Lightworks-14-2018-Tutorial-Designed-for-Beginners Click “Places,” then navigate through to the folders where you’ve stored your media files

How to Use Lightworks 14 for Beginner Video Editors

Here’s how to use Lightworks 14, a fantastic free video editing program designed specifically for beginners. Lightworks 14 gives even inexperienced users a fresh, new way to create beautiful videos with ease. In this tutorial, I’ll show you:

  • How to import video and audio clips
  • Navigating and using essential tools, features, and workspaces
  • Basic editing and special effects
  • Exporting and sharing completed projects

Lightworks 14 is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux operating systems. For this tutorial, I’ll be focusing on Mac.

To get started, simply go to the Lightworks website and follow the instructions for downloading.

New Project

When you open Lightworks 14 on your computer, you’ll see the homepage. Up at the top-left corner, you’ll see “Create a new project.”

Click that button, and you’ll get a little panel where you can name your new project, make any notes you want to add, and select the frame rate.

The frame rate is an important setting to be aware of, because if you select a frame rate and then try to import video clips with a different rate, they may not be usable in your project.

Since 24fps (frames per second) is fairly standard, go ahead and choose that rate from the drop-down menu.

As soon as you click “Create” in the New Project Details panel, you’ll go straight to the Project window.

Look at the top of the window, and you’ll see four tabs: Log, Edit, VFX, and Audio.

The Log tab features a Project Contents bin on the left half of your window. This is where you import and store various media files, including video, audio, and still images.

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Before you can start editing, you need to import some media. If you go to the menu that sits at the top of the Log, then click Local Files, it will show you all the various media files you have stored on your computer.

You can also click on “Places,” just under the Log menu.

This is handy if you have files stored in a certain folder on your desktop, and you’d rather go straight to that folder rather than comb through a list of every single file on your computer.

Click “Places,” then navigate through to the folders where you’ve stored your media files

Once you find a file you want to use in your video, simply double-click on the file thumbnail.

When you double-click, you’ll see that file appear in the viewing panel at the top right of the window, and you’ll also see the word “Imported” appear next to the thumbnail.

This tells you that your file has now been officially imported into your Log.

Now select a few more files to experiment with. Try importing a mixture of video, audio, and still image files so you can play around with the various tools and features Lightworks 14 has to offer.

Once you’ve double-clicked on several files, you can click the Edit tab at the top of the window, and you’ll see that all the files are listed in the Files panel at the top left.

Double-click on a file thumbnail to import the file into your Project Contents bin

Edit Window

The Edit window is the workspace where you’ll be able to blend imagery, sounds, and effects into a finished video.

If you look around the Edit window, you’ll see the three main sections of the page:

  • The Project Contents bin, at the top-left, which lists all of your imported media files
  • The Media Viewer, at the top-right, which lets you view the clips in your Timeline
  • The Timeline, along the bottom of the window

Now try double-clicking on one of the file thumbnails in your Project Contents bin, and you’ll see a second viewing panel open. This second panel is the Source Viewer and lets you view the files in your bin.

Double-click on a thumbnail in the Project Contents bin to open the Source Viewer


Your Timeline is essentially a workspace. This is the space where you’ll be doing your editing and creating a sequence of video, images, and sounds that will eventually become a finished video.

To add files to your Timeline, all you need to do is find the files you want up in the Project Contents bin, then drag and drop them straight into the Timeline.

Try selecting a video file first, and I’ll show you some essential tools and tricks.

Now, if you click on the clip you just added to the Timeline, you’ll see that clip appear up in the Media Viewer panel at the top-right of the window.

You’ll also see a vertical red line running across your Timeline. If you drag that line back and forth across a video clip, you’ll see that clip’s image moving up in the Media Viewer.

One more thing you should know about the Timeline:

Once you drag a few clips into the Timeline, you’ll see that there are horizontal lines running across the workspace, sort of like ruled notebook paper.

Each space between two lines is a Track. Each clip has its own track, so the more clips you add, the more lines appear.

Keep in mind that when you place an image or video clip on the top line, that’s what will be visible in the video and up in your Media Viewer. It’s like the top line is the top layer.

If you just have a solid stack of image and video clips, one on top of another, only the one at the top will be visible. But don’t worry, I’ll explain how to work with that a little later on.

Creating Clips

Now let’s say you have a two-minute video of a beach scene, but you only want to use a 15-second segment from the middle of that scene. The Source Viewer panel lets you cut sections out of video and audio files with just a few easy steps.

First, double-click on the file thumbnail in your Project Contents bin so that it appears in the Source Viewer.

Now look along the bottom of the Viewer, and you’ll see a little red diamond. That’s the Frame Marker and shows you how far you’ve progressed into the video or audio track.

To create a segment, or clip, you’ll need to define the start point and end point. You can either click Play and then stop the video when it reaches the place you want the clip to start, or you can click and drag the red marker to the start point.

In your Viewer control panel, you’ll also see two blue diamond. These are the “In” control, on the left, and the “Out” control, on the right.

Once you have the red marker at the right starting point for your clip, click the “In” control. This tells the program that this specific point is the beginning of a clip.

Now click Play again, or drag the red diamond to the place where you want your clip to end, and click the “Out” control.

Finally, click the icon that looks like a down arrow inside a box. That’s the “Import” control, and as soon as you click, it will automatically import your new clip into your Timeline.

Use the Source Viewer and the “In” and “Out” controls to clip sections out of video or audio clips


Once you have a few clips in the Timeline, look at the left side of the Timeline, and you’ll notice a vertical track list.

The video clip you imported will be listed as V1, and if it has any embedded audio, you’ll see those clips as well, in their own tracks, and they’ll be listed as A1, A2, etc.

If you’d prefer to give your tracks different labels, all you need to do it hover your cursor over the V1 in the track list, then right-click, then choose “Rename” from the menu.

Now you just type whatever label you prefer into the little box that appears.

You can also add additional blank tracks to your Timeline to make space for more clips.

Right-click, then select “Tracks” to add additional tracks to the Timeline

If you decide you want to move a clip to a different spot in the Timeline, like maybe you prefer to have a specific scene appear closer to the end of the video, you just need to click and drag that clip over to the desired spot in the Timeline.

You can also “Lock” a track, and lock all the clips in that track. Locking has two functions:

  1. It keeps you from accidentally moving a clip out of place
  2. It allows you to un-link clips

Un-linking can be quite handy when you’re editing. For example, when you import a video clip with embedded audio, the video and audio clips will be linked together in the Timeline, so that if you move the video clip around, the audio will get dragged along with it.

To Lock a video clip or track, just go over to the track list, click once on the label for that clip, at it will instantly become locked.

Now the audio clips have become un-linked from the video, and you can drag that audio to another place in the Timeline, or just delete the audio by right-clicking on the audio clip and selecting “Remove” from the menu.

Click a specific track label to lock that track

And remember: If you accidentally move or delete something you didn’t intend to, you can use Control > Z to undo the action.

You also have little Undo and Redo arrows down in the bottom-right corner of your Media Viewer, so you have a couple of options for fixing mistakes.

One final important thing you need to know about moving clips around the Timeline:

If you happen to drag one clip over another, it will delete information from the clip underneath.

For example, perhaps you wanted to add some sound to a video clip, but you accidentally dragged it onto the video clip itself rather than to the clip above.

If you drag the audio clip back off again, you’ll see that a chunk of the bottom video clip is now missing. Don’t worry, just hit Command > Z to go back and restore the data.

Dragging one clip onto another could result in information being deleted from the bottom clip

Timeline Clipping

Remember how you created a clip using the Source Viewer panel? Well, there’s a second way to cut sections out of video and audio clips right inside of the Timeline.

First, move the red vertical line across a clip until it gets to the beginning of the section you want to cut. You can do this by clicking Play on the Media Viewer, or by simply dragging the red line.

Once you have the red line at the beginning point, click the Blue “In” control, the blue diamond, at the bottom of the Media Viewer to mark that point, just like you did in the Source Viewer earlier.

Now click Play again or drag the red line to the end point of the section, and click the blue “Out” control to mark that point.

If you’d like to delete the section you just selected, you can click on the “Remove” tool in the Media Viewer controls. This tool looks like a red arrow pointing upward inside of a box.

When you click Remove, it will delete that section and leave a gap in your clip down in the Timeline.

If you don’t want a gap, and prefer to have the remaining segments of the clip joined together, simply click the “Delete” control in the Media Viewer controls. This tool looks like two red arrows pointing toward each other inside of a box.

Take a little time to play around with these different controls and tools so you can become familiar with how they work.

And any time you don’t like how something looks, you can just use Control > Z to undo it.

You can also right-click on the clip, and you’ll see a menu that offers these same controllers, so you can decide which method feels easier and more comfortable to you.

Right-click on the clip, then select “Remove” or “Delete” to cut sections out of clips in the Timeline


If you move your cursor over the beginning or ending edge of a clip in the Timeline, you’ll see white brackets appear. Depending on where you move the cursor, you might see the brackets appear inside the clip, or outside.

To trim a clip, you’ll want to use the inside brackets.

Once you see the white brackets appear on the inside edge the clip, just double-click and then choose “Trim In” from the menu. Now you’ll see the brackets turn yellow.

The yellow brackets let you trim information away from either end of a clip. For example, maybe you only want to use a section in the middle of a clip for your video, and need to get rid of the extra bits on either end.

Once you’re done trimming, just click outside the clip and the yellow brackets will turn white again, or just disappear.

There’s a second way to make the trimming brackets appear, which might be easier for some users:

Simply hover the cursor until the white brackets appear, then click, and the white should turn yellow. Now just drag to trim.

Use the Trim command to trim away beginnings and ends of clips

There’s one more action you can perform with the trimmer brackets:

Hover and click to make the yellow brackets appear at the beginning of a clip, then hover and click to make the trimmer appear at the end.

Now both ends of the clip should be highlighted with yellow brackets.

Now, drag the clip itself back and forth, and you’ll see that the information you trimmed isn’t actually gone, it’s just hidden.

As you drag the clip back and forth, you’ll see the action moving back and forth in the Media Viewer.  

Making trimmer brackets at both ends of a clip is a simple way to select the precise section of a clip that you need.

Bracket both ends to select precise sections of clips


Perhaps you have a video clip that you’d love to use, but it’s much too long and takes up too much time on screen. Maybe it’s an opening sequence that’s 30 seconds long, but you only want it to last for 15 seconds.

To speed up or slow down a clip, simply right-click on that clip in the Timeline, then choose “Speed” from the menu.

Once the adjustment panel opens, you can adjust the percentage to alter the playing speed of the clip.

If you go above 100%, that makes the clip play faster, and below 100% slows it down.

Once you adjust the speed, you can click Play on the media Viewer and see how it looks.  

Right-click on a clip, then choose “Speed” to adjust the play speed

Special Effects in Lightworks

To add an effect to a clip, make sure the red line is over the clip in your Timeline, then go up and click the “VFX” tab at the top of your window.

When the VFX window opens, you’ll see your clip in the Media Viewer, as well as the Color Correction panel in the top-left corner, under the Settings tab.

Take a few minutes to play with the Color Correction sliders to see how they affect the look of the clip.

And if you don’t like how things look and want to start fresh, just click on the little gear icon at the top-right corner and select Reset from the menu, then select All.

Click the VFX tab and use the Color Correction controls to get the perfect look

Now look at the tabs in the Effects panel, and you’ll see a plus sign. If you click the plus sign, you’ll get a list of preset effects that you can add.

Look at the top-right corner of the effects list, and you’ll see a drop-down menu arrow.

Click that arrow, and then you can select the specific category of effects you’d like to browse through., like Color or Text.

Once you find a preset effect that looks nice, just double-click on that effect in the list, and it will instantly appear on your clip over in the Viewer.

You’ll also notice that when you double-click on an effect to select it, the Effects panel automatically switches to the Settings tab, and a control panel for the selected effect will appear.

If you decide you don’t like that effect, click the little gears at the top of the control panel, and choose “Remove.”

Now you can click the plus sign again to browse through other effects.

Click the plus sign to add new effects, and browse by category using the drop-down menu

You can also add specific effects to a Favorites list by clicking the little star at the left edge of each effect in the Effects list.


To select some text effects, go up to the VFX tab, then open the drop-down menu at the top-right of the Effects list, and choose “Text” from the menu.

Maybe you’d like to add an opening title scene to the video. Simply find the “Titles” effect in the Text list, double-click, and the words “Sample Text” will appear over the clip in the Viewer.

Now you can type any words or symbols you like in the box over in the control panel.

Select “Text” from the drop-down menu in the Effects panel, and choose the effect called “Titles”

If you decide you don’t like that effect, just click the little gear icon and select “Remove.”

When you have a text effect selected, you’ll see all the usual controls under the Font tab, such as text size, font, bold, and italic.

If you click the Face tab, you can adjust the color of your text. You also have a Color Picker tool under the Face, which looks like a little eyedropper.

The Color Picker lets you select a specific color from anyplace on your screen simply by clicking on the color.

Use the Color Picker tool under the “Face” tab to select a text color

The Position tab lets you move the text around the screen, but you can also just click on the text over in the Viewer and drag it around the screen.

This is another excellent opportunity to take a little time to play with the various tabs, tools, and settings so you can get familiar with how they work.

Now, when you have a specific clip selected, the effects you choose are added directly to that clip and will stay connected.

You can tell that a clip has embedded effects because each effect will appear as a tiny square in the top-left corner of the clip in the Timeline.

Effects Track

If you prefer to have an effect, such as text, separated on onto its own track, like a separate layer, there’s a simple way to do that.

First, move the red vertical line to a blank space in your Timeline where there aren’t any clips. You should see nothing but a black screen up in the Viewer.

Now select a text effect from the Effects list. I’ll choose Titles for this example.

As soon as you double-click on Titles to add the effect, you’ll see the effect appear in the Timeline as its own clip.

Move the red line to a blank spot in the Timeline, then double-click on the effect thumbnail to give that effect its own track

Now you can trim and cut the Text clip to any size you like, using the yellow trimmer brackets.

You can use the yellow trimming brackets to trim the effects track like any other track


Transitions are a common tool that editors use to blend scenes. For example, when one scene fades to black, and then the black fades into the next scene. That’s a Transition.

To create a Transition, select the VFX tab, click the “+” sign at the top of the Effects list, then click the drop-down menu at the top-right of the Effects panel, and select “Mix.”

Go to the Effects panel, click the plus sign, then click the drop-down menu and select “Mix”

Now you have a list of Transition effects. I’m going to select “Dissolve” for this example.

Once you double-click to add the Dissolve effect to your clip, and little panel with a slider bar will appear in the Effects panel.

The default setting is around 50% opacity, but you can use the slider to adjust the opacity to your liking.

Now, at this point, the effect has been applied to the entire clip, and the effect is set to just 50%, so if you click Play over in the Viewer, the clip will start out looking normal, then very slowly fade to a sort of half-dark look.

But what you want is for the scene to start out black, and then fade into the action.


In the menu of tabs just above the Dissolve `slider bar, you’ll see a tab called “Graphs.” That’s the one you want to click.

Now you’ll see a box with a horizontal line starting at the bottom over on the left side, and slanting up to the top over on the right side.

The top of the box is 100% black, and the bottom is 0% black, so the default setting has your clip starting out at 0%, then slowly fading to black over the entire length of the clip.

What you want is to start at black. To do this, drag the left end of the line all the way to the top to make the clip open as a black screen.

Now drag the right end all the way to the bottom, so that the clip ends with no blackness at all.

Click on the diagonal line about 25% of the way to the right. When you click, you’ll leave a little mark on the line.

Next, click on that little point you just made, and drag it all the way down to the bottom of the box.

Now when you click Play in the Viewer, you’ll see the scene start out black, then quickly fade into the scene.

By adjusting and bending that diagonal line and its endpoints, you can adjust when, where, and how quickly the black dissolves in or out.

Click the “Graphs” tab, then adjust the endpoints and middle of the line to adjust the fade

If you want the scene to fade back to black at the end, just add the Dissolve effect to your clip again, and a new box will open with its own diagonal line.

Now just click the Graphs tab and adjust the line in the second graph so that the end of the clip fades into 100% black.

Add a second Dissolve effect to the end of the clip and adjust the graph to create the desired fade effect


To get started, click the Audio tab at the top of your window.

Now you’ll see all of your audio clips down in the Timeline, including the clips that are embedded in video clips.

Up at the top-right of the window, you’ll see a panel that shows sound levels. Click Play under the viewer, and you’ll see colored bars moving along with the audio.

Underneath the volume columns, you’ll see labels like A1 for audio clip 1, A2 for audio clip 2, and so on.

You’ll also see that one column is labeled LR. That’s the column that shows all of the audio together, so it gives you a visual representation of the overall audio levels of your video.

One basic adjustment you can make is the volume. If you look at an audio clip in your Timeline, you’ll see a faint white horizontal line running across the center of the clip.

Simply drag the line up to raise the volume, and drag it down to lower the volume.

Drag the white horizontal line in the audio track to adjust the volume

Audio Fade

You can also make audio clips fade in and out using just one simple action.

To make an audio clip fade in, hover your mouse over the very top left corner of the clip in your Timeline, and you’ll see a little triangle appear.

Drag that triangle to the right, and you’ll see a diagonal line moving along with your cursor.

Once you’ve moved the triangle to the right a bit, click Play on the Viewer and see how the fade sounds.

To make the clip fade out, just hover, drag the triangle to the left, and create that diagonal line. If you don’t quite like how it sounds, use Control > Z to undo.

Grab the little triangle at the top corner of the audio track, then drag to create a fade

Look up in the top-left corner of the Audio window, and you’ll see a list of effects.

If you don’t see a list, click the plus sign, and the list will appear. To add an effect to an audio clip, simply double-click the effect in the list, just like you did with the video effects.


You may have noticed that the Media Viewer panel has the label “Sequence 1” at the top.

A sequence is basically a section of video that you’ve put together and edited into a completed segment. A sequence can be a single scene or a completed video of connected scenes.

By separating scenes into sequences, Lightworks 14 allows you to use scenes as separate units.

This means that you could have a finished, edited beach scene, for example, and move that scene around to any place you want it to appear in the final video, or even use different versions of it in multiple places in the video.

Click the Edit tab at the top of the window, go over to the Project Contents bin, and along the left side you’ll see a menu of options. Click on Sequences in the menu.

Now, the scene that you’ve been editing in your Timeline should appear in the Sequences list, and will be labeled “Sequence 1”.

To create a new sequence, simply right-click inside of that sequence list space, select “Make,” then select “Empty sequence,” and a new sequence thumbnail will appear.

Double-click on the new Sequence thumbnail and a fresh, empty Timeline will appear down below. Now you can add some new media files and start building a new scene.

Double-click in the Sequence panel, select “Make,” then select “Empty sequence”

By giving each sequence its own Timeline, Lightworks 14 allows users to keep various sequences separate from one another, so that they can work on just one piece at a time.

Some editing programs have you keep every single sound, video, and image file all in the same Timeline, and it can get messy and confusing really easily.

But by giving each sequence its own Timeline, this program helps you stay much more organized.

Now drag and drop your Sequence 1 into the new Sequence Timeline. When you do this, you’re essentially making a copy of Sequence 1.

Now you can edit that copy of Sequence 1 inside of the Sequence 2 Timeline, without altering the original Sequence 1 that’s stored in your Sequences bin.

Once you have all of your sequences completed, you can combine them into a single Timeline, and now you have a finished video!


Once you’ve got a finished video, you need to know how to export and share it.

To begin exporting, click on the Sequence thumbnail in your Sequences bin to select it.

Now go down and right-click inside the Timeline space, in a spot where there are no clips.

When the menu appears, click on “Export.”

Since you’re using the free version of Lightworks, you’ll need to choose either YouTube or the Lightworks Archive. To keep things easy, go ahead and choose YouTube.

Right-click on a blank spot in the Timeline, then select “Export,” and choose a Target format

Now, you’ll see an Export panel open up in the Media Viewer space.

This panel lets you select options like Frame rate and the destination where you’d prefer to save the video, like your desktop or a specific folder on your computer.

As a side note: When you choose the Size in the Export panel, 720p is the highest you can go in Lightworks 14.

Once you’ve chosen the settings you prefer, click “Start.”  

Now a progress panel will open, and you’ll see a progress bar that tells you how much longer it will take to fully process and export your video.

In the Export panel, choose your settings, then click “Start”

And that’s it!

We’ve only just scraped the surface of all the wonderful things you can do with Lightworks 14, but now you know how to navigate through the windows, how to perform essential editing, how to add effects, and how to export finished projects.

Your Lightworks 14 download comes with a detailed User’s Guide, so you’ll have everything you need to start creating and sharing beautiful, creative, and eye-popping videos with the world!

That’s all you need to know about how to use Lightworks and get started. Please share this article and enter your email below to get a monthly update on the best new technology for teaching. I hope you enjoyed it!

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