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Whilst there are a wide range of video editing software packages available, many of them are very complicated to understand and use. For this reason, we recommend that students who are not studying a media-related degree use a tool such as OpenShot. OpenShot is an Open Source (free) video editor that is compatible with Windows, Mac, ChromeOS and Linux.

The tutorials on this page will use the no-install (Portable Apps) version of OpenShot, but everything should look and work the same on other platforms.

  • Download and install OpenShot

    Portable Version for Windows

    Visit the PortableApps page for OpenShot OpenShot Portable (video editor) | and click on the big green button to begin the download:


    You will move to another screen that will show how long you have to wait for the download to begin, including a direct link if the download does not start (this process is measured in seconds):


    Locate and double click on the downloaded file:


    You will now be taken through a process that looks a lot like a program installation, but it is just unpacking the program onto your computer.

    You will need to select a location to "install" OpenShot - choosing your desktop is usually easiest, as you will be able to easily locate OpenShot, but you can choose any location on your computer.

    When this process is completed, you can locate the OpenShot Portable folder and double click on OpenShotPortable.exe to run the program:


    Installed Version for Windows / Mac / Linux / ChromeOS

    Visit the OpenShot downloads page, using the device that you want to install it on:

    OpenShot Video Editor | Download

    The page will detect which operating system you are using and will offer you the correct download. Click on the blue rectangular Download button and follow the on-screen installation instructions for your device.


    This installed version of OpenShot will now be available from your program list:

    • Windows - from the Start Menu and via Cortana Search
    • Apple - from the Dock, the Applications folder or through Finder
    • Linux - From the Start Menu as either Recently Used or through Search
    • ChromeOS - From the Apps Tray at the bottom of the screen
  • The OpenShot Window


    File menu: This is where you can Create a Project, Save your Project, Import files and Export (save) your finished video.

    Project files: A visual display of all of the files you have added to the current project (this may only be your main video file).

    Video preview: Have a preview of your video at any stage of the editing process - everything on the Timeline will play here.

    Editing tools: Add tracks (layers of overlapping content), mark, cut and more.

    Timeline: This is where the magic happens. A single Track on the Timeline will just play that in sequence. Add more Tracks to overlap video, audio and images i.e. have a silent video clip playing and place a new track to play audio at the same time.

  • Starting a Project


    A Project is just the video you are working on right now. The Project may include just your current video or may be a collection of files such as video, audio and images.


    By saving your Project, you are creating a backup copy of those collected resources.


    If you are only working with a single video clip, then you do not have to save a new Project, but it is useful if you save an extra copy of your original video just in case you break or delete something important.

    Adding content to your Project

    To add content to your Project, you can simply drag files into the Project Files area or use the Import Files... link in the File menu:


    You can repeat this process as often as required and you can add more files at any stage of your editing. If a file is no longer needed and is NOT already on the Timeline, you can right-click on it in Project Files and choose to Remove it.


  • Adding your content to the Timeline

    Until you drop some content onto the Timeline, it does not appear in your video or the Video preview. Until there is content on the Timeline, it cannot be edited.

    Adding video

    All I have done here is dragged a video from Project files onto the Timeline. This video is now visible in Video Preview and I can begin to edit it if required:


    See further down this page for editing options.

    Adding images

    In this example I have dragged a still image onto the Timeline. This is now part of my video and will show in the Video preview:


    As a still image does not have a duration, OpenShot has made my image appear for 10 seconds on the Timeline. I can hover over the right-hand edge of the image and drag it to appear for a longer or shorter time.

    I have now added two more images and made each one just over 3 seconds long on the Timeline. This will run like a slideshow:


    I could also drop a video clip into this Timeline and just drag it to run straight after the images.

    In the image above, the Timeline is displaying in blocks of 15 seconds. So I can fine-tune my images, I may need a clearer view of them. Using the Timeline slider I can reduce those time blocks to 3 seconds, which makes my images appear wider/longer on the Timeline:


  • Trimming a video

    Now that you have a video clip in your Timeline, you can do some basic editing like trimming off the beginning (where you are composing yourself and clicking the record button) and the end (where you are trying to find the stop button for your recording).

    When you play the Preview of your video, the Timeline marker moves along the video at the same time.


    This means that you can play your video until you find the exact point where you want your viewers to start.

    The Razor Tool

    Assuming I have located the point at which I want my video to start (at around 1 minute in the example above), I now select the Razor Tool and click on the video where the Timeline marker is paused. This will split my video at that point:


    Deselect the Razor tool before moving on.

    Delete a portion of video

    My video is now in two pieces. I can now select the bit I no longer want and hit the Delete key on my keyboard. This removes that selected part of the video and leaves me with a blank space at the start of my video:


    Reposition the remaining video

    All you need to do now is drag the remaining video to the start of the Timeline. This will make your video play straight away, rather than have a blank screen at the beginning:



    More trimming?

    You can repeat these steps to remove any unwanted portion at the end of your video too.

    Trimming in the middle of a video

    (Counselling and some other courses will not permit this if you are recording a client or practice client interview)

    If you want to remove a portion from the middle of your video, simply use the Razor tool to create two cuts (one at the start of the unwanted bit and one at the end). This middle bit of video can then be deleted:


    Remember to move the remaining video pieces together, to remove any blank spaces.

    Adding images within the video

    You can move the video on the Time line to create a space at the beginning to drop in an image. This might be a screenshot of a PowerPoint slide with your name and video title:


    You can also add image(s) to the end of your video or even split the video (using the Razor tool) to drop image(s) into the middle - maybe to break-up or seperate two different sections or points you are making (Counselling and some other courses will not permit this if you are recording a client or practice client interview):


  • Saving... Project and/or video

    Project vs. Video

    Saving your Project is not the same as saving your video and you will probably want to do both.

    Project - this is your development files and is a package that includes your video clip(s), images and any other media you have included. The Project is saved as a .osp file which can only be opened in OpenShot. The Project file allows you to come back and pick up where you left off last time you were editing. This option does not save you video as a playable file for others to see.

    Video - this is your finished video which can be saved in a number of video formats and can be played in any modern computer media player (e.g. VLC), shared for assessment or uploaded to the web e.g. YouTube.

    Saving your Project

    This is very simple. Click on the File menu and select Save Project (you can select Save Project As... if you are saving an extra or different copy of your project). Browse for a location to save your Project, name it and hit Save.


    Your Project is now saved and you can reopen it to perform further edits.

    Saving your Video

    Exporting your video is where you save your video as a finished media file that can be played, shared or uploaded. Until you export your video, you do not have a file that can play as a video.

    1. Click on the File menu

    2. Select Export Project followed by Export Video:


    3. This will pop up a new window full of configuration options:


    4. You do not need to worry too much about the options on this screen, just do the following:

    a. Name your video

    b. Browse for where you want to save your video

    c. These default settings are OK for most uses, so you can leave these alone. If you encounter any problems with playback, you can re-export your video and try MP4 (mpeg4) as the Target.

  • Further Functions and Support

    The IT Service Desk do not directly support this software, but OpenShot have a great user guide and a community of support.

    If you would like to do more with OpenShot, such as:

    • Adding audio
    • Using transitions
    • Masking
    • Titles / 3D Titles

    Please visit OpenShot Video Editor | User Guide

    For further support or to ask a question, visit the User Forums on Reddit.

  • Video Tutorial - OpenShot Video Editor for Beginners in 10 Minutes

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