Edit videos online: how to embrace YouTube's cloud

27th Oct 2013 | 13:01

Edit videos online: how to embrace YouTube's cloud

You don't always need special software to edit your movies

Video editing isn't the quickest of tasks to do on your computer, and sometimes you just can't wait to get a video online for your friends and family to see. That's why YouTube has launched a video editing tool that lets you tweak your movies online and then upload them straight to the video-sharing site.

Now you don't have to wait until you get home to polish and publish your footage; you can use any machine with internet access to get your movie looking and sounding as good as possible.

The new YouTube Video Editor enables users to combine multiple existing pieces of footage to create a new, longer video. You can also trim the beginning or end of a clip to make it shorter and cut out unwanted material. You can even use the editor to add soundtracks, and there's one-click publishing to YouTube so you don't need to spend time re-uploading the newly edited clip. Let's get started!

Step-by-step: Edit a home movie on the fly

Get your videos looking and sounding great with YouTube's editing tools

1. Open the editor window

step 1

You need a YouTube account before you can edit your videos on the site. If you've already registered, just head over to www.youtube.com/editor and sign in with your username and password. If you don't have an account yet, go back to www.youtube.com and sign up first. Once you've logged in you'll notice that, like the rest of YouTube, the editor has a very clean look and is easy to navigate.

2. Name your video

step 2

Enter a title for the edited version of your video. Don't worry, this will not replace the original clips - the editor will create and publish a brand new video ready for uploading at the end. Once you're satisfied with the way your movie looks and don't want to change it any more, simply click on 'Publish' to complete the process. First, though, we need to upload our clips.

3. Upload clips

step 3

To get your videos onto YouTube so you can edit them, open up a new tab in your web browser and go to the Upload page. Hit the 'Upload' button and navigate to the video files on your computer, or drag and drop them onto the page from your desktop. The upload begins and you can view its progress at the top of the Upload window.

4. Make clips private

step 4

You're going to be uploading a few clips and combining them into a single video, so it's best to choose the 'Private' option from the privacy settings so people don't accidentally stumble across your work in progress. The default setting is 'Public'. You can also tag the clips while uploading them to make sure that you group them together in an easily identifiable way.

5. Browse clips

step 5

Once your clips have been uploaded successfully, go back to the Video Editor tab, refresh the page and you'll see your newly added videos all ready and waiting. Each clip is represented by a tiny thumbnail, and if you need to remind yourself of what each one contains, you can preview each one easily by clicking the 'Play' icon that appears when you hover over it.

6. Choose clips to edit

step 6

To begin editing and combining your uploaded video clips to create a new movie, you need to drag and drop them to the storyboard at the bottom of the page. You can also click on the '+' icon in the corner of each clip to add it to the storyboard. If you want to arrange your clips in a different order, simply drag and drop them around in the storyboard area.

7. Edit clips

step 7

Many of your clips probably contain portions of footage at the beginning and end that you can discard immediately. Move your mouse pointer over any of your clips on the storyboard and click the 'Cut' icon that appears (it looks like a pair of scissors). This opens the edit window. To cut a clip down, simply drag the trimmer bar at either end and move it to the appropriate place.

8. Frame by frame

step 8

When you're cutting your clips, you'll notice that there are arrows above and below the line of the trimmer tool. You can use these to nudge your video along frame by frame, and fine-tune your cuts so they're just right. Click the arrows to nudge a frame either forward or back. You can do this on the trimmer line at either the start or end of the timeline.

9. Add back to project

step 9

While you're editing one of your clips with the trimmer, you'll see a real-time preview of it above. To play your newly edited clip in full, click on the 'Play' button. When you've finished editing bits out and you're satisfied that you've got it just right, choose 'Save' on the bottom left of the panel and your clip will be returned to the storyboard in its freshly edited form.

10. Preview combined clips

step 10

If you click the 'Play' button on the main window on the right-hand side of the editor, the clips in the storyboard will be played seamlessly one after the other to show you what your complete movie will look like. You can use this to preview the video at any stage, but it's likely you'll have to do a little more editing on each clip first to get the results you want.

11. Search for audio

step 11

When you've cut down video segments and pieced them together to make a longer movie, the results might look great, but you'll probably end up with discordant sections of audio. With the YouTube Video Uploader, you can add a new soundtrack in a flash. Select the Audio tab and you're shown over 500 audio snippets to choose from. Use the search bar above to find music you want.

12. Add audio

step 12

If you want to hear a preview of any of the audio tracks before you add it to your movie, simply hit the 'Play' icon that appears to the right of the track when you hover your mouse over it. If you find a piece of audio you like, click and drag it to the audio area of the storyboard (just below your collection of video clips) or press the '+' icon to add the track to your movie.

13. Final edits

step 13

To finish off your YouTube video, you need to arrange your clips into the right sequence. You can re-order the clips at any time in the storyboard just by dragging and moving them into a different order. Bear in mind that the finished movie needs to be under 10 minutes in length before you can save it and upload it to YouTube, so it pays to be quite selective with your editing.

14. Publish your movie

step 14

When you're satisfied that your movie looks and sounds as good as it can, click the 'Publish' button to begin the upload. You'll see a new screen where you can edit some details, including the title and any tags you want to add. You can also geotag the video using the map on the right-hand side of the page. Simply choose a date, time and location, then click 'Save'.

15. Let your friends know

step 15

The Publish screen also has a field labelled 'Broadcasting and Sharing Options'. This is where you can change your video's privacy settings (either Public or Private) and invite contacts to watch it directly by sending them a message. When you do this, you'll be presented with a window where you can write a short message explaining your video invitation.

16. It's showtime!

step 16

Congratulations! You've just made your first YouTube-edited video and uploaded it for the world (or just your friends) to watch and admire. Your YouTube contacts should be able to view it, and they can also press the 'Like' button to give their seal of approval. If you make a video public, you can also use the 'Like' button to gauge how well your video has been received.

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