Lightworks Announcement, 8th September 2011

Lightworks Announcement

8th September 2011

Almost one year ago we released the first beta version of Lightworks as a free download in the first phase of our journey towards Lightworks Open Source. A lot has happened since then and we are now ready to announce the next steps in the evolution of Lightworks.

Before we go into the details, we want to reassure you that Lightworks will remain a free download, and that it will continue to be developed by our growing team of developers and supported by our skilled engineers, as well as through the ever-popular Lightworks forum.

Anyone who has already downloaded Lightworks will know that this is much more than just a free NLE. The intention is, and has always been with EditShare, to aggressively develop Lightworks, until and beyond the point where it is the best way to edit professionally.

The aim of the beta program was to assist the developers in creating a “software only” version of Lightworks that would run on the wide variety of computer hardware that is available today, while at the same time introducing as many users as possible to Lightworks.

The challenge for EditShare was to rework the software so that it could run on the vast majority of hardware, without customisation, configuration or support. It needed to install and run painlessly, just like many other software applications. Previous Lightworks turnkey systems, while utterly stable and dependable, demanded expertly configured and proprietary hardware and professional support. As such, they were relatively expensive, although still popular with editors and good value in the context of larger projects.

With input from Lightworks beta users, progress has been positive and rapid. Almost uniquely in the development of this type of application, there has been a constant dialogue between users and developers. In the nine months since we released the first beta version, there have been over 500 fixes and features implemented, not to mention the port to Linux and OSX and a major re-write of some core elements. Meanwhile, users have benefited from the focus, effectiveness and depth of Lightworks, all of which have grown during the beta program.

This focus has been largely responsible for the rapid uptake in Lightworks. In the past nine months we have seen over 140,000 registered users. Over 15,000 new users are registering every month consistently.

This enthusiastic take-up of Lightworks has encouraged us to expand the development team, and this will continue to grow. We hope that you will see this as a strong indication of our commitment to the future of Lightworks.

Current Projects

Lightworks has enjoyed a long and successful history with film and we’re seeing more and more projects, such as Martin Scorsese’s current film Hugo, using Lightworks as their NLE of choice.

This month we are profiling Jill Bilcock (Road To Perdition, Moulin Rouge) who used Lightworks on the upcoming international release Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. Jill and her assistants are also using the new version of Lightworks on their current project, Mental, directed by P J Hogan.

Earlier this year, The King’s Speech and Hanna were both released to worldwide international acclaim, both films having used Lightworks as their editing platform. And as well as film, Lightworks is in daily use on many News, Sports and Drama productions around the world, emphasising that although freely available, it is a high-end NLE that can be used in the most demanding situations.

Why are we on this path with Lightworks?

Throughout all of this, we are constantly asked two questions; Why are we doing this, and how we can continue to spend money on software that we give away?

The answer to the first question is quite simple; as mentioned above, we want Lightworks to be the best editor available, and we also want to give everyone a chance to use it.

With regards to the ongoing cost, an important factor is how we go about incorporating professional features, such as production-quality codecs (Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD etc), when they require EditShare to pay license fees to the owners of the technology.

Over the past six months we have worked very hard to deliver a solution which we think will be fair for everybody, and which carries with it other benefits as well.

Official Release

On 29th November 2011, one year after the initial beta release, we will be officially releasing Lightworks. We are introducing a membership model, which will help grow the existing community, and cover the ongoing and necessary license costs for third party technology such as codecs.

By introducing membership, we can provide access to licensable features without raising the barrier to becoming a Lightworks user too high. It also allows us to make Lightworks accessible to those in education, as these members will be future Lightworks champions.

At the same time, we also want to enhance and extend the Lightworks forum to include new web features that will help the community thrive and further enhance the Lightworks user experience.

Membership Options and Pricing

Lightworks Membership will be available with three options:

Lightworks Free Membership: Free
Lightworks Educational Membership: £20 (€25, $30) per year
Lightworks Professional Membership: £40 (€50, $60) per year

Free Members will continue to have unrestricted access to the free version of Lightworks and access to the Lightworks Community, with some limitations. Every current registered user will automatically become a Free Member.

Education and Professional Members will have unrestricted access to the full version of Lightworks, which includes all the professional codecs, other professional features (described in more detail below) and all software updates. They will also have full unrestricted access to the Lightworks Community (also described in more detail below).

Upgrading from a Free Member to either an Education or Professional Member is an easy process and can be done at any time.

Volume Licensing is also available. Members can add further activations to the same license key by logging into their account and purchasing more activations.

Lightworks Features

Education and Professional Members have access to the full version of Lightworks. The enhanced features include:

1. Native use of professional codecs and other formats

  • ProRes
  • Red R3D
  • DPX
  • AVC-Intra
  • AVCHD / H.264
  • IMX
  • Avid DNxHD *

2. Interoperability

  • AAF (with presets for Avid and Pro Tools)
  • OMF
  • EDL

3. Shared Projects

Multiple users can work on the same Lightworks Project at the same time, collaborating on Edits with fast, intuitive user permission controls.

4. Lightworks Titling

A new native Lightworks Titling tool with powerful, GPU-based capabilities and real-time preview.

5. Stereoscopic Support

Lightworks has an unmatched stereoscopic workflow. Easy to use, powerful and realtime adjustment tools and codec independent Import / Export options. You can also output Stereoscopic through your secondary display or HDMI port, as well as I/O hardware. Features include:

  • Import
  • Editing
  • Adjustment/correction
  • Export

6. Export to a wider range of formats including DVD and BluRay

7. Integration with EditShare Flow and Ark

Users can drag and drop Clips, Subclips and Sequences directly from Flow into Lightworks. Through Flow Projects, assistants or archivists can also create Lightworks Projects directly in Flow and prepare media and bins for Lightworks Editors.

8. Hardware I/O support

  • Matrox XMIO2, DSXLE2 and MXO2
  • Blackmagic Design
  • AJA **
  • DVS **

9. Tangent TUBE Support

Lightworks will support the new TUBE protocol giving full access to Tangent’s new line of Element control panels.

10. Eligible for Support

Education and Professional Members are eligible for support contracts with EditShare.

11. Updates

All Education and Professional Members will receive all software updates, major or minor, whilst their Membership is still active.


* AJA and DVS support will be available in early 2012. (back)

** Due to licensing restrictions, Avid DNxHD has to be sold separately and will be available from the web store for £36 (€45, $55). This is a one-off cost and NOT an annual subscription. (back)

Lightworks Community

The Lightworks forum has been so successful that it has given EditShare a powerful message: users want to share their knowledge and work with each other to improve their skills and know-how. So in addition to these compelling software features, annual Membership will provide access to the new Lightworks Community. This is where co-operation and collaboration are built into the fabric of Lightworks.

All members will have access to the following features:

  • Forum
  • Groups – Join and participate in Groups focused on projects or specific topics
  • Events – See Event listings and apply to attend

Further to this, Education and Professional Members will have the following additional benefits:

  • Create and Modify Groups
  • Create and Organise Events
  • Live Chat – directly with others or in Group Discussion Rooms
  • Videos – upload and exhibit videos and showreels, alongside expanded profile pages
  • Voting – vote for Lightworks features and developments
  • Jobs – post and respond to job adverts
  • Online Seminars and Training

The Community, which will also be populated by EditShare employees, will be the nexus for the rapidly growing number of professional users.

Lightworks Console and Keyboard

Lightworks was designed around a dedicated controller (“the Lightworks Console”). This has proved to be a very intuitive device and very popular in the past. The Console is still available and can be purchased from web store from 29th November for £1,850 (€2,330, $2,800).

Lightworks Console

However, to align Lightworks with the way many editors are now used to working, EditShare has also developed a new Lightworks Keyboard with dedicated keys for almost every Lightworks function, as well as other useful shortcuts. The keyboard has both symbols and text descriptions of key functions. There is even a dedicated key to access the Lightworks Forum.

Lightworks Keyboard

Costing only £95 (€115, $140), the keyboard will also be available from the new web store and can be ordered in several languages (e.g. English UK, English US, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and more).


We believe that key to Lightworks’ continued success is excellent support, not only by EditShare Support Engineers, but also by the Lightworks Community. For all Lightworks Members, access the the Lightworks forum is the first place for support and will remain a free resource for everyone.

For Education or Professional Members that require direct support from EditShare, we offer an annual Support Contract. This covers email, telephone and remote desktop support by a qualified Support Engineer. Beginning in November, we will also be offering customers with Support Contracts access to our Support Group in the Lightworks Community, where they will be able to communicate with Support Engineers through Live Chat.

Support Contracts will be available as follows:

Professional Member Support Contract £395 per year
Education Member Support Contract £195 per year
Education Site Support Contract (10+ users) £1,995 per year

Updated Roadmap

Since releasing the first Roadmap a lot of work has been undertaken by our developers. We have listened to feedback and made changes accordingly. The past six months have largely been spent implementing a new encoding and transcoding back end, and the port to Linux and OSX. However, we have been working on many other aspects of Lightworks as well, including Titling, Stereoscopic support and other features. So we have updated our roadmap to reflect the current status of development.

Q4 2011

  • AVC-Intra Support *
  • XDCAM HD / EX Support *
  • Advanced Stereoscopic Adjustment Toolset *
  • Native Titling *
  • Further Timeline Enhancements (Mute, Trimming etc) *
  • Interoperability Improvements with AAF *
  • Further Integration with Flow and Ark *
  • Performance Improvements for Long GOP Formats *
  • Export Timeline for DVD and BluRay
  • Support for Tangent Element control surfaces
  • Blackmagic Design I/O Support
  • Linux and OSX Beta release
  • * Already implemented for release(back)

Q1 & Q2 2012

  • AJA I/O Support
  • Full 64 bit Support
  • Interoperability Improvements with XML
  • Advanced RED Toolset
  • New Effects
  • Audio Plugins
  • File Delivery
  • Remote Editing with Proxy Files
  • Sync Group Improvements

Hardware I/O support

As you will note from the updated Roadmap, we are a little behind schedule with releasing support for other hardware I/O devices. We plan to have Blackmagic Design support in the release on 29th November, and AJA and DVS support in early 2012. However, we are pleased to announce today that we have full support for the Matrox MXO2 range of I/O devices.

Matrox MXO2

The MXO2 range provides a great deal of flexibility with a variety of I/O combinations in external devices. All devices connect to the host laptop or workstation via Thunderbolt, Express34 or PCI-e. They also provide cross platform support for Windows and Mac OSX.

We have worked closely with Matrox to ensure that this support is available. Lightworks will support:

Matrox MXO2 £1,095 €1,350 $1,595
Matrox MXO2 LE £750 €799 $995
Matrox MXO2 Rack £1,750 €1,995 $2,395
Matrox MXO2 Mini £340 €385 $450

This is exciting news for any existing MXO2 owner as Lightworks will work with your current device. More information can be found on the new web store in November.

Linux and Mac OS X versions

Our progress with porting Lightworks to Linux and Mac OS X is something we get asked about every single day. We’re happy to report that we are making huge strides towards completing the port and we’re aiming to have the first beta release available on 19th December 2011.

Lightworks will be the first professional NLE available and fully supported on all three major OS platforms so we’re putting in a huge effort to ensure that we get these versions out as soon as possible.

Open Source release

As we announced in 2010, our commitment is to make Lightworks an Open Source project. Naturally, there are many legal issues and complications in doing so with a product that has over 20 years’ history. We are still working hard on this and will be making further announcements about when this will roll out once we have finished the work on porting Lightworks to Linux and Mac OSX. Rest assured, we are fully committed to making Lightworks available to developers through open source and fostering the community’s enthusiasm for enhancing what is already a high-end professional NLE.

And Finally…

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the Lightworks beta program so far. We hope you like the way we are going to move forward, balancing our commitment to provide free and open source software for those that want it, with the need to charge for the use of features that we ourselves have to pay for to supply to you.

With such a low annual cost, we hope that users will join the Lightworks Community, and that, whether you subscribe or not, we can continue to work with you to make Lightworks even better for everyone.

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EditShare LLC is the pioneer of a new category of collaborative editing solutions designed for digital media workgroups and production companies. The EditShare system fuels the collaborative creative process for digital media artists by delivering high quality high performance and cost effective networked collaborative editing solutions. For more information, please visit, or find us on Twitter at @EditShare and @ESLightworks, as well as on Facebook and YouTube.


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