Learning to Edit Video

Elation Explorer, as a daily experiment in trying new things, has also been a forcing function for learning new ways of sharing these activities with you. I’ve admittedly been procrastinating learning how to edit videos and have held out until now. In order to share this past weekend’s Catalina experiences, I dedicated a great deal of Monday AND Tuesday to digging into GoPro video editing software.

All combined, I had about an hour and a half of raw video to whittle down into something consumable. This was going to take a lot of patience and focus.

The first hurdle was determining which software to use. I downloaded GoPro Quik, which looked to be the easiest and swiftest tool. For whatever reason, the software would not recognize the files or the GoPro connected to the computer. That took about thirty minutes of troubleshooting. Once I waited the hour or so for the videos to upload, I realized that my 8-year old Mac is too slow to watch 4k smoothly — let alone edit it properly. Alright, let’s try this again.

I did a little more research and finally downloaded GoPro Studio, which required my re-uploading the video files into that program and then converting them into lower quality files. This conversion process took another four hours. (Thankfully I could spend that time post-processing photos from the same trip.)

Once I had non-choppy video to work with, it took me a while to figure out how to trim and stitch clips together. The tab “View & Trim” allowed me to do just that, but when I moved to the next tab “Edit”…all that work disappeared. So after a few failed attempts, I decided to work solely in the “Edit” tab screen.

My first nine-minute video took about an hour to complete and I was not messing with any of the fancy buttons on the right like I do when I post-process photos. This was going to be a down and dirty compilation of our Aerial Adventure. Then I went to export the edited file and realized it would be another three-plus hours wait. (You’ve got to be kidding me!)

I was also trying to be efficient, so I had uploaded ALL clips from the GoPro into the same project. This meant that I couldn’t start editing a new video without opening a new project and re-uploading video files again. I didn’t want to wait on that, and the alternative was deleting my current edited work and dragging files over from the other adventures.

I was too afraid that something would go wrong with the export after all my hard work on stitching clips together, that I didn’t dare delete my work to start building the next video yet. So I waited…and waited…and waited some more.

Once I had a final exported video, I opened Safari to upload it onto YouTube in the hopes to embed the video link and not take up valuable storage space in my WordPress account. The internet gods must have been asleep because my browser kept saying “YouTube.com not found.” (This seems to be a fairly regular bug in Safari as it happens quite frequently.) After about 15 minutes of trying to backdoor my way to YouTube, which is usually how I bypass this bug, I finally called it. I was tired and frustrated.

So, at about 11 PM on Monday, I went to bed. This post is going to be a day-late and more than a dollar short. (Such is how life goes sometimes when you’re learning something new. You learn the most through mistakes and failures. What matters is accepting and getting back at it when refreshed.)

Bright and early Tuesday morning, I was able to upload the Aerial Adventure to YouTube (which opened – YAY!) in about fifteen minutes. The second video for the Zip Line Eco Tour took about 45 minutes to edit together for a final two-minute video. Recognizing how long it takes to export, I started exporting and then took the dog for his morning potty walk. Upon our return, we had another 45 minutes wait until I had a final file. That upload to YouTube took about five minutes. I was on a roll by 9 AM!

The final video to edit would be our scuba adventure. That was 50 minutes of raw footage. Another lesson I learned was to find a way to tape back the red filter cap’s string the next time we go diving. Without realizing it, most of the footage captured had the dang string in front of the lens. Maybe next time I’ll risk losing the filter cap over tying it to the camera.

While not the smoothest of transitions from clip to clip (mostly due to the camera operator — me — not holding it steady while diving), I managed to get a thirteen-minute final scuba video created after another hour or so of editing. What I couldn’t figure out was how to individually adjust the exposure for each clip. At deeper ocean depths, I needed to increase the exposure to make images out. At shallow depths, it’s now over-exposed. Every clip I adjusted to that clip’s video, yet when I began to export it adjusted the whole final file to the final setting I used on the last clip. Oh well…good enough to give folks an idea of what our scuba dive experience was.

It’s 11 AM and that video’s export is still at only 25% after an hour. I can only imagine how lengthy and detailed a process this is for the professionals, who do this for a living. I admire your patience and tenacity! At least I can walk away and get other things done while it does its thing.

Like anything else, the more I use GoPro Studio, the more adept I will become at it. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll explore some of the other imaging and framing post-processing features. For now, I am comfortable with the basics of stitching frames together.

You can find all these videos at: 3-Day Catalina Weekend

If you have any video editing (or capturing) tips for me, please leave them in the comments! Thanks in advance 🙂


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