Imagine this…you’ve captured some amazing content on your GoPro and you have high hopes to put together an EPIC GoPro Video.
You sit down at your desk, download all your footage to your computer with the hopes of putting together an amazing GoPro Video.
Don’t feel bad if it does. Millions and millions of hours of footage never see the light of day.
So you’re not alone.
Editing a GoPro Video can seem daunting, difficult, complicated and time consuming which is why we never get around to doing it!
It can feel downright IMPOSSIBLE.
Learning how to Edit GoPro Videos doesn’t need to be this much of an inconvenience.
It helps to have a plan. A step-by-step process to follow.
And that’s what this post is all about.
This is a COMPLETE GUIDE on How to Edit GoPro Videos like a pro.
Being able to edit an awesome edit starts with capturing great footage.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Download & Organize your GoPro Footage
This step paves the way for a smooth road ahead. It’s so nice to have all of your footage organized in a system that is easy to reference.
The wrong way is to just dump all of your video files into 1 folder or worse, pasting them on your desktop.
How to organize your GoPro Footage
This is totally up to you. The point is to organize them in a way that makes sense to you and makes it easier to edit.
However, I suggest that you organize your footage into different folders based on the camera you used, the scene or the frame rate.
Every movie typically has an intro, middle and end so you can start with that structure when organizing your clips:
- HERO6 – Intro
- HERO8 – Snorkelling with Turtles
- HERO8 – Cliff Jumping
- HERO8 – Sunset Outro
Alternatively, you could do something like this:
- 30 fps
- 120 fps (slow motion)
With this system, you split up your footage based on frame rates. In this case, 30 fps would also be the frame rate for your entire video and you could use the 120 fps footage as slow motion and slow it down to 30 fps or 25%.
Or you can combine them like:
- Snorkelling with Turtles – 30fps
- Snorkelling with Turtles – 120fps
- Cliff Jumping – 30fps
- Cliff Jumping – 120fps
Now that you have your footage organized, it’s time to open your editing software.
Step 2: GoPro Video Editing Software & Video Settings
You have some options when it comes to a GoPro Video Editor.
Popular ones include Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Final Cut Pro X, Davinci Resolve, GoPro Quik and Sony Vegas just to name a few.
Some of them are paid and some of them are free.
Personally, I use Premiere Pro CC so this guide is going to reference that particular piece of software but all steps are pretty much identical regardless of the software you use.
Here is a great video under 25 minutes on how to get started with Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
In Adobe Premiere Pro CC for example, you can select all of your folders, drag and drop them into the Project Panel and it will automatically keep the same folder structure (but with Adobe bins which are the same thing as folders).
Depending on the software you’re using, you may have had to choose settings when you originally opened the program.
With Adobe Premiere Pro CC, your video settings are selected after you import your footage.
Adobe uses something called a sequence which includes information like your video’s frame rate and resolution.
The sequence is made up of all the videos, sound files and images along with all the editing tweaks you make.
Which Frame Rate and Video Resolution Should I Choose?
When it comes to making these choices, you need to keep a few things in mind.
If you shot GoPro footage in multiple different frame rates, you’ll have to settle on one.
You can’t have a video made up of clips that are in 25 fps and 120 fps and display those clips in their original frame rates.
Generally, you’ll want to use 24 or 30 frames per second. That’s the industry standard.
Technically, the frame rate for 30fps is actually 29.97 fps but that’s less important.
As for the final resolution of your video, go with what the majority of your footage is shot in.
If you shot 90% in 4K, choose 4K. Just know that if you have any 2.7K or 1080p footage, you will need to scale it up to 4K and you’ll lose some quality.
If you shot most of your footage in 1080p, go for 1080p. Any footage in 2.7K or 4K will need to be scaled down to fit the 1080p resolution but the quality will be maintained.
My Recommended GoPro Video Resolution & Frame Rate
Personally, most of my videos end up having a resolution of 1080p with a frame rate of 30fps.
Note that these are not the settings I use to capture footage! Just the final video settings.
Also, keep in mind that 4K footage can put a real strain on some computers resulting in slower performance which will only make the process of editing your video slower and more frustrating.
So now that you have your video settings selected, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Stop & Think Before Editing Your GoPro Video
Now it’s time for the fun part: creating your GoPro Video masterpiece.
🛑 Stop for a moment.
Before you start dragging clips onto the timeline, trimming, adding transitions, titles and all that, take some time to think about the story you want to tell.
Every video has a beginning, middle and end.
After looking at countless videos and trying to understand the formula for creating a viral GoPro video, there are some clear commonalities.
Check out this Post about the 4 Ingredients of GoPro’s Viral Edits
Start with something exciting. Grab the viewer’s attention early!
If you look at some of the most popular GoPro videos, the opening scene leaves the viewer asking themselves questions: what was that? What just happened? What’s going to happen next?
You’ll only find out if you keep watching.
Identify the Climax
What’s the most exciting clip you shot?
Make sure your intro builds up to this moment.
The Build Up
Who’s the main character or what contributes to the climax?
Step 4. Choosing Music for your GoPro Video
Now this is my personal preference, but I like to have my song choice made before I start editing on the timeline.
It’s even possible to have my song choice made before I even start shooting!
If I know the song I’ll be editing to, I can capture footage so it fits with the tune.
Don’t discount your song choice.
The audio component of a video is just as important as the visual part.
It adds another dimension to the visual scene.
Music can make your clips more dramatic, more exciting, more engaging.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get the most out of your footage will well-selected music and sound effects.
There are both free and paid options available.
For paid options, check out Epidemic Sounds and Envato Elements for both music and sound effects.
For free options, there are some YouTube Channels that offer royalty free music.
Step 5: Trimming, Adding Transitions and Titles
When putting together your edit, focus on quick transitions and multiple angles.
Keep your clips short. Be EXTRA selective!
Don’t become biased by your footage and think everything is worth using.
I can’t tell you how many videos get published where it’s just minutes and minutes of the same angle.
It gets boring!
You need to keep the viewer stimulated so shorter is better.
Change your angles frequent and often.
By doing so, you can even return to a previously used angle and the viewer won’t even notice.
Being able to use multiple angles comes from you having actually captured multiple angles in the first place.
Experiment with different angles.
There are lots and lots of mounts out there and some are more versatile than others.
Check out our Best GoPro Mounts & Accessories.
Any change is good for keeping your viewer interested and engaged.
Coming back to your music selection from step 5, you have the chance to match your transitions to the beat of the song.
Take the time to do this. It makes a big difference.
It can be pretty awkward to the viewer when a change of scene happens at the wrong time during a song.
With titles, they can be great to identify locations or times.
A nice effect is to add some blur to the background to really amplify the titles.
Minimalist titles work well and can contribute to a higher quality final product.
Step 6: GoPro Color Correction and Color Grading
This is an entirely separate topic altogether due to its complexity so we will be brief in this post and cover the basics.
If you want to go deep into the GoPro Color Grading rabbit hole, we have another post covering color correction in greater detail. Coming Soon.
The point of color correction is this: some of your footage might be overexposed (too bright) or underexposed (too dark) so you’ll need to make some adjustments to get it looking just right.
Color Correction would include adjusting exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks and saturation.
You don’t need to take a scientific approach to this step (although it is possible using advanced visual data like Lumetri Scopes) . Make adjustments based on what you see.
If it looks better, great.
If it looks worse, undo your last adjustment and try something else.
Color Grading is about adding your own custom look, mood and feel to your footage after you’ve done your color correction.
In Adobe Premiere Pro CC for example, in the Creative section of the Lumetri Color, you can apply LUTS (look up tables) that are pre-made visual templates.
Play around with them until you achieve your desired look.
You can also create your own LUT by simply adjusting each of the sliders manually. There are quite a few things you can adjust so things can get crazy and you can spend a lot of time here!
Try and make sure all of your clips are consistent and have a similar look and feel.
Step 7: Export your Video, Upload and Share
Now that you’re finished editing your GoPro video, it’s time to export it and upload it to the internet.
When exporting your video, you will usually be presented with more settings to choose.
Format H.264 is the go-to format. It means the file will be in an .mp4 format which I’m sure you’re familiar with if you aren’t familiar with H.264.
With Adobe Premiere Pro CC, they have presets like YouTube 1080p and YouTube 4K so definitely select one of those if that’s the ultimate destination for your GoPro Video.
There’s an option labeled Use Maximum Render Quality. Make sure that’s selected.
It will result in the export taking a longer time but it’s worth it for the improved quality.
Once your video is exported and saved to your computer, it’s time to upload it to your favorite site.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram.
Summary: How to Edit GoPro Videos
I hope this guide on how to edit your GoPro Videos was helpful. Here’s a summary of what we covered.
- Start by organizing your footage!
- Import your organized footage into your favorite video editing software (Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a popular option)
- Stop and think before you drag your clips into the timeline and start trimming, adding transitions and titles. Figure out the story you’re trying to tell.
- Choose some music that magnifies and complements your videos. Audio can take a GoPro Edit from Good to Great.
- Perform Color Correction to fix overexposed and underexposed footage. Color Grading is to add your own look and feel to the video. Get creative and experiment!
- Export and Upload your final GoPro Video.