While FCP X has many benefits, many are reluctant to make the shift from FCP7 as entire workflows will have to be changed. Premiere Pro is known to have issues with plugins and color correction, while Avid is beyond the price-range most people are willing to pay.
Lightworks has been used to edit some big Hollywood movies like LA Confidential, Pulp Fiction, Heat, Road to Perdition, Hugo, The King’s Speech, and more recently The Wolf of Wall Street, etc. They have been gradually rebuilding a fanbase by offering a free version, which is limited to exporting only in 720p H.264. The licensed Pro version can handle 4K.
Licenses are available in the following variations:
- Monthly: $24.99
- Yearly: $174.99
- Perpetual (One-Time): $437.99
The Pro edition has advanced project sharing; stereoscopic output; third-party hardware support (Aja, BlackMagic, Matrox I/O), etc. Both versions support multicam and GPU acceleration, which translates to faster workflows if you have a powerful GPU. To learn the differences between both versions in detail , click here.
Here are the new features specific to v12:
- Added UltraHD video output format option to the Video tab of the Project Card (Lightworks Pro only)
- Export option improvements (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added H.264/MP4 export format for more export options including 4K
- Added WebM export option, includes 4K
- Added XAVC-Intra export option, includes 4K
- Added support for XML export (Version 5 only)
- Added further improvements to AAF AVID Media Composer export option to allow media relinking to the original file if one exists
- Added improvements to “H.264/MP4” “WebM” and “WMV” export options (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added ability to change the Compression settings
- Added option for Constant bitrate compression
- Added option for Variable bitrate compression
- Added 1440p (2K) and 2160p (4K) size options to YouTube export option (Lightworks Pro Only)
One of Lightworks biggest plus points is that they understand that the editor deals with a large amount of material on the cutting table, and organization is the only way out. Lightworks comes with a unique bin called the Multicam bin, which syncs different angles together in one bin. The new Content Manager helps to bring together all Clips, Edits, Bins and Searches. in one unified interface.
They have some massive improvements to this crucial feature in their new release:
- Added a scroll bar to torn off groups
- Added the ability to scroll bin tabs in a torn off group
- Added the ability to right click a tab in a torn off group to display the bin list
- Added the ability to resize a torn off group
- Added the ability to add a Bin to more than one Group
- Improved the colour of Group names within the content manager
- Improved tab display of bins on torn off groups
- Improved the Bin search within the content manager
- Improved the behaviour of hoovered clips
- Removed the number limit of bins available in a group
- Fixed inability to drag torn off bins into Groups within the content manager
- Fixed bins being incorrectly merged when dragging and dropping a bin to a group
Filtering and searching in Lightworks is also highly optimized, with a simplistic workflow for arranging and managing media in different bins and hassle-less searching. It also has powerful color-correction features. You can get a taste of the interface from the below image:
With the latest beta release they have added support for LUTs (.3dl, .looks, .cube, .davlut, and .mga). CinemaDNG files are supported as well. Even Prores is supported, but only in the Mac version.
Editshare have included XML import support for importing your FCP timeline into Lightworks directly, in case you want to work on some old projects. And for roundtripping, you can export your sequence as an AAF directly to Resolve. After grading, you can round trip back to Lightworks with another AAF. This set of features make it a viable alternative to FCP X.
Let us know about your experiences with Lightworks and whether it deserves a place among mainstream NLEs.
You can download the latest beta here.