GoPro Quik Editor: A Guide to Gopro’s Free Editing Software
As an editor by trade, I take particular interest when a new software is released – regardless of whether or not it’s something I will eventually use. The newly released GoPro editing software, Quik, comes in both Desktop and Android/iOS App flavours which you can download for free.
Adding to it’s predecessor’s abilities, GoPro Studio, the Quik Video Editor tries to take a new, simpler approach to video editing, but also removes some very important tools to get your videos to looking perfect. This includes limitations such as not being able to select your own music, amongst other things. I guess this is why the Quik Desktop installer also installs GoPro Studio to try to make up for Quik’s lack of features. However, as you can see, it can churn out social-media grade video in a few minutes like the one I created below in about 2 minutes:
Be sure to check out our article reviewing the Quik mobile app as well, since we believe that the Quik mobile app is better suited for quickly editing and publishing videos on the go.
Here’s a quick FAQ on GoPro Quik Desktop as I know you have immediate questions:
How good are Quik videos?
Quik does take a bit of editing to craft an exciting story that’s not going to bore your mates.
Update: Quik Stories is a new feature that stitches together your videos. However the quality of video is very subpar. Check out the Quik Story comparison here
How can I edit a single clip in Quik?
If you want to edit a single clip in Quik by trimming it down or capturing an image still, you can double-click on the clip you wish to edit within the Media View of Quik. Once you make your adjustments, you can export the newly created clip and Quik will add it back to your media library as a new clip or you can export directly to social media.
How can I add my own music in GoPro Quik?
You can NOT! You can only use the pre-selected music in Quik’s music library which is limited to 10 tracks unless you own a GoPro Plus Account which unlocks a few more tunes. I would assume this is because Quik has pre-analyzed music tracks to know which is the best time to transition your scenes, hence they won’t let you add your own.
Can I use other video files with Quik?
Nope! Only GoPro files and more specifically, MP4 files. If you’re trying to combine your iPhone or Android videos with your GoPro vids, Quik will simply not use them.
What GoPro Models can I use with Quik?
Basically, all of them: HERO, HERO+, HERO+LCD, HERO3+: Silver Edition, HERO3+: Black Edition, HERO4 Session, HERO4: Silver Edition, HERO4: Black Edition, HERO5 Session, HERO5 Black
Where can I download GoPro Studio?
GoPro decided to combine Studio and Quik into the same installer package. When you install Quik Desktop, it will automatically install GoPro Studio. Download it here.
Getting Started with Quik Desktop Editor
Quik is a super simple desktop and mobile app that can help you import your GoPro footage, edit individual clips, create edited videos or even update your Hero software.
The Quik Interface
The Quik interface is governed by a few modes/views: the Media View, where you basically manage all of your imported media and the Create Mode, where you do your edits.
Media View: This is your main… view. Yes, indeed – this is where all of your imported media will appear, showing up as small thumbnails. As I will note below, Quik will not import non-GoPro footage. Yes, it’s disappointing. One thing that is not directly obvious is that from this view, you can double click individual clips to trim, colour correct, snapshot them or export them to social media. Let’s quickly look at the sidebar:
Media – this shows all media from your imports and is where things will be automatically added if you update your media folders on your hard drive.
Recent – this shows your last imported media, chronologically
Edits – this shows any single clip edits, snapshots or any exported footage you have created with Quik.
Create – This is your main editing stage where you can create the full blown Quik videos by adding media from the Media View.
How to Import GoPro Footage in Quik Desktop
If you have never used Quik before or imported footage, you will be met with friendly instructions on how to import footage from your GoPro: Directly from your GoPro via USB or from footage already on your hard drive. You cannot wirelessly connect your Hero with the Desktop version of Quik (you can do it via Quik Mobile).
Importing Footage to Quik directly from your GoPro
Once you plug in your GoPro, Quik will instantly and automatically detect the camera (down to the edition) and begin the import sequence into the media folder you have specified. Note; this copies footage from your GoPro directly to your computer (it does not, however, remove the files from your GoPro). Make sure you have enough space to accommodate those big video files.
One thing I noticed during the import was when the software froze mid-transfer, after a quick reboot, Quik managed to resume the transfers where it left off.
Importing Footage Already on your Hard Drive
You can choose a folder on your hard drive that has new videos you may want to import into Quik. Note, this does not copy the video files from one folder to the other, in other words, it does not duplicate the footage.
If you already have GoPro footage on your computer, this is your best option, however, note that GoPro Quik does not read other types of video footage. That means if you try to import your non-GoPro footage, like iPhone footage, it won’t work which is a huge downfall for the software. Even if you try to import AVI files or converted GoPro footage, it’s not going to work. If you have files that are not GoPro/MP4 files on your computer, Quik will simply ignore them and not add them to the library. If you see clips greyed out, it means Quik does not recognize the footage as GoPro which is a total bummer.
A word about external hard drives and speed: I have an old 500GB external hard drive which is where I keep most of my raw footage. Adding the external hard drive as a media location in Quik is a bad idea: Quik will have a hard time reading the media and scrubbing through video on older hard drives since those hard drives tend to be slower (USB2.0). To get around this bottleneck, I had to move the clips from my external drive to my laptop in order for Quik to efficiently scan through the media. Even GoPro advises that if you are going to use an external HDD, make sure it’s USB3.0+.
You will also be able to view and download footage from the GoPro Plus cloud service if you are a subscriber. If you’re not aware of GoPro’s cloud service, it’s basically a very expensive dropbox/Google Drive for GoPro ONLY media.
Customizing Quik’s Import Features
Additional things to note; you can customize your camera and import settings by clicking the gear icon next to the camera name. There, you will be able to edit the camera name (how the computer sees the camera and names it), the SD card settings, where to import your footage on your computer, SDCard/GoPro storage capacity and any auto-import features you may like. Choose what floats your boat and hit save.
You will also be notified if new updates for your GoPro or software are available to keep it running at peak efficiency. I actually had a chance to try the update option on Quik, and although it detected my old camera software, it was unsuccessful at updating my GoPro Hero4. Personally, I have always had success using the GoPro App to update GoPro firmware. If you are struggling, check out our how to update GoPro software article.
Cutting, Creating Snapshots and Exporting Single Clips
Now normally, I would put this section under the actual editing walkthrough, however, you can only cut, snap, and export single clips in the Media View and not the Create Mode.
If you only want to quickly cut a cool clip or capture a snapshot within a clip to export and skip actually editing a full blown project, you can double click on footage thumbnails in the Media View to isolate the clip. In the window that appears, you are able to trim, grab photos/still shots and also export the clip itself to a few social media channels or just save it to your hard drive. Once you export a clip, Quik will automatically add it to your existing media library which you can then import to use in Create Mode.
You can also scrub through video and add HiLights which will be automatically added to the video once you go into Create mode. More on that below.
Editing Video using Quik Desktop
Project Editing Overview:
Quik isn’t your regular editor. Instead of spending lots of time getting down and dirty with edits, Quik tries to do most of the editing for you by letting you quickly select portions of video you like (aka HiLights) and synchronize them to a music track.
It actually works well in principle, however, the limitations are: you can’t use your own music but you can select the limited number of tracks that Quik offers. Furthermore, you can’t do any colour filters, you can’t add any titles, and you are only allowed to do a 60 second clip maximum.
Quik performs the bulk of its editing based off tagging or “HiLight moments” that you choose. Quik is unique in that it is an automated editor for those who have either A) never edited before or B) don’t have time to edit (which, to be honest, is all editors of all time – but that’s why we created Bronami. If you ever want a free edit, go signup for an account now).
Sending Footage from Media View to Create Mode to Edit
Okay, now that you know how to import your media and you have an idea of what HiLighting is, it’s time to actually create a project! From the Media View, select as many clips as you want and then click the “OPEN IN CREATE MODE” option. This will “import” the media into the Quik Create Mode which is where you are going to start selecting the best HiLights to add to your video.
HiLighting Videos in Quik Desktop
Quik gives you two ways to mark videos with HiLights. You can either do it in the single clip editor in the Media View or you can do it in Create Mode. The most efficient way to do this is in Create Mode, so we will stick with that method going forward.
To mark, or HiLight, videos you just need to click on them. You can scrub through the imported footage and click the moments you want to HiLight, or if you use the GoPro HiLight feature on your GoPro camera while shooting, Quik will import those moments automatically to your project timeline. As you go about HiLighting your footage, Quik will automatically add them to your editing timeline. You can select multiple HiLight areas from the same clip as you wish.
The best strategy is to use different clips as much as possible to create variety in your video. You can easily click and drag clips if you want to re-adjust their position in the timeline. Quik decides the length of the selected HiLight portion, based on the song and synchronization to the music. This is very similar to the Quik App on Android/iOS as well.
Choosing the Length of your Quik Video
Notice in the lower left hand corner of the screen there is a little time icon. Use that to choose a length for your project – you can choose between 15, 30, and 60 seconds. This is important, as the length of time you choose will also determine the number of HiLight points you will be able to choose from. For example, you are allowed only 10 HiLight points with the 30 second package. If you think this is a problem and shortcoming, the solution is to make more videos. Again, you can only select 15, 30 and 60 second videos using Quik so choose something that will captivate your audience, don’t try to add filler.
Furthermore, if you choose too few clips, your video will look relatively boring as Quik will try to fill in the whole movie to the predetermined time (i.e 15, 30, 60 seconds). Try to pack in as many clips as possible to keep the video looking interesting.
Selecting Music in Quik Editor
Okay, so I need to quickly mention that YOU CANNOT ADD YOUR OWN MUSIC. That’s right. You will only be able to choose the music that is already included in Quik. You simply cannot add your own music because the Quik editor is made to do auto-editing and it cannot synchronize music and transitions from new tracks. That’s why it has a selected amount of what I assume is pre-defined music for the purpose of quickly synching the transitions.
Furthermore, Quik only allows you to choose from 10 tracks, which might I add: are kind of awful. If you do have the Plus service, you will unlock a bunch of other tracks but the bottom line is you probably won’t get the music you want.
Not being able to choose or import your own music in Quik is already a huge detractor for me. Even though Quik can easily sync video transitions to beats, it still feels like the music is not of my own choosing, hence, I will never use Quik unless it allows me to use my own music.
Adjusting and Grading Chosen HiLights
For extra precision you will notice that you can double click on any of the chosen HiLights that are in your project and you will be able to adjust the HiLight window, color, audio, and speed gauges (if you have the Hero5).
When adjusting the clip, you are only limited to repositioning the clip. As I said earlier, Quik locks your viewing window and all you can do is reposition the view. In other words, you can’t make clips smaller or reduce their length as the length is set by the music synchronization.
Color adjusting is relatively simple. It doesn’t allow you to use pre-determined filters, but you can adjust brightness, vibrance warmth, contrast and shadows. Similarly, audio is very limited as it only allows you to give priority to the music track or the source clip audio.
Once you’ve made those adjustments, hit the apply button and the clip will be adjusted, and applied to your Create Mode.
Exporting Your Project using Quik
With your HiLight tags and music selected, hit the play button anytime to see how things are stacking up. If you like it after viewing, simply click ‘save’ in the lower right hand corner. If you want to make adjustments to either HiLight tags or music, you can do that too before publication. When clicking the save option, you’ll be asked to choose a file destination and if you’d like to post directly to social media (specifically, Facebook and YouTube).
Using GoPro Studio with Quik Desktop
If this is too simple and you’d like more control of your footage, you can right click a clip to send it to GoPro Studio. GoPro Studio and Quik work in conjunction to give you flexibility in how your project looks. GoPro studio will help you do some editing yourself, such as color grading, or effect additions. Since Quik is such a limited editor, the only real reason you want to go from Quik to GoPro Studio is simply to do the color correction and maybe add more powerful effects to the clip itself. Personally, I am a big detractor of GoPro Studio, I avoid it like the plague, however, if you do want to do some serious colour grading, it’s the only thing to use unless you want to spend big dollars on Adobe or Sony suites.
Final Thoughts on Quik Desktop App
My final recommendation is to stick with something like iMovie (Mac) for desktop edits. Or try one of the other mobile video editors including Quik for mobile. The Quik desktop application, even though I tried it on two Macs, is still really unstable, sluggish, and will generally have a crash or two here and there.
Quik has the right idea to pound out a quick video and put it on social media, but it doesn’t make sense if you are shooting travel footage or have a lot of footage that simply can’t fit into the 60 second limitation. Secondly, the freaking music! Really, music speaks a lot and sets the tone of your video. Quik does away with that at it’s own loss.
If you are going to do any desktop editing that isn’t below 60 seconds, stick with iMovie. If you want to use Quik on mobile, it makes sense as you may just want to quickly do a super fast edit.
Also, a disclaimer on the stability of the Quik Desktop Software:
After spending a day writing this article and playing around with GoPro Quik (version 2.3 for Mac) I highly warn everyone to simply stay away from the desktop version of this software to avoid some huge headaches. In between the constant freezes, system crashes and account logouts, I probably spent more time rebooting my system than I did editing. GoPro’s painful transition from hardware to software is apparent in testing out this piece of editing software.
Update on Quik Stability Issues: The original system that Quik was having huge issues on was a 2016 MacBook. I installed Quik on my slower, older 2015 Macbook Air and suddenly, the crashes were reduced by about 50%. Anyway, I slaved through and have still managed to get a good guide out if you want to use this software.
Quik Desktop Keyboard Shortcuts
WINDOWSFunctionStep Backward One Frame
(Right Arrow)Step Forward One Frame
⌥ – Option Key
⌘ – Command Key
|⌘,||Ctrl + ,||Quik Settings||⌘ + Q||Ctrl + Q||Quit Quik||⌘ + I||Ctrl + M||Import Media Folder||⌥ +⌘ + E||Ctrl + Alt + E||Export to GoPro Studio||⌘ + A||Ctrl + A||Select All||⌥ +⌘ + A||Ctrl + D||Deselect All||Space Bar||Space Bar||Play / Pause||(Right Arrow)|
|(Left Arrow)||(Left Arrow)|
|H||H||Mark a Highlight tag during playback||⌘ – E||Ctrl + E||Extract frame as a photo during playback||⌘ – L||Ctrl + L||Loop Playback|
|⌘ – 1
⌘ – 2
⌘ – 3
|Ctrl + 1
Ctrl + 2
Ctrl + 3
|Large Thumbnail View
Normal Thumbnail View
Small Thumbnail View
|⌘ – M||Minimize window|