From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)LWKS Software Ltd
Initial release1989; 34 years ago (1989)
Stable release
2021.1[1] / January 20, 2021; 2 years ago (2021-01-20)
Operating system
Size93 MB
Available inEnglish
TypeNon-linear editing system

Lightworks is a non-linear editing system (NLE) for editing and mastering digital video. It 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 being one of the first to create digital nonlinear editing software. The development of an open-source version was announced on April 11, 2010.[3] However, no source code of the program has been released. In July 2020, a Lightworks product manager confirmed that they "Still hope to announce something in the future" about Lightworks' open source development.


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

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

The free version cannot export to DVD or 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
Congo 1995 Frank Marshall Anne V. Coates
Heat 1995 Michael Mann Dov Hoenig
Braveheart 1995 Mel Gibson Steven Rosenbaum
Romeo + Juliet[5] 1996 Baz Luhrmann Jill Bilcock
Broken Arrow 1996 John Woo John Wright
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] 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, 2009–2020[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 Broadcasters, NAB 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 9 November 2010, EditShare announced that Lightworks would be downloadable on 29 November 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 28 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 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 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 30 October .[30] Lightworks 11 alpha for Linux was released on 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 8 August 2014, the first beta of Lightworks version 12 working on Windows, Linux and Mac was released.[35]

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

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

Lightworks 12.7 released for Windows, Linux and Mac[edit]

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

Lightworks 14.5 released for Windows, Linux and Mac[edit]

In October 2018, Lightworks released version 14.5 for Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. 14.5 added a vast array of new features including variable frame rate support, a huge amount of codec support including Red Cinema R3D, Cineform and Blackmagic Q1 codecs.[citation needed]

LWKS Software Ltd ownership, 2020-present[edit]

In September 2020, a new company, LWKS Software Ltd, founded in August of the same year[38] by two members of the development team, took ownership of Lightworks, as well as QScan AQC software. the agreement also mentions Key member of the development teams of both software joining the new company.[39]


Lightworks confirmed that over 4-million downloads and registrations had taken place.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lightworks for Linux 64-bit". 14 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Tech Specs and Compatibility". LightWorks. EditShare EMEA. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ EditShare – The Smart Way to Edit Together – EditShare announces Lightworks Open Source
  4. ^ "Compare Versions". Lightworks. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Spotlight". 14 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Christy's Post Production Center". Archived from the original on 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  7. ^ "Spotlight: Scott Hill". 14 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Spotlight: Tariq Anwar". 14 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Company News; Tektronix To Buy Lightworks Editing Systems - New York Times". The New York Times. 1995-04-11. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  10. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  11. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  12. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  13. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  14. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  15. ^ Interlab, Alexandre Stein. "Docs and software downloads" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  16. ^ "Lightworks ships Softworks Version 1.1". 2006-10-27. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  17. ^ "Lightworks Softworks User Manual v4" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  18. ^ EditShare. "EditShare Ships New Version of Flow Media Asset Management Solution - Press - News & Events".
  19. ^ EditShare. "Welcome to EditShare".
  20. ^ EditShare. "EditShare".
  21. ^ Lightworks News Nov 2010 Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ a b "Lightworks". Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  23. ^ "Lightworks: Freie Videoschnittsoftware wird etwas später aktualisiert -".
  24. ^ "Announcement". Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  25. ^ "Lightworks: Top Features". 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  26. ^ "Lightworks: All Features". 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  27. ^ "Lightworks: Tech Specs and Compatibility". 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  28. ^ "New EditShare Licensing System (ELS)". 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  29. ^ EditShare (25 April 2012). "Screen capture of Lightworks on Ubuntu Linux". Archived from the original on 2012-05-18 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ "Good night, Posterous".
  31. ^ Sneddon, Joey-Elijah (10 January 2013). "LightWorks for Linux Opens Alpha Access For Limited Time". OMG! Ubuntu!. Ohso Ltd. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  32. ^ "It's Here - Preview Lightworks for Mac at NAB 2013". EditShare. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  33. ^ "Forum". 14 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Lightworks LinuxPublic Beta Is Now Available To Download". Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  35. ^ "Lightworks Release 11.5.2 Now Available To Download". 14 November 2021.
  36. ^ "Lightworks Version 12.5 Now Available on Windows Linux and Mac OS X!". 14 November 2021.
  37. ^ "Lightworks Version 12.6.0 Now Available on Windows Linux and Mac OS X!". 14 November 2021.
  38. ^ "LWKS SOFTWARE LTD - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  39. ^ "Lightworks Editing System Relaunched with New Company | Hollywood Reporter". 15 September 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-21.

External links[edit]