How to install Lightworks Video Editor on your Chromebook
As crazy as it sounds, it’s been over four years since we unearthed the container project that would ultimately be responsible for bringing Linux to Chromebooks. It also gave us new tools like Windows on Chrome OS thanks to the efforts of Parallels. When Google first announced Linux on Chromebooks and the ability to leverage integrated GPUs on Chrome OS devices, I immediately thought of video editing.
Now, we still have a long way to go before a Chromebook becomes a full-fledged video editing station, but Chrome OS has come a long way in a very short time. Even now, you can use Crostini to install a variety of very popular Linux-based video editors and some of them are actually viable if you need one in a pinch. In my tinkering, I’ve tried Shotcut, Kdenlive, and more recently OpenShot which actually updated its software to officially support Linux on Chrome OS.
My BHAG (Big, Hairy, and Bold Goal) is to get Davinci Resolve up and running on a Chromebook. The powerful FinalCut alternative supports the use of Tiger Lake CPUs with Iris Xe graphics, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to recognize the GPU on 11th Gen Intel Chromebooks. Hopefully that will change in the near future. Even then, the Iris Xe graphics won’t be optimal for running beefy editing software like Davinci Resolve, but it could be the foundation for future devices with more powerful GPUs and even standalone graphics cards. Anyway, I’m dreaming out loud. Back to the story.
During my Linux travels, I’ve tried several times to install the hugely popular Lightworks video editor. Lightworks offers a professional-level editor that’s robust and available on a number of platforms, including Linux. Unfortunately, my attempts to install on Chrome OS failed due to a missing dependency which is not readily available in the Debian Buster repository used for Linux on Chromebooks. You can download the Lightworks Debian package and try to install it, but the installation fails due to the missing puzzle piece. This piece is the nvidia-cg-toolkit. What is that? Well, here is a brief summary.
The Nvidia Cg Toolkit provides a compiler for the Cg language, runtime libraries for use with major graphics APIs, runtime libraries for CgFX, sample applications, and comprehensive documentation. Supporting over 24 different OpenGL and DirectX profile targets, Cg will allow you to incorporate stunning interactive effects into your 3D applications.
Yeah, I don’t really understand either. I don’t really do video editing other than some web-based stuff. I just really want to see a professional editor working and working well on a Chromebook. So I tinker. So today I got my sites set up to get Lightworks up and running and I’m happy to report that’s exactly what I did. So, without further ado, here are the steps to install Lightworks on a Linux-compatible Chrome OS device.
Before we start installing the program, we need to have a Lightworks account. Do not worry. You can create a free account on the Lightworks website here. The free account gives you access to a plethora of editing tools and is perfect for budding content creators who are just getting started with video editing. If you find that’s right for you, the Create plan is only $9.99/month, which is significantly cheaper than most popular web editors on the market. OK, are you all registered? Awesome. Now we need to make sure your Chromebook is set up and ready to use Linux apps. You can learn more about preparing your device here. There are several ways to get your hands on the Lightworks Debian package. For this tutorial we will install it from the terminal but you can always download it directly from your Lightworks dashboard if you want.
Before we get Lightworks, we’ll need to get our hands on the nvidia-cg-toolkit package. To do this, we will need to add the main non-free Bullseye repository. To do this, we must first install a text editor. My choice for Linux is nano because it’s lightweight and simple to use. To do this, simply open your Terminal app from your Chrome OS launcher and type or paste the following command, then hit Enter. If prompted, press “y” to complete the installation.
sudo apt install nano
Add a new repository
Next, we will use nano to modify the sources.list file which contains the available repositories from which you can download packages. Type or paste the following command into your terminal and press Enter. This will open the text editor and you should see three rest lines that are already on the list.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Once you have this file open, scroll down to the line under the latest repository and paste the following line. After that press Ctrl + X and “Y” to save the file. We have now added the new repository and the nvidia-cg-toolkit package is available for Lightworks. You don’t need to install it yourself as we will install all necessary dependencies when installing the Lightworks package.
deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian bullseye main non-free
Download and install Lightworks
We can now start the Lightworks installation process. If you downloaded Lightworks for the website, you can now double click on the file and the installation process should begin. Alternatively, you can use the “wget” command and download Lightworks directly from the lwks CDN. To do this, run the following command in the terminal and wait for the download to complete.
Finally, run the following command and Lightworks will install with all necessary dependencies. Once done, you should be able to find the Lightworks app in your Chrome OS app launcher. You can also launch the editor from the terminal by typing lightworks and pressing enter. Bingo, bango. You can now log in to the Lightworks editor with your credentials that you used to create your account.
sudo apt install -f ./lightworks_2022.1.1_r132185.deb
I dug around a bit and was able to import a six and a half minute video and do some editing. I added moving text, did some color grading and messed up the audio. Exporting the finished product worked perfectly and took about six minutes at 720p. If you know Lightworks and try it, let me know about your experience. I would like to know if this would be a viable solution for someone who wants to upgrade to Chrome OS. Keep in mind that I’m using an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM. Older machines will probably struggle to run editors very well.