Lightworks 12 gets better assets management, improves interoperability

Lightworks 12 gets better assets management, improves interoperability

EditShare released the new version of Lightworks, a proprietary-going-opensource non-linear video editor for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Main changes in the release are:

  • improved playback engine: smarter, more robust;
  • new Content Manager window to manage project assets such as clips, edits, bins, and searches;
  • various bins and groups, filters and searches improvements;
  • HSV, RGB, and Curves effects haven been merged into a single color grading effect;
  • better interoperability: ProRes encoding on Mac, Final Cut Pro 7 XML v5 importing, AAF round trip with Resolve, Flow to Lightworks (AAF or Flow XML) to Flow (AAF).

The company published a neat conсise overview of the changes in this version, we suggest you simply read it for details. They also released videos about some of the new features. Here's a review of the content manager:

The next few days or, rather, weeks for EditShare will be full of answering the same question over and over again: when source code of Lightworks will be released.

If you can recall, the idea was to make stable, fully supported releases of the non-linear video editor for both Windows, Linux, and Mac first, then release the code. Here's a public statement from EditShare made on Twitter just a few hours ago:

The open source project was deferred until a cross-platform version was available, but we haven’t forgotten about it. Now that v12 is live, we can figure out the details.

So while EditShare is still to deliver on all of their promises, they are sticking to the plan.

Some other news are likely to cause a bit of disturbance. When Lightworks 11.5 was released in January this year, a new licensing scheme was introduced, with a monthly/annual subscription renewal option. For Lightworks 12, EditShare significantly updated the pricing as compared to v11.5:

Month License: $7.99 $24.99
Year License: $79.99 $174.99
Outright: $279.99 $437.99

The other change that quite a few users felt uneasy about (to put it nicely) back when v11.5 was released is the migration of features from the free version to the commercial one. For instance, EditShare moved a lot of sensible exporting options from the former to the latter.

The presumably up-to-date comparison table between free and commerical version is here. A quick look suggests that the titler has been returned to the free version, but exporting is still limited to H.264/MPEG-4 with 240p, 360p, 480p, and 720p options.

One other source of income that the company initially named was a marketplace for 3rd party plugins. After a few years the idea looked generally forgotten or, at least, put aside. We asked EditShare about that, to which they replied:

We are adding 64-bit plugin support. It didn’t make the 12.0 release, so we’re now aiming for 12.1 for that. This is the immediate prerequisite to move forward on the marketplace at this stage.

It's going to be interesting to see how/if the community is going to deal with limitations of the free version once the source code is out. Given that the UI and UX of Lightworks are really made with professionals in mind who are used to paying for software, hard feelings might or might not amount to severe customizations or even, *gasp*, forks.

For now, Lightworks 12 is available for downloading at

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3 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. To be honest I had high hopes for Lightworks but this massive increase in pricing coupled with the foot dragging in regards to opensourcing makes me very suspicious. 

    Looks like a company that is using open source as a buzz word.  I hope I’m wrong!

  2. @comeinandburn: Unfortunately, you aren’t wrong. They used “open source” promises to get lots of free beta testers for about two years. When they were ready, they just changed the terms and reduced the abilities of the free version to an amateurish so called “youtube export” (MP4@720p). Up until that point the paid version would buy you commercial codecs, which was not only reasonable (they explained they had to pay the licensing which was understandable), but also the promise all the way. They basically lied to their user base for two years just to get enthusiastic beta testers.

    After removing any serious export options from the free version, they also delayed the opening of the source until the Mac version was out. That was an excuse. There’s obviously no technical reason related to cross compatibility to keep the source closed. Wanna bet they find a new excuse or open just a small part of the source and become “open core” or anything similar? After all, how would they keep asking for such amounts of money if they open the source?

    Now they doubled the average pricing (tripling the most interesting monthly one). These Editshare guys are a joke. Whoever trusts them deserves what they get.

  3. I have been trying lightworks in and out on my machine for the past 2 years. I Was excited about it. That is why I love Blender, Krita, Gimp, etc. Maybe I even heard about that project here? Not sure anymore.
    First of all you do not have to open your product to be cross platform. I am not going to accuse anyone of anything yet. Editshare went all in when announcing it was going the open source way. No one forced them to do so. They could have changed their mind after re analyzing their financial situation and model, way earlier in the game. It is up to them to destroy their own image they took so many years to build if they do not keep their own word. It is not even about price, although never a good sign when a company has to reevaluate its model that much.