LiVES Review

key review info
application features
  • The LiVES audio/video platform is now custom extendable through RFX plugins.
  • (14 more, see all...)

I have three or four clips shot with the photo camera that I want to reunite in a single clip using some simple effects. I wanted a simple free Linux application that allows me to do this easily and after spending some time searching on the Internet, I figured an appropriate one would be LiVES.

The website of LiVES looks good, it presents an interesting set of features and it managed to convinced me that LiVES is the tool for me. I downloaded the LiVES rpm and then I tried to install it. That's when my bad day started!

LiVES has a pretty long list of dependencies and, in that list, there were even some of the things that I use daily, like the mplayer. Anyway, I spent some time locating all the packets needed to satisfy the dependencies, because they weren't in the repositories that I use. I installed everything that was required and then I tried to start LiVES. Surprise, some libraries are still missing. They weren't missing, but in the packed version that I used for installing the naming convention was slightly different. I accordingly linked the files and then I could really start the software. This was a truly satisfying moment, because I hoped that in just a few minutes I could finally complete my job.

LiVES wasn't as intuitive as I was hoping it to be so it took me a lot more than usual to get used with the interface. I had time to discover some of the interesting features that are available in the software and also some of the most annoying bugs. The first time I tried to use it I did something bad that resulted in an enormous loading time that took me nowhere. Considering the fact that, on my various operations LiVES crashed several times, you can imagine that I was pretty frustrated. A very good feature of the software allowed the recovery of files every time the software crashed. Recovery saved a lot of time and worked perfectly.

LiVES has mainly two modes: a multitrack mode and a clip editor. These modes are fundamentally different and each of them has some interesting features that sometimes might come in handy. Plenty of features are implemented in every aspect of LiVES, but the problem is that the interface is not user friendly. The interface has support for themes but, unfortunately, few are available and they are not very nice. I think that, if an artist would dedicate some of its time to create an attractive theme, more users would be lured by the LiVES project increasing the chances of the project to evolve.

One of the best things about this software is that it supports virtually any format, because it uses mplayer as a backend. Combined with support for custom RFX plugin, support for realtime processing and support for encoding in many formats as the most important features, I can safely say that LiVES has a very interesting codebase. The problem is that it badly needs polishing, because most of the people will not be able to use all the very interesting stuff that seems to be implemented at some level in the software.

The Good

The software seems to have a lot of interesting features. The fact that it uses mplayer makes it able to work with virtually any format and the support for RFX can only make us happy.

The Bad

The interface is not user friendly and this gives the software a very low popularity. At this point the software seems to be a little unstable.

The Truth

I want to like this software and, even though it didn't worked as I was hoping it would, it really deserves a chance. The community needs a free software for fast and easy video editing and, currently, I don't know any one that can satisfy these requirements. With a bit of focused development, this software could be really good, but until then ...

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 1
features 4
ease of use 1
pricing / value 5

final rating 2
Editor's review