A GoPro camera is an excellent companion for avid travelers willing to document their journey. It’s compact, durable, and waterproof. It allows for shooting pictures and videos of an amazing quality, and on top of that, it’s quite cost-effective.
If you’re a happy owner of this mighty device, chances are, you’ve either already tried to edit your videos or you’re planning to. And this is where it may get tricky because Quik – the official software that comes with the camera – is quite limited feature-wise and doesn’t really allow you for performing anything above the most basic tricks. GoPro used to have another video editing software called Studio, but in the year 2017, it stopped being supported.
In this article, we’ll review 5 free programs fully compatible with GoPro footage and capable of helping you create a beautiful movie out of it.
VSDC opens this roundup because it is a video editing software for Windows recommended by the GoPro team. It’s a very lightweight program with low system requirements, so you’ll be able to install it even on a low-end computer with limited memory. Despite that, VSDC brings quite a rich toolset GoPro shooters may benefit from.
For instance, there is an easy way to achieve a slow-motion effect or create a perfect time-lapse by manually adjusting playback speed settings. If your footage is overexposed (recorded with too much light), you can make use of color correction settings and quick filters. To merge fragments, there is a set of transitions, a text editor for title creation, and a wide choice of visual effects such as picture-in-picture, video-inside-text, and gradual zoom.
When it comes to format and codec processing, VSDC opens GoPro footage with no issues, and you can edit your 4K recordings without worrying about the quality loss. At the export level, VSDC allows you for saving videos using pre-configured profiles for various social networks if you’re planning to post them online or pick a format and quality of your choice if you want to keep them for your collection.
iMovie is a video editor officially recommended by the GoPro to those working on Mac computers. This program has an intuitive interface, a gallery of title and background templates, and the fact that it is available for free now makes iMovie the number one choice for Apple users.
Unlike VSDC, iMovie provides a version for iOS mobile devices, and if your iPad or iPhone has 64 GB of memory, the video editor comes already preinstalled. Even though its feature-set on mobile is slightly limited, there is still plenty you can do on the go. The best part about it, you can literally start working on a project on the iPhone or the iPad, and then continue on a Mac – given that your devices are connected via iTunes.
For example, if you have multiple shots, you can quickly scrub and preview them before choosing which ones should be included in the project. You can also perform quick video splitting, rotate and zoom the footage to reframe it. iMovie allows you for adjusting quality and resolution of the videos when you export them, so remember that the higher the quality is, the heavier your video file will be. If you’re planning to upload your project online, high quality should be a sufficient option for you.
Openshot is a cross-platform software, so it works on all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux. The tool strikes with its minimalism from the first sight and for beginners, it is rather an advantage than a drawback. In fact, unlike most solutions, Openshot even has embedded windows popping up and guiding you when you first open the program. Clearly, for someone feeling far from being a tech savvy person, this one provides a lot of convenience.
Feature-wise, Openshot enables you to quickly compile movies out of multiple video clips and make adjustments using the drag’n’drop motion. There is a set of transitions, audio editing tools, a huge library of title templates, and time-based effects: you can slow down, speed up, or reverse a video. The program is capable of few advanced tricks such as Chroma Key (green screen removal) and a picture-in-picture effect.
As an open-source software, Openshot supports all the popular video formats and codecs, so you shouldn’t have any problems opening a GoPro footage. It also works well with 4K if you use this resolution for recording.
Avidemux is a program designed for the most basic tasks: cutting and encoding. However, if all you need is to slit a large video file into many fragments and export them all separately or vice versa – you only need to stitch numerous files together in one – this software might be a smart choice.
Using Avidemux is a no-brainer. Its interface has a bare minimum of control buttons – most of the dashboard space is occupied by the preview window and the cutting toolbar. There are two markers you will use to define the video sequence you’d like to cut, copy, or delete. Once the action is performed, you’ll be able to export the file in the original format, and if needed, open it in another video editing software to apply more advanced effects or color correction.
Avidemux is an open source project working on Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. The installation files can be found on Sourceforge.
Davinci Resolve is the last video editing software on the list, however, it boasts the most powerful post-production feature-set. This solution will be perfect for someone willing to master professional-level color grading and video compositing.
Resolve is also a cross-platform tool, but it consumes significantly more resources than any other program, so you might want to make sure your PC meets the minimum system requirements before installing it. The interface may also seem overwhelming at a glance, but you’ll be able to find dozens of tutorials online teaching you how to work in Davinci Resolve. Besides, if you’re serious about achieving the real cinematic look for your footage, it’s well worth the effort.
At the basic level, you’ll find a handy video trimmer, speed effects, and transitions. For more sophisticated users, there is an advanced stabilizing feature, 3D compositing, 2D titles, and animation. When it comes to color correction, Davinci Resolve enables you to take full control of the picture, and technically, this is the most prominent capability it is known for.
For many explorers, video editing often becomes a hobby because it allows for sharing stories in the most fascinating way – by showing it from a personal perspective. And for someone shooting on a GoPro, it’d be a grand omission not to make use of all that breathtaking footage.
Hopefully, this post will help you find the right solution or at least inspire you to start editing videos. There are few more attention-worthy programs available out there, however, the ones reviewed in this article, have minimum restrictions when it comes to formats, feature-set, and export capabilities.
Now, go ahead and let your creativity take over!