How to Use YouTube’s Online Video Editor

Not surprisingly, most of the videos uploaded to YouTube haven’t been edited at all. People like to shoot and post, even if that means leaving in a few dull spots or asking people to sit through shaky camerawork.

Finding themselves disappointed with the quality of videos on their own site, the people at YouTube have created a browser-based editor that easily works with uploaded videos. If you enjoy posting quick clips to your company’s YouTube channel and you find working with a desktop editing program too difficult or cumbersome, this might be the tool for you.

1. Choose Your Video

Start by logging into your YouTube account and opening the page that shows your uploaded videos. You’ll see a new option called “Edit video” underneath each one. Click it on the entry you want to edit.

2. Make Quick Fixes

After you make your selection, you’ll get the YouTube editing interface. It’s useful and simple, displaying the original and edited versions of your video side-by-side. Notice the tabbed interface along the top. You start out in the Quick Fixes tab. Clicking the Trim button calls up a simple timeline view where you can chop out dull beginnings or endings. Click the Done button after you’ve made your changes.

The Quick Fixes tab also lets you rotate your video, useful when someone has recorded vertical footage on their smartphone. One-button stabilization drastically removes the shakes from hand-held work. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button improves the lighting and color with one touch. You’ll also find controls for modifying the lighting, contrast, saturation, and color temperature. Any changes you make are instantly shown on-screen, so that you can compare your changes to the original.

3. Add Some Effects

YouTube includes a generous assortment of effects, used to give a particular look to your video. Click the Effects tab to see them. Choose from standards like black-and-white and sepia to far-out Lomo-ish (ultra-saturated colors) or Pixelate. If you don’t like what you’ve done, you can always undo it by clicking the Revert to Original button in the top right corner.

4. Get Legal Audio

There are a lot of silent videos on YouTube, videos that once had a soundtrack but ran into trouble by using someone else’s music. YouTube’s video editor adds in a useful soundtrack feature that lets anyone add royalty-free music to their videos. It will even suggest tracks to you.

5. Save Your Work

When you’re finished, click the Save/Save As button in the top right corner. YouTube saves your original video and all the comments and ratings associated with it, so you can always revert back later, if you want. If your video has over 1,000 views, you’ll only see the Save As option to create a new version.

For more on the editor, watch YouTube’s own introductory video below.


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  1. Thank you for posting this concise and practical video and article.
    As somebody who is a better viewer than editor, I found it clear and informative.

    Posted by Eric | September 17, 2011, 3:22 pm
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