I'm sure that more than 50% of Lightroom users do not know about Lightroom video editing. By paying for a photo editing program, you also get a simple video editor. Today I will tell you how to edit video in Lightroom and why it can’t replace basic video editing programs.
With the Lightroom 4 release, it became possible to work with video – from video cropping, color grading to adding effects. Video editing in Lightroom is a bit different than editing photos. But if you're already familiar with the program, Lightroom video editing will be no harder than working with images.
Please, mind that Lightroom video editing is only a small addition but not a full-fledged function! For more or less convenient work with videos, you will need to follow some tricks as well as stand small bugs and constant downloading even watching a RAW video.
Lightroom carefully hides its video montage capabilities. I have been working in this program for a long time and I thought that the answer to the question “Can you edit video in Lightroom?” was negative. However, it wasn’t true when I mistakenly imported photos together with the videos into Lightroom. That’s how I discovered the program’s hidden video editing features.
Lightroom is popular as the best program for image color correction, but you may use some of these functions in Lightroom for video color correction as well.
Press the video clip and then press “D” on the keyboard to go to the Develop module. In the central area of a preview, you will see the message “Lightroom Video is not supported in Develop”. But don’t worry, just press “G” to return to the Grid view of the Library module, and then look at the right area of the panels. Do you see the controls on the Quick Develop panel? Absolutely right, you may use them for Lightroom video editing.
To apply a setting, double-click on the video clip, then click the settings button three or four times. The action doesn’t just affect the thumbnail, it is applied to the entire video.
You have already noticed that many of the controls aren’t there, so you can’t use all the tools in the Quick Develop panel for your video. For instance, you can’t apply Clarity or use the Highlights and Shadows controls. So, you may apply such adjustments in Lightroom for videos as changing the white balance, increasing or decreasing the brightness of the entire video clip using Exposure or Vibrance controls. But I am sure that there are still a lot of things you would like to do that are only available in the Develop module.
We have learned before that that the Develop module doesn’t support video, right? So what should we do? We will resort to tricks within the program itself. There is a wonderful workaround that allows you to use more (though not all) controls of the Develop module.
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It involves taking a single frame out of the video, processing it in the Develop module, adjusting it there by dint of all means, from the Tone Curve panel to the HSL. When these corrections are applied, the same editing techniques are applied to the entire video in real time.
So, let's try out this method to edit videos in Lightroom: Click the Reset All button at the bottom of the Quick Develop panel, then capture a frame somewhere in the video. After that, when the JPEG image appears at the bottom, in the Filmstrip panel next to the video clip, press D to go to the Develop module.
Now use Lightroom Auto Sync function. It applies any effects, already applied to one image, to all other selected images (and even to the video clips, as in our case).
Remember that all the edits you make here are “non-destructive”. So if you apply these effects to a video and then decide that you don’t like them, you may remove all these effects by clicking the Reset All button at the bottom of the Quick Develop panel.
What to do if you have made nice video color correction and think you could use it again in another video clip? Save it as a preset, and then you may apply it with a single click on the Quick Develop panel in the Library module. To save Lightroom video presets, you need:
STEP 1. Go to the Presets panel (in the left area of the Develop module panels and click the “+” button at the right end of the panel header).
STEP 2. When the New Develop Preset dialog box appears, first click the Check None button, then check the boxes for the adjustments you have just made.
STEP 3. Give the preset a descriptive name and click Create.
Now you have a preset, you may use it directly from the Library module. Just select your video, then click Saved Preset on the Quick Develop panel. After that, go to the list of User Presets and look for the preset you have just saved.
Yes, Lightroom won’t give you the possibility to work with video and audio as Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas Pro do. But the program will allow you to make small changes, which will be enough in 70% of cases of video editing. Why is it convenient? Because you can use Lightroom for videos and photos at the same time, without changing the program and having to get used to the new interface.
One more interesting feature while editing video in Lightroom is to take a single frame out of the video and turn it into a still image. It may be done in the same way as in the previous step. Find the part of the video that contains the still image, then click the Frame button, but this time choose Capture Frame.
This will create a second file (a JPEG image file, exactly the same as any other snapshot) and place it in the Filmstrip panel to the right of the video clip. The possibility to create a "snapshot" of a still frame is really important because this technique will be used to apply effects to video clips.
If you need to edit video in Lightroom, namely crop it (in case you need to slightly cut edges or trim it in such a way that it starts after a few seconds), you may click the Trim Video button. It is a small gear icon on the right end of the control panel. There are two ways of cropping videos in Lightroom:
The first way is to simply click the marker on each end of the video clip (in the form of two small vertical lines II) and drag them inside by cropping the clip.
The second way is to start the video by pressing the spacebar. Then, when you reach the point where you actually want to start the video, press the Shift+ I shortcut. It sets the starting point of the clip. When you reach the point where you want to end the clip, press Shift+O, which sets the end point of the clip.
Both ways (dragging markers and using keyboard shortcuts) do the same thing, so choose the one that suits you best.
It is very important to know the following about cropping video clips: being non-destructive, it doesn’t crop the video leaving the original protected. Cropping is applied to the copy when you export the file. So, although the exported video will be cropped, you may go back to the original video clip at any time.
To view a video clip, double-click on it and it will be opened in the Loupe view. To play the video, click the Play button in the control panel below the video or simply press the spacebar on the keyboard to start/stop the video.
If, instead, you want to go through the video (simulating fast-forward or rewind), you can simply drag the slider to the control panel. When you play a video clip, both video and sound are played. But there is no volume control in Lightroom CC, so you have to control the volume using your computer.
Have you ever watched a YouTube video uploaded by your friends on the thumbnail of which they are depicted with a strange facial expression? This is because the thumbnail is selected as a random frame of the clip, captured at some time from the beginning of the video.
If the first frame is selected and the video appears from the darkening, the thumbnail will be just black, not identifying the clip at all. So, in Adobe Lightroom video you can choose the frame for this thumbnail.
The possibility to select a poster frame is especially useful if you have four or five similar clips. You can choose the frame that is most characteristic of all the clips. This poster frame will be visible in the clip not only in Lightroom but will remain in the clip even when it is exported outside the software.
To select the poster frame, firstly, find the section of the video with a suitable frame. Then go to the control panel, click and hold the Frame button (a small icon in the shape of a rectangle to the left of the Trim Video button in the form of gear). In the pop-up menu, select Set Poster Frame and a thumbnail of the video will look the same as the poster frame.
Importing a video into Lightroom is the same as with photos. But you will know for sure that it is a video, because you will see the video camera icon in the lower left corner of its thumbnail, when it is in the import window. Lightroom supports most of the main video camera formats, and your video clips are likely to be imported without problems.
Once the video is in Lightroom, you may do whatever you normally do with the image, for instance, place it in the collection, add checkboxes, metadata, etc. When Lightroom video is imported, the small camera icon disappears. Instead, the video timeline is displayed in the lower left corner of the thumbnail.
You can quickly “go through” Lightroom videos to view their content by moving the cursor directly over the thumbnail to the left or right, very similar to how it works in Final Cut Pro X. Although you don't see all the video frames, this technique allows you to evaluate the content of the video and quickly select a clip from two or three similar clips.
Let’s say, for instance, you have some short clips with newlyweds going to cut their wedding cake. To find the one where they just started cutting (and the cake hasn't lost its aesthetic appearance yet), you can quickly move the cursor over each clip and find the one you want, without opening the video.
After you’ve got the desired video, you will probably want to save it. Although you won’t be able to send the video directly from Lightroom via email, you can send the video to Facebook or Flickr using Export. To do this:
STEP 1. Select the video clip you want to export.
STEP 2. Then click the Export button at the bottom of the left panel area.
STEP 3. In the Export dialog box, if you scroll it down a bit, you can see the area related to the video export.
STEP 4. The checkbox in the Include Video Files window should be set by itself, so you have to make a simple choice of two parameters – Video Format and Compression Ratio.
STEP 5. Select the format. I use H.264, as it is a widely supported format which compresses the file without losing much of visual quality.
STEP 6. Next, select the compression ratio. It depends on the selected Quality settings. The higher it is, the lower the compression ratio and the quality of the video itself.
STEP 7. Click Export.
Using Lightroom for video, a great variety of settings won’t be available. Still, for most situations, the offered functions will be enough. But note that the audio settings are absent, so you have to work with them in another program. This is one of the reasons why, as Lightroom video editing app, this software isn’t so popular.
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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.