Picking 360 Video Editing Software in 2023

It's still a bit of the wild west for 360 video editors in 2023, but that said, many of the major brands and smaller competitors have made great strides in catching up with their software to cater to this specific niche. If that's you, you'll want to read about these four video editing tools.

Coming at you from 360 content creator and YouTuber Ben Claremont is a look at the state of the union (of sorts) of several major video editing tools that double as 360 video editors. There are two free options: Insta360 Studio and Davinci Resolve, as well as paid options, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X.

For owners of Insta360 cameras, such as the Insta360 X3, the Insta360 Studio software makes a lot of sense. It works well with Insta360 cameras that produce proxy files in camera for quick editing and can edit and output both 360 video and reframed "flat" video if that's the ultimate purpose of your shoot. I've used the iPad/iPhone versions of this software, and they're super-easy to use and to reframe video, so if you're looking to do that on the desktop, this is the way. That said, as Claremont notes, the software is limited in that it can't do many advanced features or work with mixed video formats or add titles.

For that, you'd have to step up to at least the free version of Davinci Resolve, which can add some or most of these features either natively or through plugins. That said, the biggest limitation here is that while you can output up to 4K with the free version, which is fine for "flat" videos produced from 3D cameras, you'd need a lot more resolution for the equirectangular 360 footage to get a clear image. For that, Davinci will cost you $295.

Apple's Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro largely offer the same feature set, with a slight nod to Apple for specifically 360 features that are built in and don't require third party plugins to function. There's also the matter of the software being optimized for Apple Silicon, so you'll get better performance if you're an Apple user. I've used both, and each have their pros and cons, which Claremont goes into in detail in his video. Suffice to say, especially for dedicated 360 videos intended for viewing in VR, these are the tools to use. There is a major price difference here though, with Adobe charging $21 a month for Premiere Pro while Apple has a one-time charge of $299. I bought it when it first came out a decade ago, and I appreciate that I've gotten all updates since versus paying that several times over for basically the same thing in Premiere Pro (which I've also, unfortunately, done).

That said, it's a bit odd to see Adobe pushing into this space for Premiere Pro while also removing these tools from Photoshop for 360 photos late last year. I hope it's not an indication of things to come with Premiere Pro.

Do you have a go-to 360 video editor that's not on this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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