The Definitive Guide
Ladies and Gents, this is where the magic happens!
Today we are going to show you how to edit your GoPro videos, from A to Z. You will learn the entire workflow: how to import, cut and join clips, color grade, add music, choose transitions and export your final film.
Ready to impress your family and friends?
Let’s do it!
This is exactly what you are going to learn today:
- Video Editing Workflow [Images Step-by-step]
- Top 7 GoPro Video Editing Software [FREE & PAID]
- Best Music Stock Libraries for your videos
- Photo Editing Workflow
- Photo Editing Software
- Tips to make better edits
Awesome, let’s begin!
Video Editing Workflow
Editing GoPro Videos is very exciting! It’s amazing how people can transform their raw video clips into pieces of art, just by adding the right sound track, cutting the clips to the beat and applying a color filter to make those tones pop.
Right, how do we do that?
Here below I’ve listed a Master Workflow to help you with editing your GoPro videos after the shooting. These are the general rules that will take you from having raw video clips to a movie that you can be proud of sharing on Facebook, Youtube, or just keep it for your family and friends.
➡️ 13 Steps to Editing GoPro Videos
- Import the clips to a PC/Mac/Mobile from your GoPro or SD Card
- Launch your Video Editor Software
- Create a new video project
- Import all of your clips into the project timeline
- Sort your video sequence into the timeline
- Add Sound Track(s)
- Cut clips to the music’s beats
- [Optional] Edit speed of video clips for Slow Motion or Time Lapse
- Apply transitions
- Add Titles
- Color correct your clips or apply a LUT
- Review your edit / Polishing
- Export your film and share
➡️ Step-by-Step Editing Guide
Now we move into practice. In this section I will apply the 13 steps above using the video editor Final Cut Pro X (for Mac only). That is my primary video editor that I’ve used for years. However, the editing process remains the same on every video editor.
For Windows users: below I’ve listed video Editors for Windows (+ links to tutorials). We strongly suggest Filmora by Wondershare: an amazing video editor optimized for action cameras. It includes most of the professional video editor features like stabilization, transitions, titles, effects, etc. Super intuitive interface and, AND… it also lets you load our LUT Color Grading Filter Pack in 2 clicks.
Ready? Let’s do it.
1. Copy your GoPro video clips to your Mac
As easy as it sounds, just connect your GoPro camera by USB to your Mac, or use the micro SD (with an SD adapter) to transfer the GoPro Video files to your drive.
2. Download and Launch Final Cut Pro X
If you already have Final Cut Pro X you can skip this point. If not, since this video editor has a cost ($299.99), I would suggest you investing the money only if you are serious about video making. You can always download it and try it for free to see how it works. A free or cheaper solution (depending on the plan) is Filmora by Wondershare (Step-by-Step Guide below).
3. Create a new video project
Once you have Final Cut open, lest’s go and create a new Library:
click on [File] → [New] → [Library…]
Then, create a new project:
click on [File] → [New] → [Project…]
4. Import your GoPro Clips into the Time Line
Now you are presented with a time line, that is where your clips will be edited and viewed as blocks.
So, first import your GoPro video clips to Final Cut:
click on [File] → [Import] → [Media…]
Now your clips appear within FCPX library, but cannot be edited yet because are not in the Time Line.
Move the clips that you want to edit by just dragging them from the library to the time line:
5. Sort your Video Sequence
The next step is sorting your video sequence within the time line by moving the blocks around to create a story-line. Zoom out on the time line in order to view it full. Now you are ready to be creative!
Remember: if you are telling a story, try to structure it with an Intro, a body and an end.
6. Add Sound Track(s)
Music and sound effects are extremely important in videos. Sound design will make your video creations way more enjoyable to watch. Just imagine a movie without sound tracks… doesn’t sound good right?
The same concept applies for YOUR MOVIES.
Where to get Music for your Videos?
I talk about it in the following sections.
Add any sound track that is appropriate to your story or video sequence by just dragging it from your drive to the time line. Or follow step 4.
7. Cut clips to the music’s beat
It’s a good habit to take your sound track as a reference for your cuts. Scan your videos, cut the bullshit, and try to leave mainly interesting parts. Then make the clips start and end on the beats or the music. In this way your film will start gaining its own character.
This is how you do it:
8. [Optional] Edit speed of video clips for Slow-Motion or Time-Lapse
This step is only valid if you shot something at a higher frame rate (eg. 60, 120, 240 fps) and want to make a Slow Motion OR if you shot a very long video and intend to speed it up and make a Time Lapse.
9. Apply Transitions
By default, Final Cut Pro X offers various transitions. Access to them via the keyboard shortcut [Shift+cmd+5]. They are meant to support the transit from a scene to another. You apply a transition on the cuts. If you like, you can adjust the length of the transition just by dragging it with the mouse. Do not apply a transition on every cut as that will look “over-done” and will eventually ruin the flow of your video.
The one I use the most are: Cross dissolve, Blur and Fade to Colour.
10. Add Titles
Titles are not only used for introducing and closing the video, but also to support your images in the body. They reinforce the message. Final Cut Pro X, by default, has a variety of titles that you can use for your video edits:
11. Color correct your clips or apply a LUT
Color correction will make your films stand out. By hitting “CMD + 6” on your Mac’s keyboard, the color board will open up in the inspector. From here you can boost the contrast, adjust exposure and make those colors pop by increasing the saturation by a little.
You can also apply our amazing LUTs Color Grading Pack  optimized for GoPro videos. 36 Cinematic color filters that automatically color grade your videos, giving a beautiful look, one for every occasion.
Watch the BEFORE/AFTER:
12. Review and polish your Edit
Before exporting, review your edit and take some time to take care of the details. Double check if your cuts are synched on the music; make sure that if you are telling a story it will include intro, body and conclusion. Did you over-use transitions? It’s a common mistake. Check the audio levels and, if your footage looks shaky, apply Stabilization (in the inspector).
Take a break before the final export. Eventually review the video the day after and you will know exactly what’s missing. Show it to a friend for a feedback.
Once you are good with it, let’s roll through the final step!
13. Export Your Film and Share It!
Awesome! We made it to the end… the exciting part!
This is how you export your edited video in Final Cut Pro X:
Choose Format: depending on where you mostly re-play the video, you have different format options:
- Video and Audio
- Apple Devices
- Web hosting
They offer different compression levels. By selecting these options one-by-one you can preview the output file size before exporting. I typically go for “Video and Audio” as that seems to export the best video quality, good for Youtube and Socials too.
Choose video codec: pick H.264 – It gives you the best video quality for the size. If available, choose “H264 Better Quality” rather than “H264 Faster Encode”.
Resolution: choose a resolution that is ideal to the device where you are going to re-play your film. For Youtube, Computer, TV, and larger screens, try to export it in full HD 1080p or higher. For mobile devices you can go lower than full hd if disk space is an issue.
Now you are ready to share!
Top 7 GoPro Video Editing Software
Since GoPro has taken down GoPro Studio (it was its official editor application – a good one!) many (disappointed) GoPro users realized that GoPro’s new app Quik sucks! And I confirm that – it has such limited features compared to its older brother. So, according to people’s reviews, I’ve listed here below the top 4 Professional Video Editors and top 3 Basic Video Editors. Both with free and paid solutions.
Professional Video Editors (suggested)
2. Adobe Premiere Pro – A classic. For both Windows and Mac users, Premiere is like the Ferrari for cars. It’s complex, but with great performance if you learn how to use it. [Compatible with our LUT filters]
3. Filmora by Wondershare [Recommended by Project GoPro.] – A modern video editor with amazing pro features made simple, for Windows and Mac users. I really loved this editor since I first tried it. They claim to be the most simplified editor with pro features. There’s a function that optimizes the editor for action cameras, enabling features like “lens distortion”, “stabilization”, etc. It’s compatible with our LUT filters and offers both FREE and affordable plans.
They provide free easy tutorials in this page:
4. DaVinci Resolve – Another professional video editor, both for Windows and Mac. It has the tools for editing, visual effects, motion graphics, color correction and audio post production, all in a single application. They offer a complete free version for individuals and a paid one for multiuser collaboration features. [Compatible with our LUT filters]
Basic Video Editors
1. iMovie – This is the classic video editor that comes with some versions of Mac OS. If you don’t have it installed yet, you’ll need to download it from the apple store. You can perform cuts, add music and add built-in transitions and titles. If you are looking for a basic software on Mac, you just found it. It’s also available for iOS on Mobile.
2. Windows Movie Maker 10 – I was used to the one on Windows XP! A classic. Now it got updated to a more “mobile looking” application – yet very very basic.
Best Music Libraries for your Videos
Sound design is very important in video editing. Today there are a few music libraries around the internet that serve million of creators like us every day – that makes our lives so mush easier! Yes, because (unfortunately) we cannot use copyrighted sound tracks in our edits and upload them on Youtube, Facebook and other socials. The video will be recognized by the algorithm with the risk of being banned or restricted – and we do not want that.
I’ve listed the audio libraries that I’ve had the most experience with. They are rated as being the best ones also by other thousands of creators.
1. Epidemic Sound – Best one so far. They offer cheap plans for Youtubers starting from as little as $15 a month (billed monthly) for unlimited downloads of all sound tracks by great musicians. What I find very useful is the ability to listen and download either the full stream or select specific instruments only.
2. Artlist – Second best one. Why? Simply because the minimum subscription is 1 year ($199) instead of 1 month ($15) as for Epidemic Sound. They have high quality music and sounds for all types of creators.
3. Youtube Library – This is the free option for music and sound effects on Youtube. A good choice if you are tight on budget – but expect what you “pay for”. Sometimes though, I’m impressed for what I can find.
Photo Editing Workflow
Photo editing is another topic that I love. Here things are slightly simpler than video. First of all there’s no sound design – so that should save us some work.
I normally edit my GoPro shots on Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop on Computer. When I only have my phone with me I use the Adobe suite on mobile – it’s awesome.
10 key steps to my GoPro photo editing workflow with Adobe Lightroom:
1. Copy your best GoPro shots over your computer drive
2. Download and Open Adobe Lightroom
3. Create a new Catalog: click on [File] → [New Catalog…] → [Save your catalog]
4. Click on the Library tab and import your photos from your computer to the library by dragging them
5. Click on the Develop tab to start editing your photos
6. Select the photo you want to edit and adjust white balance, tone and presence
7. Or Add our customized GoPro Color Grading Filters in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
8. If the photo has got grain/noise, then go down to “Noise reduction” and increase Luminance
9. If you shot in Superview and have lens distortion, you can reduce that by enabling “Lens Correction” and select GoPro Lens.
10. Export you amazing edit: click on [File] → [Export…] → [Select a folder and file settings (jpeg, png, etc) ] → [Export]
Top 3 Photo Editing Software
The following photo editors have been rated as the best ones by thousands of creators. They all are for Windows and Mac. The Adobe suite is a classic, yet the best one around. Gimp is a free alternative.
- Adobe Lightroom – Simple and fast. A must have software for both professional photographers and amateurs
- Adobe Photoshop – More complex. It works with layers and can accomplish amazing editing if you know how
- Gimp (free open source) – A good free alternative to the Adobe suite (I’ve used it for years when I was broke)
What we’ve learned today
- The key steps for editing GoPro videos and photos with any software
- In-depth video editing workflow using Final Cut Pro X
- Best software (free and paid) for video and photo editing
- Where to get music for your videos
If you enjoy learning with Project GoPro, don’t forget to check out our other articles linked below or consider downloading the GoPro Settings Cheat Sheet below! You can print it or keep it on your phone so you’ll never miss the best GoPro settings for your activity.
- GoPro Settings Explained: Definitive Guide [ Expanded for 2019 + Cheat sheet ]
- GoPro Protune: Everything You Need to Know to Master Your Advanced Settings
- GoPro Slow Motion: Learning to Use Slow Motion
- GoPro Low Light Tips: Learn How to Improve Your Low Light Footage
- GoPro Time Lapse: Creating Stunning Time Lapse Shots