Flowblade Review: Most Capable NLE on Linux?


Flowblade 2.0 Released

Janne Liljeblad and other contributors released Flowblade 2.0 recently and I thought I’d try it out. I edited a quick 1 minute video from about 10 drone clips shot in 4k. The first impressive feature was how easily I was able to render proxies. It was just as easy to replace them with the original media before the render.

As both a Premiere user and a Linux user, I’ve been on a quest to find an NLE that is just as capable and intuitive as Premiere, but on Linux. So far, I’ve used only a few and had just ‘okay’ experiences. My first Linux based NLE that I dove headfirst into was Kdenlive. I was cutting some footage for a client and built out the complete project in Kdenlive for a few reasons. First and foremost, at the time, I no longer had access to Adobe CC through a former employer. And finally, even if I had $53/mo, I could think of 1,000 things I’d do before I got an Adobe CC subscription.

But I digress, this is a post about Flowblade. My experience with Kdenlive was fine, the hotkeys took some getting used to. The alpha channels weren’t automatic either, but it worked. Flowblade, however gave me a much more ‘automatic’ experience. I’m on an older mid-range GTX-970 machine and 4k footage doesn’t playback smoothly. Regardless, it felt like proxies were easier to create in Flowblade than in Premiere. Just a few clicks and it was done. Updated right there in my timeline. And encoding was a breeze. Once I made my edits, which was a pleasure by the way, All I had to do was choose “replace proxies with original media” and I was all set to render.

Intuitive Experience

There were several hotkeys that carried over from Premiere and others that just made sense. The i and o keys set in and out points, the HOME and END key pops your playhead to the beginning and end of your timeline, stuff like that. The alpha transparency and title card system took some getting used to, but it wasn’t that bad. I feel like color correction is slightly easier in Flowblade than in Kdenlive. That’s just my experience, and the clips I happen to be working on.

Overall, I still can’t completely commit to Flowblade, even though it’s a pretty great application for basic edits. If I were a vlogger and just needed something to spit out videos with speed, I’d definitely use Flowblade for everything. And even as a pro editor, I still may use Flowblade for some quick edits here and there, based on the situation. But as long as Resovlve remains an option for Linux users, it no doubt offers the absolute best postproduction experience so far. The grades are otherworldly. I’ve never had so much control over color. Not even in Premiere. Lumetri Color doesn’t even compete with Resolve.

So far, my only issue with resolve is it can’t take Panasonic .MTS files by default, they have to be transcoded first. And that just may be a “free version” limitation, I’m not sure. Either way, I’m just a few freelance jobs away from picking up a full copy of Resolve for my personal Linux machine, so I’ll keep you posted if my experience changes once I get everything up and running. Until next time.