Tom David Frey
What's The Best Drone Video Editing Software?
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Here, we're going to walk you through some of the best video editing programs on the market right now and what they have to offer drone enthusiasts. Let's get started!
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe released the first version of Adobe Premiere in 1991, one of the first to offer nonlinear editing software. It's remained a leader in the industry ever since!
Adobe Premiere Pro is a popular timeline-based video editing software that sets the standard every other software tries to match. It can handle nearly any type of video format you throw at it--they even added source footage editing and better multicamera functionality. 4K is the standard since a long time already.
For drone users, this is a huge deal. You can save countless hours of editing and cut seamlessly from ground to aerial footage and back again. LUTs grading makes your footage look outstanding without the need of being a pro in color grading.
You can add endless video and audio lanes, overlap them, add effects and so much more. Writing a list with functions would be many pages long.
It also transfers video footage easily between other Adobe software (like After Effects), and unlike its closest competitor, Final Cut, it's compatible with Windows and Macs equally.
At $19.99 per month, we'd say that's a worthwhile investment.
Final Cut Pro
Adobe's nearest competition is Apple's Final Cut Pro, the biggest downside being that it's designed solely for use on Macs.
That said, it's a pretty solid software for Mac users, especially if you're looking to edit drone footage.
It offers a range of features designed to make the software as intuitive as possible, including a magnetic timeline that allows you to color-code clips and overlap video lanes for complex editing.
It also offers sophisticated color correction with multichannel video and audio editing, allowing you to mix several frame sizes, frame rates, and formats into a single project.
And if you want to share your footage with the world? Final Cut allows you to upload your final film directly to various social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube.
It's slightly more expensive than Adobe for the first year ($299.99 in one swoop, or about $24.99 per month) but once you own it, it's yours, which is a definite benefit over Adobe.
Let's say the price is a sticking point for you. What's a thrifty drone-lover to do when they've got raw footage to edit?
DaVinci Resolve is a pretty solid choice. You can get the standard software for free, and if you want more advanced studio features, you can pay $299 for the complete software.
It stands strong alongside paid programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut. In fact, it has certain benefits that many programs lack.
For example, DaVinci's curve editing capabilities are hard to beat, a definite boon for those looking to edit drone footage. It's also frequently praised for top-of-the-line primary and secondary color correction.
But the real pièce de résistance for DaVinci is its audio mixing. It can handle up to 1000 tracks of audio at once, along with equalization and dynamic control.
The biggest downside of DaVinci for drone video editors is that it can't process certain file formats, even in the studio version, which can be a problem if your drone only uses a specific file format.
Another free option, GoPro Studio is, as you might guess, designed to work with GoPro products. This makes it a good option if you use a drone with a GoPro camera or similar action camera.
GoPro Studio is a great choice for beginner videographers, particularly with drag-and-drop options and ample tutorials. It's a thoroughly simple program that will help you establish a rapid learning curve.
However, that simplicity will frustrate more advanced users, as the program has certain limitations to make it more beginner-friendly (you can't edit audio, for example).
Lightworks is a highly underrated program, well worth checking out.
The software gives a clear impression that its designers know every video editor works differently, and that shows through in the program. Unlike most other programs which have a preset editing window, Lightworks has a series of free-floating windows that can be easily accessed or dismissed.
This makes Lightworks extremely customizable, so you can use the features you want, when you want them, in a layout that makes sense to you.
It's also one of the most compatible options on the market, as it works well with all three major operating systems.
However, all that functionality does come at a price. It's available as a free download or via subscription ($24.99 a month) like Adobe, which can make it one of the pricier options on the market.
Magix Movie Edit Pro
Finally, there's Magix Movie Edit Pro. I learned editing using this software. And I really enjoyed it!
It's a comprehensive media suite that can make even an amateur feel like a professional videographer.
If you want a video editing software that rises above and beyond the call of video editing, Magix Movie Edit Pro offers just that.
Basically, it allows you to create, edit, stream, organize and playback all kinds of media. This new version provides 1.500 effects, installed soundtracks, and 25 editing templates alongside the normal timeline based editor.
As software goes, it's relatively beginner-friendly. It's also budget-friendly, retailing for around $70 on Amazon.
Keep in mind, though, that it won't give you the high-level functionality of programs like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut, but if you need somewhere to start, it's a program that won't break the bank.