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Lightworks (formerly OLE Limited) was a British manufacturer of non-linear editing systems. Now it is merely a brand for the non-linear video editing system, that originated from this manufacturer.



It was founded in the end of 1989 by Paul Bamborough, Nick Pollock and Neil Harris. In 1994 it was sold to Tektronix,[1] who were not successful at developing the company's products. Then it was sold on to the newly formed Lightworks Inc. in 1999, then owned by Fairlight Japan, and then purchased by Gee Broadcast in May 2004. Under new ownership, new product releases have resumed with the release of the Lightworks Touch range and more recently the Alacrity and Softworks ranges for SD & HD editing.

In August 2009 the UK and US based company EditShare acquired the Lightworks editing platform from Gee Broadcast (together with their video server system Geevs). At the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters, NAB Show, on 11 April 2010, EditShare announced that they are going to transform Lightworks into Lightworks Open Source.[2] It was presented at IBC in Amsterdam September 2010.[3]On November 9th 2010, EditShare announced that Lightworks would be downloadable on November 29th of the same year, at first exclusively for the users who had registered during the initial announcement,[4] but subsequently publishing the software as "public beta".[5]


Using a control interface similar to the industry standard Steenbeck controller they produced a non-linear editing system. It had a number of (for its time) unique features, such as “sync slip”, synchronized varispeed playback with audio scrubbing, synchronized multi-channel playback, and an object-oriented user interface with a dedicated hardware console. Some of these features are still unmatched by other competing systems.

The system went on to win Scientific and Technical Academy Awards and Emmy Awards.

The development team contained former members of the computer games company Magnetic Scrolls and the Computer Film Company, some of whom went on to join the Sohonet media network development team.

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