Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are rapidly growing in popularity. They make it possible to record epic aerial videos for both professional film productions and recreational drone pilots. Drone footage is often of high quality and offers stunning bird's-eye views.
Part 1: Best Drone Video Editing Software - Entry Level 2. Windows Movie Maker- Free. Many people like to choose Windows Movie Maker as an entrance though it's been discontinued to upgrade.Brought to you by Microsoft, this editing software which forms a part of the Windows Essential program suite would. Jan 04, 2020 Though Mac users don't have the sheer number of software choices available for PCs, Apple fans interested in editing video are well served, by four products in particular. At the entry level, the surprisingly capable and enjoyable-to-use iMovie comes free with every Mac sold since at least 2011. Jul 24, 2018 Having become a de-facto standard in the world of professional video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is also the most frequently named piece of software among drone owners. Starting this year, Adobe PP has gone cross-platform, so even some Mac users tend to choose it over Final Cut Pro despite slower performance and higher costs in the long run.
It is inevitable that Drone footage always contains lots of unwanted parts when you wish to sharing or creating a Drone video with your friends. So, you need a video editing program to cut out the parts you don't want.
A video editor will also help to stabilize the video if your drone was shaking in the wind as well as optimize the quality of your recording by adding interesting filters, transitions, graphics, and background music to make the video even more interesting for the viewer.
Today, you can get a variety of good drone video editing software for every skill level. Choosing the right video editor will enable even an inexperienced beginner to create high-quality drone videos that are a joy to watch.
[Entry Level] BEST Drone Editing Software for Mac and PC
1. Filmora Video Editor
When you need a program that you can use to edit drone videos quickly and easily, Filmora Video Editor is an excellent choice. The software is extremely easy to use and offers a full range of powerful video editing tools.
Users have access to over 500 special effects, most of which can be tweaked and customized. Plenty of stunning filters, transitions, overlays and animations are also available which make it easy to get started with video editing. With this inexpensive program, even first timers can make professional looking drone videos.
iMovie comes pre-installed on Apple computers. It features a minimalist interface and offers all the video editing functions that you would need to make basic edits to drone footage. It has two video tracks and two audio tracks that you can use to combine multiple clips.
Using this simple program, you can add titles, transitions and video effects. You can also cut, crop, rotate and zoom a selected area, as well as adjust playback speed and the length of transitions between scenes. iMovie works well with most video formats and supports editing in HD or 4K resolution.
3. Windows Movie Maker
Once popular for creating slideshow videos for birthdays, holidays and parties, many are already familiar with Windows Movie Maker. Its video editing tools are very basic but not surprising since it is a free program. Using Windows Movie Maker, you can apply a variety of fonts and video effects to your drone footage. Trimming and merging clips as well as adding background music are easy to perform. This software is very easy to use but it is no longer officially supported by Microsoft. If you can find it, it can still be installed and used.
4. GoPro Studio
As the name suggests, this entry-level video editor is designed for GoPro camera users. It offers basic tools to edit drone videos, but can also update your GoPro camera firmware.
It has fewer functions and features than similar video editors which limits its capabilities but accommodates beginners and inexperienced users. Using this software, you can easily import video files from your camera and perform basic edits such as trim, cut and join video clips, as well as add titles and music. You can also use GoPro Studio to adjust the color balance of your video and change the playback speed.
[Intermediate Level] Drone Editing Software for Mac/PC
1. FilmoraPro Video Editor
FilmoraPro Video Editor is a budget friendly video editor that offers advanced tools suited for more experienced users. Its simple and intuitive layout makes it is very easy to use. It offers unlimited tracks which allows you to work with as many video and audio tracks as you want.
In addition to the usual editing tools such as trim, crop, merge, cut and split, users also have access to advanced video editing tools including rate stretch, slip, slide, ripple edit, and more, to help produce high quality drone videos. If you are familiar with Adobe Premier Pro and need a software tool with similar advanced features and functionality at a lower price, this is the perfect video editor for you. .
Best Video Editing Software For Mac
WeVideo is an easy to use, cloud-based video editor that can be used to edit 4K drone footage. Since it is cloud-based, it can be accessed from any computer or device with an internet connection. It supports most media formats which helps to provide a smooth video editing experience. On the program users can find all the basic video editing tools such and can cut & trim clips, apply special effects, filters, transitions and overlays, and add music and text. Other advanced features are also available including, WeVideo JumpStart, Cloud storage, screen recording, Green Screen effect, Music library and playback speed control.
Lightworks is a free video editor that offers intermediate level tools to edit drone videos. It offers basic and advanced tools that provide good control over all the aspects of video editing. The UI looks somewhat outdated but is still easy to use.
You can easily drag and drop clip sequences, add audio tracks and special effects to your drone footage. Users can also use the video editing tools to cut, trim, crop and split clips. The free version of Lightworks only allows users to export edited videos at a maximum 720p and limits video formats to MPEG4/H.264.
4. Cyberlink Power Director
Cyberlink Power Director is a mid-range video editor that provides a good balance between advanced tools and user friendliness. It provides a wide range of features and functions that are suited for 360 degree drone footage, 4K resolution and multicam video editing. With the program users can perform all the usual video editing functions as well add filters, transitions, special effects, graphics, music and text. This software provides interesting features such as True Theater Color technology which autocorrects video color and Magic Movie Wizard which can automatically edit your drone video with just a few clicks.
[Advanced Level] Video Editor for Drone Footage
1. Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is a popular professional video editor that offers advanced video editing functions. Its UI is clear and easy to navigate despite its wide range of tools and features. This greatly simplifies the operation of the software tool and provides full control of every aspect of the video editing process. Adobe Premiere Pro is compatible with most media formats and is capable of processing drone footage in UHD and 4K. Using this software users can trim, cut & append clips, do color correcting, apply filters & special effects, add music, graphics, titles, overlays, transitions, text and much more.
2. Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X is a professional MacOS video editor designed especially for experts and semi-professional videographers. It is used by some Hollywood filmmakers and is credited for editing some well-known blockbuster movies. It features a comprehensive range of tools that provide a high degree of control for every aspect of drone video editing.
This program has a simple UI that is similar to iMovie, which helps to make it less intimidating for users familiar with Apple’s entry-level video editor. Users have access to wide selection of special effects, filters, overlays, transitions and audio effects. Advanced tools include 3D & 360-degree video support, multicam editing, XML exporting and HVEC support.
3. Davinci Resolve
Davinci Resolve is a cross-platform video editor offering advanced tools for editing drone videos. The free version of Davinci Resolve provides good color correction tools and a good selection of filters. There are multiple video tracks, so it's suitable for non-linear video editing, and the trim tool is pretty intuitive too. You can process videos with a resolution of up to 8K, but the export settings are limited to 4K.
This software is known for being very resource-intensive and works best on computers with high specs. It is recommended only if you are serious about learning advanced post-production techniques and own a powerful desktop computer with a minimum 16GB RAM.
4. Avid Media Composer
Avid Media Composer is a professional video editing software that can be used to edit drone footage. It is often used to edit mainstream TV shows and movies. This software provides powerful advanced in a complex, feature-rich UI that is suited to advanced users. It is compatible with most video formats and can work with different resolutions from SD up to 8K. Using its cloud options, users are also able to access and edit their drone videos remotely. Some of its pro-level features include support for any aspect ratio, support for UHD video, Avid DNxHD codec, 3D & multicam editing, FrameFlex and Audio Dupe Detection.
Choosing the best video editor suited for your skill level will help you get the most out of your drone footage. With the right software tool, you can effectively create high quality and entertaining drone videos at your home without wasting time learning to use a program or spending more than you need to.
If you are a beginner looking for a drone video editor with a good mix of features to allow you to explore your creativity while being easy to use, light on system resources and budget friendly, go with Filmora Video Editor. If you are already familiar with video editing and need more advanced tools to better enhance your drone footage, FilmoraPro Video Editor is perfect for you.
Related Articles & Tips
So, you have bought a drone, spent some time to get the hang of the flying process, and now you’re looking for a decent drone video editing software to turn your footage into a movie? You’re in the right place then. It is only natural to be willing to share what you’ve recorded with the world, as we all know how mesmerizing most aerial videos are.
But before you hit that Publish button, there are cuts to be made, music to be added, and titles to be written. In this post, we’ve reviewed 5 tools that will not only help you perform basic editing tasks but provide advanced tools for video effects and color correction. All the programs below are truly free – no watermarks, no ads, no 3rd-party apps attached – so you shouldn’t expect unpleasant surprises after the installation.
Ready to start?
Based on your level of experience, your OS, and your goals, here are some of the best options.
VSDC – Recommended drone video editing software for Windows users
If you own a Windows PC, VSDC should be your number one option. It is the most lightweight video editor featuring a surprisingly wide toolset easily compared to professional-level software. You’ll be able to quickly cut what you’ve recorded and choose the best takes, merge them into a clip, crop, zoom, and set up the playback speed. VSDC offers dozens of color filters, titles and animation, transitions and flexible audio settings.
The interface is intuitive enough for you to figure it out but if you’ve never had a chance to work with advanced video editing software, there are tons of tutorials available online to point you in the right direction. Below is a screenshot of the “video-in-video” effect – one of the most popular and the easiest ones to apply in VSDC:
What’s noteworthy, VSDC also includes audio and video recorders. So, if you plan to create voice comments to your drone clips or record facecam – you can do it using one and the same app. Plus, it’s officially recommended by the GoPro team members and multiple drone owners including Quadcopter 101 (bookmark his YouTube channel to watch various drones being tested and reviewed in real-time!).
Finally, full format compatibility makes VSDC a great choice and here is why. Let’s say you’re flying a Phantom and therefore looking for a DJI video editor. What DJI drone owners already know is that their videos are saved in either .MOV or .MP4 depending on the settings. And while there is barely any difference quality-wise, some Windows-based video editors struggle to recognize .MOV files. Not VSDC. This tool easily handles even the “tricky” formats, allows you to process 4K and even to export the .H265 codec. Why is it so important? Because the .H265 or HEVC codec helps you keep the highest quality of the video while minimizing the file size, so you could share your clips over email and upload them to YouTube faster without quality loss.
iMovie – recommended drone video editing software for Mac
iMovie has been heard of by most Apple fans, and if you’re one of them – consider giving it a test-drive before even looking at 3rd-party apps. Previously, iMovie was only available to new Mac owners but now it’s free to everyone. Besides, this editor works on mobile devices too.
iMovie has a minimalistic interface and offers all the essential features for a beginner or an intermediate-level user. There are two video tracks and two audio tracks – which means you can combine multiple clips using split screen effect (on the screenshot below), video-in-video effect, or just by blending two videos into one.
You’ll find a set of themes, title templates, transitions, and effects. Working in iMovie reminds of using a virtual canvas a lot because most actions are performed via drag-n-drop movement. Thus, you get full control of the picture – you can cut, crop, rotate, and zoom a chosen area. Plus, you can apply speed settings to get that slow-motion effect when needed or set up the length of transitions between scenes.
Just like VSDC, iMovie works well with most video formats and lets you keep the quality if you’re shooting in HD or 4K. For complete beginners looking for a detailed tutorial, Jamie at Teacher’s Tech published a fantastic guide on how to start editing videos in iMovie. Watch it here.
Davinci Resolve – professional-level software for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Davinci Resolve is a cross-platform solution, which means it works on any OS: Mac, Windows, or Linux. On this list, Resolve is the most resource-consuming and the most advanced video editing software. So, if you’re serious about learning the art of post-production and you have a powerful enough computer (recommended RAM is 16 GB), look no further. It’s been recommended by professional videographers and DJI community on Reddit.
The free version of Davinci Resolve boasts exclusive color correction tools and stands out with its set of filters. There are several video tracks, so it suits for non-linear video editing, plus the trimming tool is quite intuitive. Resolve virtually supports most popular video formats including Quicktime. You can process videos of up to 8K resolution, but the export settings are limited by 3,840 x 2,160. If you’re uploading directly to YouTube or Vimeo, the video will be exported in 1080p.
HitFilm Express – another promising video editor for your consideration
HitFilm Express is a free version of the paid software by FX Home available for 64-bit optimized Mac and Windows OS. Downloading HitFilm Express is a bit of a quest because you’re asked to share its page on social media and create an account using an email address to receive a link to download the editor. The system requirements are lower than what Davinci Resolve has but you still won’t be able to use the program on a low-end computer. Recommended RAM is 8 GB (minimum 4 GB), plus 1 GB minimum of video memory is required.
HitFilm Express has an unconventional interface that may slow you down at the beginning but there is an excellent collection of tutorials published on the developer’s website and it’s a good place to start. Feature-wise, this app is focused on effects – hence the Hollywood-inspired website theme – but you can use it for more trivial tasks like cutting out the unwanted pieces of video, creating layers, adding filters and text.
If you pick HitFilm to be the drone video editing software of your choice, keep in mind that even without purchasing the $299 Pro license, you can power-up the free version with premium add-on packs available right in the program interface. They include some of the most demanded effects and tools such as picture-in-picture effect, 360° editing, a pack of retro effects, and LUT color filters. HitFilm is compatible with MP4 format, QuickTime, AVI, WMV and GoPro CineForm, and few others. Videos are exported at 1080 maximum.
Lightworks – powerful free editor for those uploading to YouTube or Vimeo
The last software on our list is Lightworks, and that’s not for the lack of features but for the lack of export options. The free version of this video editor only allows you to save files in MP4, 720p maximum. This might not be an issue for those uploading videos to YouTube or Vimeo but is quite an upsetting factor if you’re shooting in 4K and really care about the quality. Nevertheless, Lightworks deserves to be mentioned because of its unique approach to the trimming process and the timeline. In fact, this might be the best tool for those who have a lot of footage to be trimmed and organized into a shorter clip.
Typically, you add a video file to the timeline and cut it into fragments, then remove the ones you don’t want. In Lightworks, you can use markers to choose the part of a video to be added to the timeline in the first place. It keeps the working area clean and helps you focus. Besides, you can rename the fragments and zoom in/zoom out the timeline for higher precision.
Apart from cutting and merging files together, Lightworks allows you to perform color correction using RGB, HSV, and Curves, apply speed presets, add credit-style titles and adjust the sound of your video.
This video editor works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download a 32-bit or a 64-bit version from the official website. Make sure you have at least 3 GB of RAM.
Here is what you should be looking for when you’re choosing a drone video editing software
First, you need to make sure your computer complies with the software system requirements. For example, if you have a 64-bit version of Windows 7 with limited memory, VSDC is your best bet because it runs well even on low-end PCs. On the other hand, if you have a powerful machine and looking to master advanced video editing techniques, Davinci Resolve is a terrific choice.
Second, before you even install the new tool, find out what format and resolution you’ll be working with. That’s quasi-important because as we’ve mentioned already, some video editors – especially those working on Mac – struggle to open .MP4, while others won’t process .MOV or a 4K video. In other words, if your software isn’t compatible with the format/codec/resolution of your drone videos, you’ll have to look for roundabout approaches and convert videos prior to editing. Conversion takes some time, some effort, and sometimes even affects the quality of the video. We recommend avoiding unnecessary conversions whenever possible.
Third, always check for online tutorials. No matter what level you are at, mastering a new tool always involves a steep learning curve and you probably don’t want to dwell on the trial and error path for too long. So before diving deep into the world of drone video editing software, check out YouTube and other resources. For instance, VSDC team has an entire channel with over 300 videos showing you how to perform editing from scratch. There are also plenty of video guides published by Lightworks fans, and if you end up installing Davinci Resolve, you may even want to check out online courses on Lynda and Udemy to get the most of its capabilities.
Go ahead and start editing your first drone video today
You may start small – just cut and merge a couple of fragments – that’s fine. Nobody is born with professional video editing skills. Just like you’ve learned to operate your drone, you’ll master the art of montage to the required extent. And when you’re ready for the next level, check out this article about 7 video editing tricks to make your drone footage look cinematic.