How to edit videos in Lightroom

By Chris Malinao

FIG-1. Color grading videos can also be done in Lightroom. As can exposure and white balance adjustments and practically any global edit that you can do with any other photo in Lightroom. Yes, it’s limited, but if you’re confused with Premiere Pro or Final Cut, this one works! Photo shows puso-making in the Dumaguete market.

Let's do videos again in Lightroom, this time editing them in the application. The last time, we learned how to make videos in Lightroom, how to import videos and incorporate them into a slideshow that we can save as MP4 movie. We learned how to use Lightroom's video controller, how to play the frames and set start and end points, and how to create several splices or cuts from a single source video, and even added music to the overall video.

What we shall learn today is how to edit our videos to get the desired look and feel in terms of exposure and color corrections, just like how we edit our photos in Lightroom. In short, image enhancements.

How do we edit for exposure corrections? How do we control color? Can we color grade videos in Lightroom?

We can do these things, here's how:

FIG-2. The video control panel in Lightroom. It’s minimalist, simple, and elegant – even if it’s limited. But it works!
  1. Let’s deal with one video, import it into Lightroom and create a collection for it.
  2. Double-click on the video to call up the Lightroom video controller if it’s not appearing already.
  3. Click the gear icon at lower right to show the frames. Click several times on that gear icon just for you to see what’s happening. You want to see the frames.
  4. If you want to trim your video, set its Start and End points by pressing Shift + I and Shift + O, respectively, while the video is in play. Click on Trim Video to commit the cut, then create a virtual copy of it.
  5. Run through several frames to select one that you will develop. Clicking on the back and forward buttons will let you see frame-by-frame.
  6. Once you see a frame you like, click Capture Frame at lower right, that rectangle next to the gear icon.
  7. Go to Grid View (G) and find the frame that you captured. Select and bring this to the Develop (D) module and apply your edits as you would with any photo in Lightroom, adjusting exposure, contrast, color, and any other global adjustment that you want.
  8. Whatever edits you did on this captured frame are listed on the history panel in the Develop module. You want to save these steps as a preset that you will use for your movie.
  9. Click on the plus (+) sign on the Presets panel to create a new preset. Give this preset a name and save it.
  10. Now, go back to the Library panel and select your video, the cut that you created earlier. Then find your Saved Preset in the Quick Develop panel on the right of Library. This will apply whatever exposure and color edits you did with the captured frame.
  11. Alternatively, you may select any of the develop presets already in Lightroom and apply them to your video. You have a rich selection there and you don’t even have to create your own preset. The thing to remember is to apply them in Quick Develop in the Library and not in the Develop module because video is not supported there.
  12. The last step is to export your video. You can do it from the Library itself: Click export like you would with any photo but put a check mark on Include Video Files on the export dialog box. Or, you can combine your video with still photos and save them as MP4 video from the Slideshow module.

Let’s rewind a little. At Step 6 where you captured a frame, there was another option to Set Poster Frame. This refers to the image that you select to represent a footage in the Grid View of Lightroom. When you browse for your images in Lightroom the poster frame thumbnail is what you see representing that cut of the video. This does not apply to other applications or other social media sites like YouTube. You will separately create a specific thumbnail or poster frame for that.

Doing video in Lightroom might be a little cramped and limited but it’s easy to do and it works. It also saves you the headache of trying to figure out Adobe’s Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut with their complicated interfaces. Enjoy video in Lightroom!