Video Editing

After you’ve ready Course 4: Getting The Right Shots and completed your first shoot it is time for post-production.

To deliver top-quality video/images, you will most likely have to do a good amount of post-flight editing. Drones already take high quality footage, but in most cases drone photographers will do at least basic editing for their clients.

Your footage may come in a variety of file formats, which can typically be controlled via a setting on your drone. Recording in the highest definition will allow you to produce the best quality work even if you scale down the resolution later.

Learn the techniques then the software
The basic techniques in editing can be applied to images and videos using any of the major video editing programs including GoPro Studio, Adobe Premiere, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and Adobe Photoshop.

Basic Techniques

Basic Techniques

All of the major video editing programs have a similar workflow. You will import an image or video, cut and crop it down, edit it, add it to a timeline, and export. Most of the terms are self explanatory. However, if you know what the techniques are, they are easy to apply using any program.


Changes the length of your video to cut it into segments. Most of the time, the final video will be a compilation of edited clips and occasionally will also include still images.


Cropping adjusts the viewable dimensions of the video or image.


All video editing programs will have some type of timeline. Most of the time, you are able to drag images and videos onto the timeline and arrange them in the order you would like them to play in.

Save & Export

When you export your project you are creating a finalized file that can be sent to the client. It is important to also save your master project file in case you want to go back and make edits.

Advanced Techniques


When you switch from one video clip or image to another it might be a good idea to add a transition effect like fading or sliding. Misusing effects can make your work look unprofessional, but when used correctly transition effects can make a video more enjoyable to watch.


Speed control is a very common effect used in aerial photography. Good editors speed up some parts and slow down others to emphasize focal points of the footage.


Using tools in advanced programs, it is possible to remove unwanted objects that distract from the focus of the shot such as power lines or people. This can be a hard technique to get the hang of but valuable once you get it down.

Frame Rate

Frame rate is measured in frames per second (fps). Increasing the frame rate will make your video smoother but some people do prefer to use lower settings claiming that it adds a “cinematic” effect to their footage.

Adjust Highlights And Shadows

The highlights and shadows controls will allow you to tone down areas that are too bright and bring out areas that are too dark. Used correctly, these settings can add a lot of detail to your footage.

Clarity & Vibrance

Clarity can add or remove sharpness to your image or video and vibrancy controls the color intensity. Raising these values can add texture and definition.


Exposure controls how bright or dark your image is. There is a difference between correct exposure that makes the footage look exactly like it did in person and artistic exposure. Lowering exposure can help preserve shadow detail that gets lost when the camera compensates for the bright sky. Try making small adjustments and pick what looks best to you.


Contrast controls the color range of your footage. An image with low contrast won’t show a lot of difference between its lights and darks, while an image with high contrast shows strong bold colors.

Removing Chromatic Aberration

Also referred to as “color-fringing”, chromatic aberration is what causes the subtle purple hues you get between dark and light areas of an image or video. Advanced editing software will allow you to remove this with the click of a button.

Setting White And Black Points

White and black points tell the software exactly what it should consider black and white. Properly adjusting this setting will give your footage more depth and can reveal details that were lost in too much light or dark.


Short for International Standards Organization, ISO settings will allow you to adjust light sensitivity. Use low ISO (100) whenever possible and raise it only if the footage contains a dark scene. When ISO is too high images can appear grainy or “noisy”.

Lens Profile Corrections

Often, drone cameras come equipped with a fisheye lense that allows them to capture a wide perspective. An image taken with a fisheye lense will look distorted almost as if you were viewing it through a bubble. Most video editing softwares have built in correction algorithms that completely remove the distortion.


Recommended Programs

GoPro Studio
Adobe Premiere
Adobe Photoshop
Windows Movie Maker

GoPro Studio

  • Free
  • Easily create engaging GoPro-style videos—trim, edit and mix video clips, plus add titles, music and audio tracks
  • Fisheye adjustment control
  • Slow-motion and fast-motion speed changes
  • Export video still frames at full resolution
  • Supports GoPro, Canon®, Nikon® and other constant frame rate H.264 mp4 and .mov4 formats

GoPro Studio Website

Adobe Premiere

  • $15.99+/month
  • Extensive set of editing features
  • Includes nearly all image and video file formats including 4k and raw formats
  • Integrates with other Adobe programs
  • Advanced color control

Adobe Premiere Website

Adobe Photoshop

  • Complex selections made easy
  • Content-Aware Fill
  • Puppet Warp
  • HDR Imaging
  • Painting effects
  • Automatic lens correction
  • Adjustments panel
  • Masks panel
  • Enhanced auto-alignment of layers

Adobe Photoshop Website


  • clip trimmer
  • precision editor
  • Color balance
  • Color correction
  • Crop

iMovie Website

Windows Movie Maker

  • Combining Clips
  • Transitioning Clips
  • Trimming Clips
  • Direct Camcorder Capture
  • Drag and Drop
  • HD Support
  • Speed Change
  • Video Transitions
  • Audio Transitions
  • Video Transitions
  • Visual Effects

Windows Movie Maker Website