Olive: a free non-linear editor for Windows, Mac, Linux

May 06, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

Olive is a free video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux and, while it doesn't really compare to high end applications, it will fit all the needs of mid-range video editing enthusiasts. Although the software doesn't seem to get more updates, it's still worth taking a look.

First of all, I have to mention the install size. Olive's installer is 37Mb, and the install is only 131Mb. This is a good thing, since you don't need to worry much about disk space. Also, the application only uses around 88Mb of RAM, but ram usage can quickly go up as you add media to your timeline. For example, after adding a 10-minute video and a 15-minute video to my timeline, the RAM usage went up to 340Mb.

That aside, the application itself is very capable. You can create sequences, import media, link and unlink video and audio layers, cut clips to edit them together with other clips, add effects and transitions, change clip's volume, etc. Olive feels like a “lite” version of Premiere Pro, from tools to functionality in general.

Olive includes a few nice effects for video, like chromatic aberration, blur, distortion effects, etc. When I was testing the app, on a 1080p clip, they were added pretty much instantly, which is a good thing since editing is such a fast-paced task that you need your application to be responsive.

The application also offers the usual transitions between clips (fade to black, cross-fade, etc.). However, I found that placing the transitions was somewhat tricky.

Olive can export to various formats, as you can see on the image below. Exporting the file is very simple, as you just need to tweak a few settings and then click the Export button. There is a catch, though: you can't keep working while you are encoding your final video. This is not really a big issue, unless you are one of those that like to keep working on another sequence while the first one is rendering (on a side note, I use Media Encoder to render my videos, and sometimes I've found myself working on a second sequence while the first one renders).

I still use Adobe CS6, and, based on my tests, Olive's final rendering is comparable to that of Media Encoder CS6. Obviously. Media Encoder CC is faster, but Olive should be quick enough for most people. Also, the computer will not slow down to a crawl when rendering the video, which is something that happens when you are using certain applications (specially computer animation or media production applications).

Now, one I didn't really like about Olive is the lack of drag-and-drop support to import media (and if you can, it didn't work for me). Drag-and-drop has been a thing for computer applications for a while now, and, although some users will still do things using menus, others are just so used to drag-and-drop on any computer, that they feel navigating menus adds more steps to mundane tasks (I am part of this group).

When I want to import something to Premiere Pro or Media Encoder (or any other application like Maya, Unity or UE4), I will usually drag-and-drop. However, in Olive I had to import media via a menu, which is something I didn't really like at all.

As I said on the first paragraph, Olive doesn't seem to be updated anymore. The latest update was on April 2019 and the social media and Patreon page have gone silent since then. Hopefully, development restarts, as it would be interesting to see this being developed further. On the other hand, you can also download the source code from GitHub in case you want to develop your own improvements to the app.

Get Olive: https://olivevideoeditor.org/

Sections: Reviews

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