Lightworks Video Editing Software Tutorial for Beginners! [ COMPLETE ]

Updated on 2021-08-06
Hello, welcome to this short guide dedicated to EditShare Lightworks 2020, a free-to-use video editing software with everything you need to create and edit your own videos! 

Hello, welcome to this short guide dedicated to EditShare Lightworks 2020, a free-to-use video editing software with everything you need to create and edit your own videos! 


New Project, Workspaces in Lightworks

When opening Lightworks, the Project browser opens, showing all your most recent projects if you have. You can use Create a new project on top to start from a new project setting name, frame rate, and metadata. Lightworks has a total of four workspaces listed on top: to start realizing your project open the Edit one. This shows the Navigation panel on the left, collecting media files; the Video Preview on the right, and the Timeline at the bottom, where you edit and modify media. 


Importing media into Lightworks

You can import videos, images, and sound files by either browsing for these from the Libraries section or dragging and dropping these from any folder directly inside Lightworks. At this point, you can double-click on any file to check it on the Source Viewer and adjust its metadata with the Log workspace. 


Create Your Sequence with Lightworks


To start working with these files, drag these onto the Timeline. The appear as blocks called segments, complete with file name, audio waveform, and visual thumbnails. Dedicated Tracks collect the segments on the Timeline, such as Video Tracks for visual content and Audio Tracks for sound, music, and speech doubled to welcome stereo channels.

To add, rename or remove Tracks, right-click on the left side. You can zoom in and out on the Timeline by holding down the CTRL (or CMD) key and using your mouse wheel. All these segments make a composition called Sequence, the single piece of video that you export and render.

Inside Lightworks, you can also work with multiple Sequences: in this beginner tutorial, we will create and edit only one. 


Preview the Sequence

You can check the Sequence content from the Video Preview on the right, which shows the frame under the main playhead on the Timeline. You can place or drag it to check the frames you want or use the player to playback in real-time with audio. 


Edit Your Video with Lightworks

Editing Clips

Let's see how to edit the Timeline segments. You can move any time by dragging it within the same Track or in another one. Videos with audio get both contents moved unless you right-click and uncheck the Auto track sync option.

If visual segments overlap in time on different Tracks, the ones placed on the top Video Tracks are shown in front of others on lower Tracks. You can also click on the Track names to lock these, hiding their content and preventing modification.

Hold down the CTRL (or CMD) key and drag it to create fast copies of any segment. To remove any segment from the Timeline, click on it to select it and use the Z or the Delete key. You can undo any action using CTRL (or CMD) and Z. To split any segment in two, place the playhead on the interesting point and use the C key. 


Edges Stretching

Lightworks has an advanced way to stretch segments and manage the time gaps between them. When you hover over any segment, its edges get highlighted towards the internal or the external side. You can click on any side to select it in yellow color and start editing by dragging it. If you drag an internal edge, you stretch the segment in time by saving the time gaps. Pay attention that this operation cuts part of the original video or audio content.

When dragging an external edge, you only adjust the time gaps between the current segment and the others. If you drag both the internal and the external side, you stretch the segment freely, without saving the time gaps. Whereas if you enable both the inner sides, you time-shift the segment content without moving it on the Timeline. These edits can also be applied on multiple clip edges at the same time. You can disable any edge selection with the Tab key. 


Add Effects in VFX Workspace

To add visual effects and pieces of text, you have to use the VFX workspace. Here you can place the main playhead on the interested media to check its effect panel on the left side. By default, all segments have the Colour Correction effect applied, useful to adjust the color intensity, brightness and contrast levels.

You can find other effects by going to the Plus button above, browsing through several categories, and applying any effect by double-clicking on it. This gets listed under the Settings panel with its name, its properties you can customize, and the green light you can use to enable and disable the effect. With the Gears icon on the right, you can reset or remove the effect. 


Adding Text in VFX Workspace

From the Text category, you can add several kinds of titles, such as pieces of Text, Crawls, or Rolls. These can be edited under the Settings panel, just like the visual effects. You can adjust the text content, style, and properties, set its transparency level with Opacity, color under Face, and add Shadow or Outline effects. You can also click and drag the text to move it directly on the Preview. 


FX Tracks

The effects and titles added to any segment are also bound since they move and last in time following the segment itself. But if you place the playhead on a blank area, you can add effects and titles as independent segments inside a dedicated FX (Effects) Track. This Track is placed at the top, so all the effects and titles are applied in front of all the media from the Video Tracks. These FX segments can be moved and edited just like standard clips. 


Adding Transitions

From the Mix category, you can also add visual transitions. These are applied to the whole segment by default, going from 0% to 100% of the transition progress. You can use the Graphs panel to adjust its evolution in time, inverting its progress or adjusting its duration, applying the transition at the beginning or end of the segment content. Just make sure to get the timer icon turned ON if you do not see any graph for the transition. 


Audio Workspace

You can switch to the Audio workspace to apply audio corrections and sound effects. You can pull up or down its line to adjust its volume level or drag from its edges to add linear volume transitions on any segment.

In addition, you can use the Mixer in the top right corner to check and balance the volume coming from each Audio Track, including the LR Track, which collects the entire sound content of the project. With the Effects panel on the left, you can also add sound effects to all the segments inside the Audio Track interested, such as the Equalizer for audio filtering. 


Saving, Exporting of Lightworks

As you work on your project, Lightworks saves it automatically. You can come back to the main Project browser with the button in the top left corner.

Whereas to render your current Sequence, right-click on the left side and go to Export. The free Lightworks version only renders .mp4 files up to 720p HD. For 1080p HD, 4Kor other video formats, you have to upgrade your license. Set the video frame rate, size, name, and destination folder on the Export dialog box. The Sequence will be rendered through its entire length until the end of the last segment in time.


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