How to Edit Videos in Lightroom - Digital Darkroom Academy

How to Edit Videos in Lightroom

Even though we’re all photography enthusiasts here, one time or another you might have taken a small video clip from your camera as well during your shoot. You’re already going to edit these photos, but have you ever thought if you can edit videos in Lightroom too?

The basic video editing software we have on our system doesn’t offer the kind of liberty we need, and professional video editing software demands time to learn and money to purchase. Is it really worth the hassle for a few short clips taken spontaneously?

If you’ve ever tried to Import files into Lightroom from the File option, you would have noticed Import Photos and Video as one of the options. You’ll notice that it mentions Video as well!

import video in lightroom

Edit Videos in Lightroom

The image above should be hint enough that can work with and edit videos in Lightroom. If you know your way around it, you can do quite a few things with video. You can:

  • trim videos
  • apply color adjustments
  • even combine videos together
  • make multiple clips from a single video
  • export them

In this post, let’s go over how you can go about doing each one of the above.

1. Trim Video Clips

One of the most important things we need to do when editing any video: Trimming.

More often than not, there are a few seconds in the beginning of the video or the end, or even in the middle, that we could really do without. Lightroom doesn’t leave you hanging here either!

Here’s how you can trim your video:

Step 1: Open Loupe View

If you’re in Grid View, select your video clip and double-click on it to open Loupe View. You can also do it, either by pressing the E key, or by clicking the Loupe View on the toolbar below. Most of your screen will be occupied by the video and you’ll see that little progress bar I mentioned.

edit videos in lightroom

Step 2: Enable Frame by Frame View

Click on the little gear icon at the far right.

edit videos in lightroom

This will modify your progress bar to include frame by frame images of the video.

edit videos in lightroom

Voila!

If you want to see more frames, you can stretch your viewer wider by clicking the edge and dragging it outwards.

edit videos in lightroom

Step 3: Trimming

At the edges of the frames you’ll notice the trim handles.

edit videos in lightroom

These are the bad boys we were coming for!

Have a good look at your video and decide which bits you want to cut out from it. Then, move these handles inwards. You’ve now got new In (start) and Out (end) points!

You can see below that the darkened frames are the ones which have been trimmed.

edit videos in lightroom

To make the trimming process smoother, you can stop the Playback Position bar where you want the new In or Out point, and then drag the trimming handle towards it. It’ll automatically snap to the Playback Position and you’ll get your new In or Out point exactly where you want it.

Now, every time you hit that play Play button, Lightroom won’t play the trimmed part. It’ll only play the few seconds you like to keep seeing. In fact, even on the filmstrip you’ll notice the duration of the video will have shrunk.

This doesn’t mean the original video has been trimmed. You can easily move the handles back and forth over different positions if you ever change your mind. The trimming simply narrows it down to the part which you want to keep. This way, the Playback Position only moves within the In and Out points you’ve set and the exported clip will only have the clips within the In and Out boundary.

Quick Tip: If you only want to view your videos, you can do so by selecting the Video Files Smart Collection, under Smart Collections, in the Collections Panel on the left-hand side. For quicker access, you can just type ‘video’ to look for it.

edit videos in lightroom

2. Apply Color Adjustments

There are three different ways you can go about it when it comes to color adjustment:

  • Quick Develop
  • Capture Frame
  • Apply Presets

i. Quick Develop

With the Quick Develop panel you can work with things you already know; like Tone adjustments, Tint & Temperature etc.

edit videos in lightroom

When you expand any panel by clicking on the arrowhead beside it, you’ll get other options you can tweak. Notice that controls which cannot be applied to a video are dimmed. There are limitations to video editing in Lightroom and here is your first glimpse of it on your work board.

edit videos in lightroom

You can adjust the available controls to your liking and see the effect on your video clip like you normally would with any photo.

Reset

If you’re unsatisfied with the what’s happening, you can take everything back to its original settings by right clicking on the video and choosing Develop Setting, and then Reset.

edit videos in lightroom

ii. Capture Frame

This method of editing offers a freer hand as compared to Quick Develop. For this method, we need to move to the Develop module.

But trying to view a video in the Develop Module will you get you a “Video is not supported in Develop” message on screen instead of what you wanted to see.

edit videos in lightroom

Of course, there is a way to work around it.

meme image

The idea is that you will apply the adjustments to an image captured from the video, and then copy them to the video clip. An image from the video is important because they will need the same treatment.

Step 1: Capture Frame

To be able to use the Develop Settings you first need an image from the video clip.

Move the Playback Position slider to whichever frame you want to capture as an image. Then, click on the rectangular icon at the right side of the progress bar. You’ll get a dropdown with the option ‘Capture Frame’. Of course, you need to click it.

edit videos in lightroom

Fun fact: An interesting fact about ‘Capture Frame’ is that it makes a photo out of the image you’ve captured, so you can even pull out ‘photographs’ from any video clip. You can see all the metadata you would typically expect to see from a photograph, and even metadata that Lightroom is unable to show of the video you took it from.

Set Poster Frame: If you’re not pleased with the display image of your video (which is the first frame of the video), you can also change that by pressing this option. Simply drag the Playback Position slider on the frame you want as the display image and then select ‘Set Poster Frame’.

Step 2: Make Adjustments on the Captured Frame

After you’ve captured a frame, it’ll appear on the timeline below.

edit videos in lightroom

Select the image and head over to the Develop module. You have everything at your disposal now.

While you can carry over much of the color treatments, there are a few things which will not apply to the video (like clarity, highlights, etc).

Adjustments which CAN apply to the video include Auto Settings, White Balance, Basic Tone (Exposure, Contrast, Whites, Blacks, Saturation and Vibrance), Tone Curve, Treatment, Split Toning, Process Version and Calibration.

Step 3: Sync

To apply the same adjustments to the video clip, select the photo on the filmstrip, press the Shift key, and then click the video you want to apply it to.

edit videos in lightroom
You’ll know you’re doing it right when both thumbnails are highlighted.

On the far right, you’ll see the ‘Sync’ button.

sync edited videos
Hello, my old friend…

When you click it, you’ll get the Synchronize Settings dialogue box.

sync image editing to video

Simply click Check All and then Synchronize. Notice the dimmed options. Those are attributes which cannot be synced with the video.

iii. Apply Presets

Presets are there to make things quick and easy. If you’ve ever explored them before, you might remember that Lightroom even offers a few presets for videos.

Normally, we apply these presets in the Develop module and these are rightfully called Develop Presets. But, as we’ve seen above, the Develop module does not support video, so we will have to work with these in the Library module. Over there, you can find them in the Quick Develop tab under Saved Preset.

using presets to edit videos in lightroom

They might not offer the exact look you’re going for, but they offer the freedom for you to tweak them until you’re satisfied. You can experiment with any preset your have in your library, the ones that come with Lightroom or any that you may have purchased online.

One thing to keep in mind is that adjustments which can be applied to videos are limited as compared to those which can be applied to photos. So some adjustments within Presets might not show when applied to a video. Lightroom makes sure you get the message when you’re using Presets on any video:

edit videos in lightroom

3. Combine Multiple Videos

Lightroom definitely cannot replace a video editing software, but it definitely does give you a lot to work with. You can, in fact combine multiple videos right from within Lightroom. Pretty cool, eh?

So, after you’ve made all the possible adjustments and corrections to the videos you wanted, you should move on to the Slideshow module.

Step 1: Selecting Videos

On the filmstrip, select the videos you want. If they’re lined up together you can select them all with the Shift key. If there are images or videos on the filmstrip which you do not want, press the ‘Ctrl’ key and start selecting the videos you want.

combine multiple videos in lightroom
Selected videos will get highlighted.

Step 2: Change Toolbar Options

On the toolbar, in the Use option, click the All Filmstrip Photos and change it to Selected Photos.

edit videos in lightroom

This way, only those video which you’ve selected will make it to the final video.

Step 3: Crop

On the right side panel, in Options, check the Zoom to Fill Frame. This ensures that all your videos fit the screen ratio and no unneeded borders appear.

crop video in lightroom

You can do the same thing from the left-side panel called Template Browser. Go under Lightroom Templates and select Crop to Fill.

crop video in lightroom

If you’re using videos (and images) of different dimensions, it’s wise to adjust them to a similar ratio so that the final video doesn’t look like a mess different sized clips.

Step 4: Turn Off Overlays

On the right-hand side panels, turn off any overlays that might be turned on by default, like Text Overlays. Basically, uncheck any of the boxes selected by default which might create unwanted overlays over your final video.

Show Guides and Ending Screen are also checked by default. You can turn them off if you wish but they don’t effect the video output.

Step 5: Preview

To see what your combination of videos looks like, click the preview button at the bottom right.

edit videos in lightroom

It’s wise to have a look at it before you export.

Step 6: Export

When you’re ready to export it, go to the Slideshow menu on the top menu bar and select Export Video Slideshow.

edit videos in lightroom

4. Make Multiple Clips from a Single Video Clip

Unfortunately, with one video file you can only trim out one part. So if you’re making a video compilation and need different parts from a single video file, this is how you’re going to go about it.

Select Photo from the options on the top, and then Create Virtual Copy.

edit videos in lightroom

A virtual copy is similar to ‘copy and paste’, except, it doesn’t exactly create a real second video on your disk. The copy only exists inside Lightroom. On this copy, you can change the In and Out points to select any other part you wanted to trim and use.

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5. Export Videos

To export your video, head over to the Library module. Select your video and then click on the Export button on the left-hand side. You’ll find it sitting innocently next to the Import button. Please note that this export will only export individual clips of the videos you have selected. To export a video you have combined in the Slideshow module, take a look above.

edit videos in lightroom

You can also get to the Export dialog from the File menu. Select File and then Export.

edit videos in lightroom

The Export dialog will open. The video panel is pretty straight forward. You can choose different video quality settings (Low, Medium, High, Max) and video formats.

export video

Alternatively, you can also render videos from the Publish Services panel on the left hand side in the Library module. This way you can export videos readily for Facebook, Instagram or any other social networking accounts you’ve linked to.

Conclusion

Now you know how simple it is to edit videos in Lightoom!

While we’ve managed to get some color treatment done and trimmed some things here and there, Lightroom is severely limited in its video editing features as compared to other video editing software. Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn’t have any options to work on audio. This is something you might have to use simple editing software for, after you’ve exported your video from Lightroom.

In conclusion, it’s perfect for people who do video as a hobby, for videos of family and friends, and are not looking into becoming a pro video editor!

Shajee Aijazi

Shajee Aijazi is the founder of Digital Darkroom Academy. He helps people speed up their post-processing workflow and organize their photos in a way that they don't have to waste time managing it and they can focus on creating great looking images.

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