Photoshop Is My Aperture 3 Video Editor


Yes you can trim video in Aperture 3, but that's about it. What I needed was a tool for color and luminance adjustments. First I tried roundtripping to iMovie. Quite honestly, that was a disaster. Let's just say that I don't think Aperture and iMovie should see each other any more. I tried to apply filters on export in QuickTime 7. Just too clunky. I even explored some of the free video editors on the Web. Now I know why they are free.

Then it dawned on me. I have Photoshop CS4... Extended. Up until now, having the Extended version didn't mean much to me. I'm not a scientist and I haven't delved into 3D yet. But I can import video, add adjustment layers to it, then render it out using the standard QuickTime export dialog box. This is exactly what I needed.

You can pick any frame in your video to view while you make your adjustments. I worked in layers, just as I would normally. But you don't have to. Then simply go to File > Export > Render Video, and save out the adjusted version. Your entire movie will have the luminance and color correction applied.

I still haven't perfected my workflow for managing videos in Aperture 3. Now that I have Photoshop CS4 for adjusting the movies, I might work like this:

  • Download video from camera to external hard drive that I use for all of my referenced files.
  • If they don't need any luminance or color adjustments, import them into Aperture as referenced files.
  • If they do need adjustment, correct in Photoshop CS4, render out, then import the corrected movies into Aperture 3 as referenced files.
  • Apply metadata, organize, etc. in Aperture 3.

At that point, I would probably copy the uncorrected master movies on to my Drobo and remove them from my referenced hard drive. I'm sure I'll tweak this workflow some more. But for now, I have deadlines to meet.

You might be wondering if you can roundtrip to Photoshop CS4 by choosing it for videos in your Aperture 3 preferences. Well, yes and no. Aperture does send the video to Photoshop and it opens correctly. But, you can't use the Save command to roundtrip back. So you have to Export > Render and new file anyway. So, in my opinion, this workflow isn't ready for primetime yet. And from what I've read, you can use Photoshop CS3 Extended for this, but you can't listen to the audio. But it's still preserved.

All of that being said, I am thrilled to have a way to adjust my videos while still using Aperture 3 as the manager. I'll report more as I discover it.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter



I read your hint quite interested and hopeful, because as an Aperture novice I had just learned, that it cannot import the AVCHD files of my Lumix GH1 camera.

So I tried my Photoshop CS4 extended, but unless I did something wrong, it also cannot import AVCHD :-(

Is that right, and more important: is there any remedy?

Check ifunia video converter ( As far as I know, you could also use iMovie to convert the video. I haven't tried neither ifunia nor iMovie, though.

Are you still using PS4 extended for video editing?