Magix Movie Edit Pro Plus or Fast Cut (their newest program build specifically to edit GoPro footage).
But this tutorial may help you even if you don't have a GoPro camera. You can follow this process to easily edit any kind of video - with Magix (my favorite program but any in the top 10 best video editing software will do).
Have a look at ScreenFlow or Final Cut Pro if you're using a Mac (Apple computer).
I personally edit all my video clips this way - lately using the Sony HX9V compact camera to shoot. However, if you want to work with your current default video editor (which may not work with MP4 in H.264 encoding), you need to convert MP4 to AVI before dragging the GoPro clips into the timeline of your video editing software.
I edit my outdoor videos with Magix coz it's easy to use, has an intuitive interface and works well even on old laptops.
It handles GoPro HD MP4 files, MTS (AVCHD) format, MOV clips and AVI files without needing to convert them - that saves time which you can spend on editing rather than figuring out which software to use to convert your files.
For me personally it was a relief and enabled me to have a streamlined workflow. Import your files, edit, export and upload to YouTube - Done!
Shooting first - How to capture interesting footage
Before discussing the technical aspects of editing (export settings, resolution, etc.) let's consider the first step of your work as a video producer and that is shooting video.
You always have to keep in mind that your works starts when you press the record button on your camera. If you shoot thinking about how you're gonna edit then you'll be taking quite a lot of work load off the editing process.
Be creative with your camera. Take various shots from various angles. Show the viewers the subject in multiple ways.
A friend of mine works in television and he said: "Imagine how a bird, a mouse and a worm sees the subject." What this means is this:
- A bird sees the scene from above so fly your camera above the subject or take aerial shots if you can (climb a tree and take some shots from there).
- A mouse sees everything from ground level. Carry your camera slightly above the ground or keep it fixed there - everything will look big.
- A worm goes out of the ground - if you can bury your camera and take it out of the dirt then that would depict what a worm sees when it comes out. (This was in the context of beach sand, where burying the camera was essentially easy, and made sense)
- etc, etc.
A few words on editing
One of the best things you can do for your viewers is to keep the scenes short. Especially for online videos (we're not talking documentaries). And why would you edit your GoPro videos if not for sharing them online, right?
Having shorts scenes will render a short video as well. So if you can keep your clip under 5 minutes you'll get more views.
Editing on music beats is another cool trick you can deploy to keep the viewers watching.
Tip: Sometimes, when editing on music beats, it's hard to precisely identify the spikes in the audio chart. So what you do is this:
- Play the part of the song on which you want add scenes
- Press stop and count in your mind the beats you heard
- If you heard 6 beats at equal time distance, add 6 equal scenes to that particular section of audio track
To bring your video closer to a movie experience, add slow motion and time lapse scenes. Also, the dolly zoom (vertigo effect) is another cool trick you can do to add drama to your clips.
Where to get free music for YouTube videos
One of the best source for royalty free music to use on your online videos is DanoSongs.com. He has an interesting collection of audio tracks that are available for download and free to use for your videos as long as you give him credit.
Other free sources include:
- http://incompetech.com - a large library of quality music & soundtracks sorted by genre, keywords and feel
- http://www.freesound.org/ - for sound effects
For instance, I had a nice experience communicating with CantStopWontStopMusic.com who replied to my Facebook messages when I asked them if I can use their "Cool Summer" song. Check out their Facebook page (and download two cool songs for free).
After you're done editing, it's time to export your video and save it as a video file to your computer.
If you run Magix on a powerful computer - if you're a gamer you may have a strong machine - you can export the video to an MP4 file. This grants high quality and low file size so it'll be faster for you to upload the video online.
Update: With the latest edition of Magix (2014 Pro Plus) you can export in MP4 (H.264 encoding at 6000 - 9000 kb/s) and you'll get a sharp result. If this works on your computer, you can ignore the rest of this tutorial.
However, I recommend you export the final clip to an AVI file. AVI is an uncompressed video file and thus you get maximum video quality. This is true even with older computers or laptops. So what I'm saying is this: if you're running Magix on a slow computer, export your GoPro HD video to AVI.
Add a name to your file and use a folder where the video will be saved. Use the same folder where the rest of the media files are stored (original footage and audio files).
Select the resolution, the frame rate and the aspect ratio of your video. Stick to 16:9 for aspect ratio and 29.99 or 30 fps for frame rate. Click on Advanced for codec and quality settings.
Select XviD MPEG-4 codec or Indeo 5.10 codec (in more recent versions of Magix). Click on Configuration button and slide the quality cursor to 1 in the next window.
Click OK on all windows and the editor will start compiling your video showing you a blue progress bar at the bottom of the window (Mixing down... remaining time...).
- It's advisable to use a laptop cooler if you edit on a portable computer. I use a Canyon cooler and I'm very satisfied with it. Actually, my laptop can cope better with all tasks since the overheating issue has been taken care of.
- If your computer is more than 3 years old and has lots of programs installed, you may want to close all other applications when you're editing and exporting videos. Video editing is a hardware resources consuming task and you want to give it all to your video.
- Export the time lapse clips before starting the editing process of your video. So when you want to ad a time lapse scene in the clip, simply import your previously processed scene and trim it accordingly. This will take less time for the clip to export whereas if you apply the time lapse effect within the same project file of the final video, it will take too long to export.
- Keep all your media files in the same folder: original footage, audio tracks, photos, audio effects files, etc.
- Keep the project folder on a hard disk partition where there's enough free space available. All video editors create temporary files that enables them to do their work properly - don't sacrifice that.
If you convert it to MP4 before uploading, YouTube won't compress them that hard as they're already compressed.
For this particular task we'll use the free version of Leawo AVI to MP4 converter.
After you download and install Leawo, click the Add button in the lower left of the window and browse for the AVI file you want to convert.
Select an output video format - you'll get best results with iPad HD video in H.264 encoding.
Tip: You can shoot in the lowest resolution with your GoPro HD camera (R1 - 480 px / 848 px @ 60 fps) and convert the final video to HD for iPad without getting a pixelated image. This means you can shoot in SD and get a HD result with Leawo. Of course, what you get is not a real HD video since the original footage was shot in 480 p but still you can maintain a sharp image even when you increase the actual resolution of the clip.
All my recent action sports clips are shot in R1 and converted to iPad HD video before uploading to YouTube or Vimeo. I prefer R1 for two reasons:
- The files are easier to handle and edit for my old Dell laptop
- R1 shoots at 60 frames per second which makes it excellent for slow motion rendering (R3 shoots at 60 fps as well but those are HD clips and are harder to handle and edit for a slow computer)
Choose an output destination folder and click the big green arrow button in the lower right of the window to start converting the video. You'll see a size estimate for the new file and a progress bar + the remaining time.
Tip: This process takes up resources as well so it's better to keep your computer in a cool place if you don't have a cooler. I used to take it out in the balcony (in the shade) or in the bathroom (down on the tiles) to avoid overheating - this was before I got my laptop cooler.
Over to you
So there you have it. This is my complete workflow of editing GoPro HD videos with Magix Edit Pro Plus and Leawo.
- Is there a particular video editor you like to use for your GoPro HD clips?
- What's the biggest problem you face when editing video?
- Would you like me to write an in depth post or do a video screen capture with all the editing tricks in Magix Edit Pro Plus?
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