Do you want to learn how to edit GoPro videos?

Then you’re in the right place.

In this 13 step article you’ll learn the basics of my editing workflow, from downloading clips to the editor all the way to editing music and color grading.

Learn how to edit you GoPro videos with my tutorial:

GoPro Editing: My 13 Steps Workflow


GoPro Video Editing Workflow: 13 Steps

The following editing workflow details the process of turning single GoPro clips into an edited video that is ready to be published online and shared with friends and family.

I used Final Cut Pro X in this tutorial (a paid editing software available on Macs) however the editing process is basically very similar for most editing applications (free and paid).

Import your raw GoPro footage

It’s as easy as it sounds. Simply connect your GoPro camera to your computer using a USB cable and transfer the files to a folder on your computer. After the transfer is complete, you can unplug your GoPro.

Download and launch your video editor

If you already have Final Cut Pro X or a similar video editing program, launch it. If you’re just starting out and have yet to find a video editing program that works for you, there are a number of inexpensive and free options available (we recommend Filmora by Wondershare to get your feet wet). You can also try Final Cut Pro X for free by clicking here.

Consider using GoPro Quick app if you are a beginner and want to create a short video (no longer than 2-3 minutes).  If you are a Mac user read more: GoPro Quik Video Editor for Mac (Download + Guide).

Create a new video editing project

Like shown in Lesson #1 (Module 2) of the GoPro Video Editing Academy, after you’ve downloaded and launched your editor, create a new Library: Click on ‘File‘  ‘New‘  ‘Library

Next, create a new project: Click on ‘File‘  ‘New‘  ‘Project

Import your GoPro raw clips into your library

This is your new workspace. But you have to import your raw clips into your library before going on to the next step: Click on ‘File‘  ‘Import‘  ‘Media

With your GoPro clips in your media library, you can now drag and drop each one into your movie’s timeline.

Create your video timeline sequence

You can sort your placed timeline clips simply by dragging and dropping them wherever you feel they work best. This is how a storyline is established. You can also zoom out to view it in full.

Pro Tip: When telling a story through film, try structuring it with a basic “beginning – middle – end” sequence.

Add Sound Track(s)

Sound design in video – both music and sound effects – are extremely important because they make your video more enjoyable to watch. Try to imagine your favorite movie without a sound track.

Although you can’t expect your videos to have the same budget, there are ways to find great music, and sometimes they are free.

Once you’ve found and downloaded your score to a soundtrack library (as in step 3 above), follow the same process in step 3 to add the music to your movie timeline.

Pro Tip: In most video desktop apps (the ones that we’ve tested or used) your imported sound files are placed in their own audio timeline, either above or below your video timeline. See the demo in the following image.

animated image of how to add music in editing program

Cut clips to the music’s beat

In Module 2 of the GoPro Video Editing Academy I particularly focus on this step because if you get it right, the chances of producing a high quality edit will be really high.

In fact, it’s good practice to use your soundtrack’s audio cues – percussion beats, tempo changes, expressive instrumental riffs, etc. — as reference for your video cuts. Scan your video timeline, cut out the extra stuff and keep the most interesting parts. Arrange your clips to start and end on the significant parts of your chosen music. This is how you add even more character to your film.

The following animation demonstrates this process:

animated image of how to cut clips to music

Edit speed of video clips for Slow-Motion or Time-Lapse

This step is only necessary if you shot at higher frame rates (e.g., 60, 120, 240fps) and want to incorporate slow motion OR if you have a long video and want to speed it up using a time lapse.

Apply Transitions

By default, most editing software includes transitions. Transitions are used between cuts. You can adjust the length of a transition by using the mouse. Try not to use transitions on every cut – they look overdone and will likely ruin the flow of your video. Our favorites are cross dissolve, blur, and fade to color (typically black or white).

animated image of how to add transitions in editing program

Add Titles

Titles are not only used for introductions and conclusion, but also to support your footage throughout the video, and to reinforce different messages. Final Cut Pro X (and most editors), by default, have a variety of titles you can use:

Color correct your clips or apply a LUT

Color correction is an editing step that can really make your film stand out. By hitting “cmd+6” on your keyboard, a color board will open up in the inspector (for Final Cut Pro X). From here you can boost the contrast, adjust exposure and make your colors pop by increasing the saturation.

You can also apply our LUTs Color Grading Pack, which is designed specifically for enhancing the colors of GoPro footage.

GoPro LUTs Color Grading Filters [Download]

Review and polish your edit

Details matter. Before exporting your final video, review your edit and take some time to refine the details. Double check to see if your cuts are synced up to the music perfectly; make sure your story includes an easily understandable introduction, body and conclusion.

Did you over-use transitions? Are your audio levels consistent? Is your footage shaky?

If you’re happy with the results, you’re ready for the last step!

Pro Tip: Before your final export, let your video sit for a full day. Chances are when you come back the next day things will stand out that you overlooked. After you make those changes, you’re ready to go.

Export Your Film and Share It

Depending on where you plan to play your video, you have different formatting options.

  1. Video and Audio
  2. Apple devices
  3. Computer
  4. Web hosting

Each one has a different compression level. By selecting these options one-by-one you can preview the output file size before exporting. We typically select “Video and Audio” because it provides the best balance of file size and video quality for YouTube and other online platforms.

Choose the H.264 video codec. It provides the best quality for the size. And if it’s available, choose “H264 Better Quality” rather than “H264 Faster Encode”.

Select a resolution that is compatible with where your video will be most viewed. For Youtube, and larger screens, use full HD 1080p or higher. For mobile devices you can go lower than full HD (720p) if disk space is limited.

That’s it! You’re ready to share!



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