People ask all the time what program to use for video editing? And which one allows editing videos fast, without frustration? I wrote this blog post to help you find answers to these questions.
I have used GoPro Studio for more than a year. It was a good program for the start and it was free. But later I needed to edit my videos faster and more conveniently.
Six months ago I switched to Adobe Premiere Pro and never looked back. I will show you a significant difference between these two programs when doing just the basic steps every time I edit my videos.
Everyone’s needs are different and I wanted to help you decide if it is worth it for your particular needs too.
You will also get tips how to edit your videos efficiently.
What is GoPro Studio
I started with GoPro Studio because I edited mostly videos from my GoPro camera and because it is a free software.
You can download it from GoPro official website. Currently, it is bundled with Quik software which is supposed to be used even for “automatic” video editing. However, it is not as good as it sounds (read my review here). Instead, I recommend using regular GoPro Studio which comes in this package.
The reason, why I would still recommend this program to beginners, is that it is relatively easy to understand how the program works. You can learn the basics of video editing process which are pretty much the same in all programs. Check my video tutorials here if you need to learn it step-by-step.
I want to mention that you can edit also non-GoPro videos in GoPro Studio. But when I edited videos from my DSLR camera (Nikon), the audio part of the video was removed and the result was just a silent video.
What is Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is sophisticated software used even by professional filmmakers (including GoPro company). But you can use it efficiently for your home videos as well. You can edit your home movies much faster and work might be more pleasant. I wrote this blog post and shot a tutorial video (see below) to show you how.
I won’t show you any fancy features right now. Rather, I will compare the programs in basic work steps you must do every time you edit your videos. You will see how to get the video files from your camera to the program, how to organize the video clips in the timeline, how to work with audio etc.
However, it is not cheap which might be a significant factor for you (check the current price here). I recommend to try a free trial version for a month and decide if it is worth it for you.
I prepared this video to show you the 5 main reasons why I switched to Adobe Premiere Pro. You can learn also a few video editing tips and tricks from this video below:
Let’s check these reasons one by one and see more details.
1. Import Video Files to the Timeline
I performed a test with 40 small video files from my GoPro camera. These short video clips were only 10 – 20 seconds long. I would expect that importing these files to the video editing program should be fast.
In Adobe Premiere Pro, I just selected the files and dragged them directly to the timeline in the right bottom quadrant of the program. The whole process took me approximately 10 seconds.
It is just one-step task which is convenient.
GoPro Studio requires a lot more steps and time to complete the task. At first, I similarly dragged the video files to the program (left column) but this is just a beginning.
Then I had to convert all files to a different format required by GoPro Studio. I selected all the files (Ctrl + A) and then clicked ADD SELECTED TO CONVERSION LIST.
The files were added to the conversion list in the right column. It may take a while – in my case, it took 15 seconds to appear in the list.
Then I scrolled down and found the button CONVERT ALL.
This additional step of file conversion is annoying because it takes forever (7 minutes and 25 seconds!). You can shorten the time of the conversion by trimming the video clips in the first step. But there is additional time needed for viewing every single file and choosing the places where to make the cuts. On top of that, if you later need a few more seconds from the original video clip, you must go back and trim and convert this file again.
After the conversion was finished, I finally jumped into STEP 2 and dragged the desired files from the left column to the timeline.
This multiple step process is overly complicated and lengthy.
There is one more big con. Especially if you fight with lack of the space on your hard drive, this might be a significant factor for you. The conversion creates new video files which are often larger than original videos. This will eat up your HDD quickly.
2. Adjusting the Timeline and Work With the Cuts
When I have more than 20 cuts the work within the timeline in GoPro Studio becomes inconvenient and slow. The problem is that the timeline is too long. If I want to move quickly to different parts of my video I need to use a slider at the bottom of the program.
If I decide to move some cuts to a different part of the video, it becomes even more frustrating. I just drag the file and hold it on the side until it gets to the desired position. But this is extremely slow! Usually, I have several shots from multiple angles which create one scene altogether. But I can only move one video clip at a time and thus I need to repeat this slow step all over again with all the files.
Here comes one of the most significant advantages of Adobe Premiere Pro. I might use the similar slider at the bottom of the program. But I can adjust the length of the timeline, for example, make it shorter to see the whole timeline at the screen. This allows getting to different parts of the video faster. Personally, I love adjusting the timeline by keyboard buttons “+” and “-” (in the left letter part), instead of clicking on the slider by mouse. This is much faster.
Next comes changing the order of the video clips in the timeline.
3. Multiple Channels (Priority Sorting)
Let’s check another feature I use every time I edit any of my videos.
I usually go quickly through all my raw clips and select only the best shots which will most likely end up in my final video. For that purpose, I find very useful multiple channels (lines) in the timeline.
Each line serves as an additional space for video clips. I use the top line for the clips with the highest priority (the best shots). Then I put all the clips with lower priority to the second line. This line serves for the clips which are great too and might appear in my final home video but aren’t the best. I leave all other clips in the third line (original location).
Then I can select all the clips in one line and put them easily together. I usually move them at the end of the timeline and delete the spaces between them. Then I am done with choosing and compiling the clips together for the final video. This is the most time-consuming part of video editing for me. Having this option to organize and quickly put clips together saves me a lot of time.
Using the channels for “priority sorting” isn’t any strict way how to edit videos but rather my style. I actually learned this from my favorite filmmaker Devin Supertramp. I adopted this style of video editing because it suits me the most.
There is another option how to use this additional space in channels. Imagine you have shots from multiple angles and you want to alternate between them in your final video. Put video clip captured from one angle to the first line and another video from a different angle to the second line. Then just cut out unwanted parts and alternate between desired parts of the video clips.
You can have as many channels (lines) as you wish – just drag any video to the top and new line will appear.
Unfortunately, GoPro Studio doesn’t allow any of above. There is just one video channel which makes organizing practically impossible. I was always frustrated that I must go back and forth through the long timeline to find desired clips and put them together.
Now I am going to show you the work with audio in both programs.
I like that Adobe Premiere Pro allows to separate image and audio part of the video clip.
This is useful for voice-overs, b-rolls etc. What does it mean? Imagine that you have a shot of your grandma telling a story. At a certain point, you want to let her speak (leave an audio part as it is) but switch image part from another video reflecting her story.
It’s easy to do this in Premiere Pro. At first, separate image and audio part – click on the video clip in the timeline, then right click and select Unlink. Then cut out the image part you don’t need – drag the end of the clip to the desired position. Take image part from another clip and drag it to the place of deleted clip. Voila, you have just added a b-roll. This makes the video richer and more engaging for the viewer.
Let’s see how to add b-rolls in GoPro Studio. Unfortunately, it is not possible to separate the image and audio part of the video clip. If you really need to add a b-roll to your video you must use some other program which pulls the audio part from the original video. Then switch off the sound of the clip in the GoPro Studio timeline. Import audio file and drag it from the left column to the timeline (the blue line under the video clip).
Then you can add another silent video above the audio part. This is a pain, I tried to avoid adding b-rolls in GoPro Studio.
Another advantage when working with audio in Adobe Premiere Pro is visible “waves” at the audio channel in the timeline.
I find it useful when going quickly through the timeline and looking for the exact place for a cut. For example, I know exactly when somebody starts to talk even though I cannot see his face in the video. I can make the cut precisely just before the person starts to talk according to the sound wave. This allows to make these cuts faster. There is no need to playback the video at a regular speed and listening to the audio.
GoPro Studio doesn’t have such feature at all. This means I have to playback the video at a regular speed and listen carefully when the person starts to talk. Then go back and forth in the timeline to make the cut precisely. This is time-consuming.
5. Program Stability
GoPro Studio is not suitable for longer videos than 2 – 3 minutes. Actually, there is no limitation. But the program crashed frequently when working on larger projects. GoPro Studio sometimes even damages the file where the video is saved. I was very frustrated with this issue because I poured my heart into the projects and then lost it…
If this happens you might be able to get it back partially. Look for autosave file in the same folder. If this doesn’t work you can find all converted videos (conversion mentioned in reason #1 above). Then import these files directly to the STEP 2. However, this means you lose everything that was previously done in STEP 2. I also frequently made another saved copy of the file to prevent this huge loss.
I use Adobe Premiere Pro for six months very frequently. So far I have experienced only one crash of the program. I must mention that I created much larger projects (over half an hour videos) and it worked fine. This keeps my sanity and, again, save a ton of time.
Is it Worth it for YOU?
Let’s summarize it all. As you probably noticed, I am happy that I can edit my videos faster and more efficiently. For me, the change was worth it every penny.
But what about you? Does the higher price outweigh the advantages? Adobe Premiere Pro doesn’t have to be the best choice for everybody. Especially, if you are on a tight budget and do not plan to edit your videos more than just a couple times a year. Also, if you work only on very short videos you might want to stay with the free program.
If you have watched my video above you can learn both of the programs fast. I am currently working on another video editing tutorials. If you are interested please subscribe to our blog and also to our YouTube channel.
Thanks for reading and watching! Please let me know in comments below what program do you use and what do you like or don’t like about it!
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