Since its initial launch in early 2005, YouTube has really taken over the multimedia aspect of the web. With over 100 million users each month, equating to 1/5 of the world’s internet users, it is clear that YouTube is the place to broadcast your content to an already-established audience.
They’ve recently launched a new online video editor that allows any YouTube user to create mashups and montages of their existing videos. In this article, I’ll be detailing the process of how to use this, as well as voicing my opinions on the whole process in general.
To complement their world-renowned video hosting and broadcasting service, they have recently developed an in-browser video editing application for the exact reasons I have mentioned above. Though not feature-rich, it is something that gets the job done with minimal effort and direct publishing to YouTube. They have clearly identified a flaw in the workflow for amateur film-makers that may not have the skills (or funding) to use industry-standard non-linear editing applications to organise and mix their clips. The time-efficient solution allows any YouTuber to simply cut their clips without the need for any additional software.
One of the first things you’ll notice when launching the YouTube Video Editor is its clean and purpose-built user-interface. The application is split into three main sections:
- The Media section – This is where you will see thumbnails of your existing YouTube videos as well as a tab for using YouTube’s AudioSwap library to replace copyrighted audio in your composition with a select (and quite limited) library of music that YouTube provides to avoid facing any copyright issues in the future.
- The Preview pane – This consists of a minimal YouTube-style player that allows you to preview the current timeline as it would appear on YouTube.
- The Timeline – Located along the bottom of the page and underneath the above two sections, this is a clip-based timeline where you will find the contents of the current compliation you are editing with YouTube Video Editor.
To create your first online-edited video with the Editor, you should first select the videos you would like to edit from the Media section and either drag them into the Timeline or click the little plus sign in the top-right corner of the thumbnail to add it to the Timeline. It doesn’t matter which order you place them in as it’s really simple to rearrange them by merely dragging each clip to a position in the Timeline based on the order you want them to play in.
If you fear that your video’s soundtrack may be infringing copyright laws, you can use YouTube’s AudioSwap service to add a different track to the Timeline that will play throughout and replace any of the videos’ audio. This can also be useful if you are cutting together a simple montage but don’t have the patience nor the time to withstand usual non-linear editing applications’ rendering times.
Editing the Shots
Now that you’ve got your desired clips secured in the Timeline, it is now time to cut them as you see fit. On the Timeline you will find thumbnails of all of the clips you have added. As you hover over them an icon consisting of a pair of scissors will appear and you can click this to begin editing that particular clip.
The features in the Clip Editor are pretty basic and all it really does is allow you to cut down excerpts of videos that you have already uploaded. However, this could be extremely useful if you would like to make a montage or something on the fly and you don’t have the skills, software or hardware to do so in the conventional way.
To edit clips, it is merely a case of setting the in and out point of each video. To do this, you must drag the bars at either side of the clip in the Clip Editor Timeline to set a point where you want the new clip to start and end. Once you are done, it is simply a case of pressing “Save” to update the clip in the main Timeline.
You can do this for all clips you want to use and if you’re using AudioSwap with your compilation, it will cut down the audio to fit in with the length of the final Timeline of video.
Publishing to YouTube
Once you have completed your new video, it is now time to publish it to YouTube. Inside the Preview pane, there is an input field that allows you to name your new composition and then publish it straight to YouTube. Once you’ve done this, your video will then begin the process and you can edit the more finer details.
The great thing about editing with YouTube is that you don’t need to manually upload the video and push bandwidth limits. Because the new and edited video is already hosted on the YouTube servers, it’s simply a case of changing the description and other details and you’re away.
Overall, I believe that YouTube has done a good job at taking a common problem and developing a zero-effort solution to it. Though the video editor is extremely basic and could never be taken seriously as a long-term solution, it is useful for those occasional times when you need to trim down your videos fast.
With some more features such as the ability to upload other videos and audio, this application would be perfect for those who want to edit on the fly and in the cloud. It has potential to be a great application if the right tools were added and the features allowed a bit more control but as it is, it doesn’t feel complete.
With faults aside, it is a quaint little application that isn’t built on Adobe Flash but still appears to herald some of the functionality of Flash applications. Good work, YouTube!
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