5 Best Sports Video Editors to Make Highlight Videos [with How-tos]

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

There are a host of reasons to make a sports highlight video today. Maybe you are a high school student and want to get recruited for a college sport, making a highlight reel is super important; or you are a coach of a sports team, highlight videos let your athletes understanding your thoughts easier. Or, maybe you want to tape a highlight reel for cheering your favorite team as a sports fan.

Here are 5 best sports video editors packed up with editing tricks I will uncover in this article. Scroll down to see how to make a highlight video for sports with either program!

How to make a sports highlight video

#1. VideoProc – Entry-level Sports Video Editors

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Pricing: $42.95 or try for free

VideoProc, the perfect balance between power and ease of use, is the best of the video editor to make a sports highlight video in my opinion. It comes with video cutter, trimmer, spliter, merger that can rearrange your long footage. You can also find color filters, subtitles/watermark adder, speed alternation as well as video stabilizer, noise reducer and len correction that are designed for editing sports video in the toolbox.

One thing that VideoProc has that its competitor doesn't is level-3 hardware acceleration. It can significantly speed up transcoding, and exports of heavily compressed formats, such as H.264, H.265, VP9, AV1 or other high-resolution formats.

VideoProc app

VideoProc - An All-around Sports Video Editor to Make a Highlight Video for Sports

  • Trimming, cutting and merging allow you to make the most of your great content.
  • Image adder to include whatever graphics you want in the video.
  • Video stabilizer to deal with shaky footage.
  • Upscale or downscale video to your wish.

How to Make a Highlight Video with VideoProc

Step 1: Free download this little gem at VideoProc. Once the installation is done, launch VideoProc and import your clips.

Step 2: Focus on great moments by rearranging the entire footage with cutting. Just access to the controls of cutting > pick up the awesome moments from a long video by moving the sliders > click the upward/downward arrow to rearrange clips.

Rearrange clips in videoProc

Step 3: If you did not shoot close-ups, you can use video cropper to focus on the action.

Make close-ups in VideoProc

Step 4: Add subtitles to the highlight video. Because sports fans are commonly international.

Add watermark to a highlight reel in VideoProc

Step 5: Add your channel, tournament, college or sponsor logo in the video.

Add subtitles to sports highlight video in VideoProc

Step 6: Return to the editing interface and choose Run at the lower right corner to render your video.

#2. iMovie – Non-linear Sports Video Editors for Beginners

Compatibility: macOS

Pricing: Free

One of the top-rated application in the App Store, iMovie is a macOS-only video editor that is absolutely free to Apple users. It give you a streamlined and clear interface where you can work with sports footage faster and more efficient.

Despite the freeware, iMovie still includes a wealth of video editing tools. It covers the basics like cutting, trimming, cropping, inserting, etc., but also provides several advanced features, such as green screen, split-screen, Ken Burns, fade in/out, equalizer and more.

More so, whether you're working with video formats like Apple ProRes, H.264, HEVC, MOV, MP4, audio formats as AAC, AIFF or still-image format as JPEG, PNG GIF, etc., iMovie is compatible with all of them.

iMovie logo

Key Features:

  • Works with 4K60FPS footage.
  • Recolor or apply filters to videos as you wish.
  • Multiple video templates with various themes.

How to Make a Highlight Video with iMovie

Step 1: Launch iMovie and create a project with the sports theme where you can add team information, like player names, ages, photos, statistics, team logo and others.

Step 2: Add as much as cutaways to your footage, such as different angles, a reaction shot to the bench, coaches, referees, audiences, scoreboard, boots or anything.

Add cutaways to footage in iMovie

Step 3: Use a high tempo song to enhance the feel of your highlight video.

Add high tempo song to video iMovie

Step 4: change the speed in the middle of the shot.

Change the speed in iMovie

#3. VSDC – All-around Sports Video Editors for Windows

Compatibility: Windows

Pricing: Pro version at $19.99; Free

What makes VSDC a great choice is its bonus features, where other apps on this list are beaten. You can adjust the decode quality to get a smooth playback using VSDC built-in converter; or you can burn your highlight reels to DVD and send it to colleges or coaches to get noticed.

When it comes to the basics of VSDC, you can enhance your sports highlights by splitting, zooming, overlaying, masking, adding music, texts, transitions, shapes, images, etc. All these features function well on their own, but can be combined for better effect when needed.

VSDC logo

Key Features:

  • Support for a wide range of file types.
  • Includes most basic and extra editing controls.
  • Video stabilization helps in taming shaky footage.

How to Make a Highlight Video with VSDC

Step 1: Navigate to Videosoftdev and download the VSDC video editor at no cost. Then get it started and create a new project with proper sequence settings.

Step 2: Split a long video into parts. If you do not coach a sports team and recap the entire game, ensure that your highlight reel is within 3 minutes.

Split video into parts in VSDC

Step 3: Add a music track that gradually builds up a climatic finish. That said, choose a song with the change in the tempo.

Add music track in VSDC

Step 4: Apply video effect filter to improve the viewing experience.

Apply video effect in VSDC

#4. DaVinci Resolve – Full-fledged Sports Video Editing Software

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing: Free; $299 (one-off payment)

Resolve does not only cover color correction & grading though it won fame as a grading platform. It currently brings video editing, visual effect as well as audio mixing together, which makes it matured into full-fledged and robust video editing software.

Adding B-rolls to a highlight video is a commonly used trick. Those who are new to video editing might just make a cut to source materials directly in the timeline to take B-roll clips, but it will make a mess to your sequence. In Resolve, you can enable dual timelines to make sports video edits, which is a non-destructive editing trick that most professionals prefer.

Resolve is getting better every new release by adding lots of great controls. That's why Resolve is one of the best options for everyone to make sports highlights.

DaVinci Resolve logo

Key Features:

  • The newly added Cut Page works well on a rough cut when meeting a tight deadline.
  • Many tricks to improve playback and render performance, like proxy mode, GPU encoding, optimized media, etc.
  • Live Save and Project Backups protect your project from missing.
  • It packs with video compositing, audio mixing, color grading, visual effect editing.

How to Make a Highlight Video with DaVinci Resolve

Step 1: Download either the free version or Pro version of Resolve at Blackmagic Design.

Step 2: Enable dual timelines to add B-rolls to your highlight video.

Dual timeline editing in Resolve

Step 3: Make a close up in a click. If you want to focus on a big moment on your footage, you can make the use of Close up that automatically keep the action centered in the frame or Custom Zoom to crop a close up.

Close up and custom zoom in Resolve

Step 4: Add music or sound effect to sports highlight from Sound Library where you can store all your audio files.

Sound library in Resolve

#5. Adobe Premiere Pro – Industry-standard Sports Video Editor

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

Pricing: 7-day free trial available; $20.99/mo

Premiere Pro has released a wide array of new features in2020 version. With Auto Reframe, GPU accelerated H.264 and HEVC encoding, support for ProRes RAW, project locking and others making it more friendly to create expert-level highlight videos.

To make an emotional sport highlight, make sure that you edit your cuts on the beat. And Premiere Pro is likely to be the best tool to sync beats with cuts. Simplely add a marker on the impact frame by hitting the M key on the keyboard and insert the cuts on the marker.

Adobe Premiere Pro logo

Key Features:

  • Include most basic and high-end editing controls.
  • Access high-quality & royalty-free audio via Adobe Stock
  • Projects are stored at Creative Cloud.

How to Make a Highlight Video with Adobe Premiere Pro

Step 1: Access Premiere Pro at Creative Cloud.

Step 2: Search and download audio music track at Adobe Stock.

Use audio track at Adobe Stock in Premiere Pro

Step 3: Edit your cuts on the beat. First, place a marker to the impact frame and insert video material on the marker in the following.

Edit your cuts on the beat in Premiere Pro

Step 4: To fit more clips in a short amount of time, speed up the clips by 10 to 15%, which also makes the players look faster and better.

Tips on Shooting a Sports highlight Video

a. The higher the resolution, the better

When you are going to record a game at a giant stadium, such as a football game, baseball game, make sure your clips are shot in the higher resolution as much as possible. Largely because you will stay far away from the players. And high-resolution clips allow us to zoom or crop without fear of losing quality when editing.

b. Remember to record B-roll

Take as much B-roll content as you can. You can capture reaction shots to team bench, coaches, crowds, referees, rooters, or even scoreboard. If you're filming footage by oneself with only one camera, you can record B-roll footage during the warm-up session before the game even starts.

c. Use a physical stabilizer (tripod or monopod)

That's the best option to remove shakiness from your footage. You should be aware of the fact that the viewers might be sick of the shaky clips. If you don’t have one, go get one or try video stabilization in post production.

Sports Video Editors FAQ

1. What is the best program to use to make a highlight video?

If you need a sports video editor for beginners, go with VideoProc.

If you want more controls, iMovie or VSDC is a good choice.

If you have a decent workstation and need high-end features, go out with DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere Pro.

2. How long should a sports highlight video be?

The reasonable duration of a sports highlight video is around 2 to 4 minutes. So make the use of the big moments. That’s enough to convey your thoughts.

3. How to get legal fair use sports highlight videos?

You can use the footage captured and edited by yourself. Otherwise, you would be better to ask the permission of the broadcaster in advance. If not doing this, your channel will easily get a copyright strike.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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