Licensing System (ELS)”. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  29. Jump up^ EditShare (25 April 2012). “Screen capture of Lightworks on Ubuntu Linux”– via YouTube.
  30. Jump up^ “Good night, Posterous”.
  31. Jump up^ Sneddon, Joey-Elijah (10 January 2013). “LightWorks for Linux Opens Alpha Access For Limited Time”OMG! Ubuntu!. Ohso Ltd. Retrieved 19 March2013.
  32. Jump up^ “It’s Here – Preview Lightworks for Mac at NAB 2013”EditShare. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  33. Jump up^ “Forum”.
  34. Jump up^ “Lightworks Linux Public Beta Is Now Available To Download”. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  35. Jump up^ “Lightworks Release 11.5.2 Now Available To Download”.
  36. Jump up^ “Lightworks Version 12.5 Now Available on Windows Linux and Mac OS X!”.
  37. Jump up^ “Lightworks Version 12.6.0 Now Available on Windows Linux and Mac OS X!”.

External links[edit]


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