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Top Video Editing Software for Drone Owners: Paid and Free
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104133 64 2017-8-24
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Nina.DG
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United States
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Let's face it: some of you, guys don't even get to video editing. And some might find Movie Maker cutting/splitting feature quite sufficient - that's just fine. You probably have one less thing to occupy your mind with.

Yet, for those who care about uploading a brushed and polished piece of footage to the Internet, choosing the right software is quite important. And since video editing questions pop up on DJI forum on a regular basis, it's safe to assume there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The perfect feature-set?
What are the must-have features a video editor should have to be considered good for drone footage? Most drone owners say video editing is video editing after all, no matter whether you were shooting on a drone or on a smartphone. That being said, there is still a list of tools you'll be using more frequently (than a smartphone owner) because of aerial camera ins and outs.   

  • easy cut/split feature - because that unexpected crash from last flight must be cut out.
  • video stabilization tool - because even the best drones might make use of it sometimes.
  • color/brightness correction - because if the sun is around, there is always a chance of under- or overexposure.
  • video zooming - because you can't always fly too close to the object of interest.
  • footage speed settings - because timelapses rule.


Besides, it's important to be able to work with high quality videos effortlessly. In other words, the video editor should be able to open drone footage, process it and export in the high quality as well.

Whether you just recently started thinking of editing your drone recordings, or you're looking for a better piece of software, below is a list you may make use of. It's been gathered with help of drone forum members and drone YouTubers, whom I'll quote below.

If you're well experienced at video editing

Adobe Premiere Pro   ($19,99 per month with annual commitment)

This one doesn't need to be introduced. Having become a de-facto standard in the world of professional video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro is also the most frequently named piece of software among drone owners. Starting this year, Adobe PP has gone cross-platform, so even some Mac users tend to choose it over Final Cut Pro despite slower performance and higher costs in the long run.



Format Advice: If you host Premiere Pro on a strong PC, it will easily handle 4K videos from Phantom. If you feel, however, that 4K may be too much for your machine, simply convert footage to MPEG-2, which is a recommended codec for Adobe.

While Adobe is a powerful video editor as is, some experienced users also recommend installing de-noising plugins - such as Neat Video - especially if you're using D-log. (advice from TomTechTime community member)
Free Option:  Davinci Resolve 12.5

If you strive for the highest color grading quality, but not quite ready to pay for it yet, Davinci Resolve is your best bet. While doing the research for this roundup, I've found almost as many mentions of Davinci Resolve, as of PP. That makes me think, we're talking about the most powerful free crossplatform video editor available out there. My biggest struggle, though, were multiple crashes even before I deep dived into editing, so i definitely don't recommend it if your machine resources are limited.



Format advice: Davinci Resolve appears to be slightly unfriendly with uncompressed codecs, which sometimes results into program crashing while trying to open a simple AVI file. Don't get discouraged and just convert your video to Quicktime MOV - the most recommended format for this piece of software.

If you're somewhat experienced at video editing

Cyberlink Power Director for Windows ($59 per year)

If you got to play with a 360 degree drone camera, and you're on Windows - look no further. Cyberlink is a well known software developer which is always among the first to adopt the latest trends, and 360 degree videos are not an exception. Those looking for a powerful video editor with precise trimming and clean interface will be quite satisfied.



Another reason I selected Power Director 15 was the multi-cam ability. I also record with a camcorder on a tripod so it's a nice function to be able to edit in sync (PhantomPilots forum member)
Free Alternative: VSDC Video Editor (Windows)
VSDC stands out for its format compatibility and comparatively stable performance on machines unable to cope with heavy guys like Adobe and Davinci. Say, if you're somewhat Win7/64b struggling to find a decent post-production tool, VSDC is the best choice. It has every basic feature you can think of and even offers big guns like color grading, motion blur effect and blending modes.  


Vsdc drone screenshot.jpg


"I'm still as impressed with VSDC today as when I first tried it years ago. Every one of the videos on my channel (over 900) had been edited through use of VSDC" (Drone YouTuber, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC90A4JdsSoFm1Okfu0DHTuQ)

Export advice: when exporting a large file, don't get confused with "Hardware Acceleration" pop-up. Simply click on a grey "Continue" button below and worry not about watermarks or any other unpleasant "surprises". Export speed will be moderate, though, so if you really want to speed up the output process, you might want to consider purchasing an annual PRO license for $20.

Filmora for Mac ($44,99 per year)

Somewhere between iMovie and Final Cut you might want to consider Filmora (used to be known as Wondershare in the past). It is a cross-platform piece of software, and since there are so few video editing apps of that level available for Mac, it might be a lifesaver that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.
What's different about Filmora, is that besides basic video editing features, it offers a variety of extra tools like noise reduction, tilt shift, plus video effects & filters library that is monthly being added to.



Export Tip: Filmora has a free trial version that is functionally the same as a registered version, so it gives you a full taste of the program. Yet, it places a huge watermark on your video when you export it after editing. Therefore, make sure to start with a small test project to avoid "unpleasant surprises" at the end of a several-hour process.

If you're about to edit your first video

Avidemux (Free for Windows, Mac, Linux)

Should you set your requirements low - say, a simple cut/filter/encode feature-set - Avidemux is the way to go. It is a linear video editor, and it's absolutely free. Think of it as of a crossplatform version of Movie Maker, which is more appreciated by the geek community though (perhaps, because it is distributed under GNU GPL license).

screenshot avidemux.jpg

Avidemux supports the most frequently used formats, including MKV, VOB and ASF and can be useful for making your video more lightweight. There is also a good number of filters you can apply and preview in a separate window. The software interface is not the most intuitive one, however, you'll find a wikipedia-style how-to guide for both - users and developers interested in Avidemux capabilities, so with a bit of effort you'll figure out what to do.

Afterword

Among the video editors mentioned above, there were few other pieces of software - mostly for Windows though, such as Pinnacle,Magix and Sony Vegas. How about we continue the list and create somewhat an ultimate guide on choosing a video editing program?

Tell what you're using for post-production, describe why it's different and worth the drone community's attention. Post a couple of screenshots and share your tips on working with aerial videos! How about that?



2017-8-24
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Mark Guille
Captain
Flight distance : 2031818 ft
Guernsey
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Thanks for the info Nina, great post.

Mark G.
2017-8-24
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djiuser_bI1SCU7
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Russia
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What a research! Jesus!
2017-8-24
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1719957 ft
Netherlands
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Any reason why you skipped Sony Vegas Pro? (14 I guess now).
I've been using it for a pretty long time and like it a lot.
Tried Resolve some weeks, but it was too much time for me to get used to.
2017-8-24
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Highasakite
First Officer
Flight distance : 1369206 ft
United States
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Wow , beginner Nina you are quite the video program investigator! Why and how do you know sooooooo much about video editing? In my opinion, you should shoot a quality video from the get go! Editing is repairing something, you the videographer messed up. How are your piloting skills? Can you confidently fly your aircraft in ATTI ?  In the end you and I should get together because editing is my weakness and piloting my strong point. we could help each other! I use Power Director 14 . Safety First! Ken.
2017-8-24
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Wolfman
Second Officer
Flight distance : 405659 ft
Australia
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Hi Nina,

WOW, what a fantastic post, very informative. Great to see a post outside of the usual issues we face regarding all the stuff that constantly stops working after an update, just wish you had posted this 4 years ago for me!

Personally, I have been using Vegas pro for quite some time. After much trial and error in trying out as many editors as I could find, I found Vegas Pro to be the most intuitive and easy to use for my purposes.

Will definitely have a look at VSDC though as an alternative.

Regards Wolf
2017-8-24
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DJI Mindy
Administrator
Flight distance : 7 ft
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Wow, nice post, Nina, this may help other customers a lot in editing, very impressive, thanks for your sharing.
2017-8-25
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Nina.DG
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United States
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Wolfman Posted at 2017-8-24 15:06
Hi Nina,

WOW, what a fantastic post, very informative. Great to see a post outside of the usual issues we face regarding all the stuff that constantly stops working after an update, just wish you had posted this 4 years ago for me!

Hi Wolf,
I'm glad you like the post!
Sony Vegas sure has a very clear and intuitive interface. Although I haven't included it to the main list, I did check it out and was positively impressed.  One thing that may keep beginners away from Vegas is, perhaps its price tag.
2017-8-25
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Nina.DG
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United States
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2017-8-25 00:02
Wow, nice post, Nina, this may help other customers a lot in editing, very impressive, thanks for your sharing.

Thanks Mindy!
I'm glad you liked it.
2017-8-25
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wglovett
lvl.4
Canada
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thx for sharing your insight!
2017-9-28
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Inspector_Tim
lvl.3
Flight distance : 35899 ft
United States
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I use Sony Platinum 14 on my PC, kind of limited, but it's OK.

Recently, I got an iPad pro for work, and it would seem there is a whole array of apps for video editing. A suggested one was Videoleap, but I've not used it much yet. Is anyone here using an iPad (Pro or otherwise) to edit video? Some of these apps state all sorts of effects and resolution up to 4K (on the pro anyway)

Thanks in advance!
2017-10-1
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RichJ53
Captain
Flight distance : 1671171 ft
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United States
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Nice job and great information. Thanks for sharing, many of us old farts have used the top three on your list on a regular basis //  

Adobe is my go to program, but takes a lot of time to get the pro result  (IMO)

Rich
2017-10-1
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MrRobert5823
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1385223 ft
United States
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Wow... I will have to look into this more... Thanks for the input!
2017-10-11
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fansa84fe8a4
First Officer
Flight distance : 3 ft
United States
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DaVinci Resolve 14 (Mac or WIndows) is out now that replaced 12.5 above.  Both a free version (limited functions), and a full $299 version.  No monthly or yearly fees either.  Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 14

I like the part of it where you can use a ColorChecker, MacBeth, or some other color target with it prior to getting into the color and editing process which speeds up the process.  They offer three different eiditng consoles and full console editing bays too if wanted.  Full audio editor too.  It has some DJI LUT's in it too.


2017-10-11
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Highasakite
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United States
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fansa84fe8a4, how do you have 1 ft. flight distance and you own 2 nice aircraft???? Safety First! Ken.
2017-10-13
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fansa84fe8a4
First Officer
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United States
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Highasakite Posted at 2017-10-13 14:51
fansa84fe8a4, how do you have 1 ft. flight distance and you own 2 nice aircraft???? Safety First! Ken.

DJI wrote the fookin' software.  Ask them.   

Fwiw, I've uninstalled, re-installed, rolled back, and refreshed the DJI stuff so many times on both birds I'm surprised it's one foot.

I'm also on some slow-poke dial-up AT&T DSL POS and it takes hours to do anything.  I'm doing a download right now and it's gonna take 6 hours and 19 minutes to finish, if it doesn't disconnected and lose it as has happened already once this AM.  Resetting my iPad iOS took 18 hours and I had to hit 'Continue' every 20 minutes the entire time or it would erase the cache and I'd have to restart from scratch.  Cloud anything my foot.  No cable or fiber out here either, just old copper wire that sometimes rots and they dig it up and splice it in the mud (Like yesterday too.).  DJI probably got tired of waiting to poll it for info.  Also, my devices erase all stored cache at shutdown too, and I often use Autopilot over GO so good luck if they data snoop later.

I don't worry about it either and think it's sort'a cool stuck at at one as I know better.


2017-10-13
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Ryan's Sparky
Second Officer
Flight distance : 302316 ft
Norway
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thanks for the info, I have been using move as it was already installed on my MacBook when I bought it but I shall try some of these
2017-10-31
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Maxwhiteuv
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United States
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There are many video editor software that can help you edit your drone footages. But which is the best and free one? We gathered top 10 best free Drone Video Editor for beginners according to the editing features. You might be able to pick out the one you need. With the drone video editor below, you can edit all the drone videos.
Lightworks, Pavtube Video Converter, iMovie, Kdenlive, Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas Pro, AvideMux, Pavtube Media Magician, Cinelerra, Pavtube HD Video Converter for Mac.
2017-12-26
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ozaer
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Great post!  Those are awesome shots of PDX by the way....Id like to try some shots of the Fremont and Broadway to try editing.
2018-1-1
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vonbaron1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 42014 ft
United States
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As a old Photoshop person of many years,  this is good information for some grading choices.    Nice job.
2018-1-1
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louislitt
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India
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Loved the post bruh! But I'm afraid to say that you missed out some of the great ones, like mentioned here. Hope you add em to your list. Cheers.
2018-1-22
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madevintin1987
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United States
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Thank you for your share.  The following was I found on  Quora.com for your convenience.

Editing:

    Avid Media Composer: This is by far the most popular. Avid was one of the first digital NLE systems and managed to survive longer than most of the other options. Thanks to that, it's an industry standard.
    EditShare Lightworks: Lightworks was one of the original players alongside Avid, but it isn't quite as popular anymore as it used to be.
    Adobe Premiere: Premiere is more common for non-Hollywood productions, but some notable films such as 2016's Deadpool movie are edited using Premiere.
    Apple Final Cut: This one used to be bigger, but it fell out of favor. It's been becoming more popular recently among indie productions.

Compositing:

    The Foundry Nuke: Nuke is the industry standard for 3D compositing. You'll see it at use in virtually every Hollywood film, as well as in many TV shows.
    Adobe After Effects: After Effects is more common in the indie and broadcast world, but it is at use in minor ways in a lot of films.
    Blackmagic Fusion: Fusion used to be very popular as a 3D compositor in the broadcast industry, and it still is, but thanks to its acquisition by Blackmagic it's becoming more popular among Hollywood films.

Color Grading:

    Blackmagic Davinci Resolve and FilmLight Baselight: Everyone uses Resolve or Baselight, period. If ever there was an industry standard with an indestructible hold on Hollywood, it's those two. Maybe a couple major films ever have used SpeedGrade, other than that it's all Resolve or Baselight.

3D:

    Autodesk Maya: Maya is the most popular 3D tool in Hollywood. Most 3D artists are trained with Maya, and it's very commonly taught as a primary tool.
    Autodesk 3Ds Max: 3Ds Max is more common among smaller productions and in game production, but it is at use in many Hollywood films.
    Cinema 4D: Cinema 4D is more common in broadcast, but I'm sure it's at use in some Hollywood films. It's more stripped down than Maya or 3Ds Max though.
    Side Effects Houdini: Houdini is really good at modeling explosions and destruction. Odds are if you see buildings crumble on screen, Houdini is at work.
    The Foundry Modo: Modo is more of an obscure tool despite being the cousin of Nuke, but a lot of productions still make use of it.

Rendering:

    Pixar Renderman: Renderman was originally developed for fully 3D animation by Pixar, but it's pretty common for live action work as well.
    V-Ray: This is a popular GPU accelerated renderer.
    Mental Ray: Another popular renderer.
    A lot of VFX houses have their own in-house renderer at work; programming a render machine isn't actually that difficult (compared to, say, programming a 3D application).

You also mentioned Filmora. I found many people are using it to edit film too.

Besides, VirtualDub is a powerful free video editing software for Windows with many amazing features, such as compression, video splitting, and the addition of audio tracks. As a free movie editing software, it has batch-processing capabilities for dealing with large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters.
2018-2-2
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Leftyguy
Captain
Flight distance : 1282638 ft
United States
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Thanks for all the info
2018-2-15
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DJISparkie
Second Officer
Singapore
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For Mac users, here's a quick tutorial to get started using iMovie:
2018-2-20
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arianinspire1
lvl.1
Flight distance : 5564 ft

Argentina
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muy buena info!!!
2018-2-21
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Detective
lvl.1

Taiwan
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WOW, my favorite VSDC Free Video Editor was recommended, I do think it is the best alternative to Window Movie Maker. Recently, I have found that many stations have started writing articles about windows movie maker alternative. I don't know what the reason is, but I did read these articles. There are several articles written that are really good such as https://www.techradar.com/news/t ... e-maker-alternative
http://www.videoconverterfactory ... r-alternatives.html
https://www.lifewire.com/alterna ... movie-maker-4129529
share with you
2018-3-15
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keralaresultsnicin
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The Kerala State Education Board has successfully conducted the SSLC HSE Examinations in the month of March
<a href="https://keralaresultsnicin.org/">https://keralaresultsnicin.org/</a>
2018-3-28
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keralaresultsnicin
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keralaresultsnicin
2018-3-28
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Yiliayoung
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China
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Nina, good writing! What you list in this review can well fit for different users' needs. I appreciate all video editing tools you recommend to us, which are really popular and competitive. I don't know whether you know this free video trimmer. I have already used it for a long time, which can extract audio from video, cut and merge video at up to 60X faster speed. Maybe other friends here can try it as well. Of course, the above-mentioned programs enjoys high reputation actually.
2018-4-9
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djiuser_fdUCcyqs0lFU
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China
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Thanks for sharing. I'm using TunesKit Video Cutter to edit the Drone videos now. It's a comprehensive video editing tool for both Mac and Windows OS. The advantage of this software over others is that it's easier to use and it could preserve the original quality of the video upon export. In addition to cut, merge, it can also be used to edit, rotate, crop and convert the video clips. Maybe others who have such a editing need could give it a try.
2018-5-23
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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United States
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2018-7-5
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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water heater pressure switch
2018-7-5
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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2018-7-5
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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piezoelektrik deneyi
2018-7-5
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A CW
Captain
Flight distance : 11526437 ft
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Great post - very informative and well written. Thanks
2018-7-6
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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Especially like drones, really coolradix et rhizoma rhei
2018-7-6
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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I really like aerial psophora flavescens extracthotography, now the aerial drones are getting more and more powerful.
2018-7-6
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
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The aerial drone captain is getting more and more beautiful, hahahatrans cinnamaldehyde msds
2018-7-6
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djiuser_7PxDOmt6lOgS
lvl.1

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Very good battery life likesophora root tea
2018-7-6
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ivyllamb
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I'm using another video editor called VideoSolo Video Converter Ultimate, it has the simple editing function for the beginner who has an interest in editing video.
2018-7-24
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