How to Use YouTube's Free Online Video Editor
Wait...YouTube has a Free Video Editor?
Believe it or not, the YouTube video editor has been around since September 2011. When it was first released it was somewhat limited, but over the years it has grown to become a versatile, free video editor. It works great on Macs, PCs and Chromebooks, and if you are working on a mobile device you can take advantage of the app version too. Here's a look at what it can do for you and your online videos.
Why Use the YouTube Editor?
The YouTube Editor is not the most powerful editor you will ever use. However, it is free, and it includes the basic editing tools you need to make a professional looking video. It is also an online tool, so you can use it anywhere you have an internet connection, and on any computer that you have access to.
The editor is easy to use, and most people can quickly get to grips with the mechanics of how to edit video in YouTube. You also have some awesome sharing options built-in, and of course it doesn't hurt to have the largest and most popular video sharing site in the world to host your video.
A Video Editing Workflow
To get started, you need to login to your YouTube account and upload the clips that you want to use in the editor. You can do that by clicking the upload button in the top right-hand corner of YouTube, or by going to http://youtube.com/upload.
The next step is optional, but certainly worth thinking about. When you upload your raw footage, you may want to mark it as Private or Unlisted. This prevents it from being publicly searchable inside of YouTube or in search engines. Why would you want to do this? There may be parts that you want to edit out before it is ready for public viewing. Setting your privacy settings on each video to Private or Unlisted is a good way to draw the curtain over your video until you are ready to unveil it in its finished form!
Once your clips are uploaded, you can head over to the YouTube editor, but it is harder to find than you might think. Here's how to find it:
- Click your profile picture in the top right-hand corner
- Click YouTube Studio
- Click Videos from the sidebar on the left-hand side
- Select the video you would like to edit by clicking its title
- On the Video Details screen, click Video Editor in the sidebar
How to Upload to a Video to YouTube
How to Trim the Beginning or End of Videos
Sometimes all you need to do to improve your video in an editor is to trim a little off the beginning or end of your movie. Thankfully, YouTube makes that easy and intuitive in the new YouTube video editor.
- Click the blue Trim button above the timeline of your video
- Hover your cursor over the beginning or end of your video until it turns into two horizontal arrows
- Click and drag the blue bar at either end of the video to trim it
- Click Preview to see the results of your edits. You can preview your changes by hovering your cursor over the video preview and clicking the play button
- If you want to adjust the trim points, click Edit Trim, otherwise, click Save in the top right-hand corner to save your edits
Splitting and Removing Clips
When you split a video in the YouTube editor, you can remove a section from the middle of your video. This is most often used to erase mistakes or to shorten the overall length of a video. To split your media, you use the same controls that you use to trim a video. Here's what you need to know.
- Click the blue Trim button above the timeline of your video
- Move the white, playhead bar to the point in your video where you would like to make your first cut
- Click Split on the blue bar at the bottom of your screen.
- Move the white, playhead bar to the point where you would like your video to resume after it has skipped the portion of video you want to remove
- Click Preview to see the results of your edits. You can preview your changes by hovering your mouse over the video preview and clicking the play button.
- If you want to adjust your split points, click Edit Trim, otherwise, click Save in the top right-hand corner to save your edits
How to Trim and Split Video in YouTube
Add Music to Your Videos
YouTube has a great library of free music that you can use in your videos. It's available for anyone to use, and there is a huge variety of styles and genres for you to choose from. Best of all, you can add it directly from the YouTube editor. Here's how.
- Click the drop-down arrow next to the music icon in your timeline to expand the audio track
- Click the +Audio link to open the YouTube Audio Library in a new tab
- Click on the Genre tab or the Mood tab to filter through the available music
- Click the play button next to any track to preview it
- When you find the track you want, click Add to Video
By default, the music track that you select will overwrite any audio in your video. This includes spoken dialogue. However, you should see a slider next to your video called Audio Saturation. If you move this slider to the left, you will lower the volume of the music track so that the original audio in your video can still be heard. Once you have the music you want, and have adjusted the volume level to your liking, click Save Changes.
Quick Tips for Using the YouTube Editor
- Don't forget about the Undo and Redo buttons that are handily placed in the top left-hand corner above your video preview. You can also use the keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl/Cmd + Z or Ctrl/Cmd + Y.
- Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, you can see a full list of keyboard combos for the YouTube editor by clicking the three dots next to the Save button. From here, you can click Keyboard Shortcuts to reveal dozens of great shortcuts.
- The slider next to the magnifying glasses on the right hand side will let you zoom in and out of your video timeline. This can be very helpful for making precise trims or splits in your video.
- Ever wondered how YouTuber creators put those thumbnail images at the end of a video for you to click on and watch more of their content? Click Add An End Screen in the YouTube editor to create your own. You can choose any video from your channel, or pick from other videos on YouTube.
How to Share YouTube Videos
How to Edit YouTube Video on Smartphones
While YouTube's online video editor is convenient for Mac, PCs and Chromebooks, it won't work as well on your phone. Thankfully, the YouTube mobile app includes some options of its own. You can record video from inside the YouTube app, or upload something you have already recorded. Here's how it works.
- Open the YouTube app
- Tap the Camera icon in the top right-hand corner
- If prompted, allow YouTube access to your photos and videos
- Tap Record to start a new video, or choose from your existing videos at the bottom of the screen.
When you have chosen the video you need, you will see three options on the bottom of your screen that can be used to make edits to your video. They include:
- Scissors: Trim the beginning or end of your video
- Wand: Add a color filter to your video
- Music note: Add a music track to your video. After you have selected a song, tap the sliders to the right of the song title to adjust the volume level of the music.
There are less options for editing your video on the mobile app, compared to the web version, but you can always log in to YouTube later on a Mac or PC to make some more edits if you need to.
It might not always be your first choice, but if you take the time to learn how to use the YouTube video editor, you will soon appreciate the power and convenience that a tool like this offers. It's easy enough for both kids and adults to use, and it's freely available on the web as part of the world's largest video sharing website. So, the next time you need to edit some video, take a look at this handy online video editor. It does more than you might think, and if you need them, more options are available in the free video editor that is built-in to Windows 10.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
The only downside is that once your video is published, it doesn't seem possible to make any significant edits, such as adding a forgotten scene or changing words in the narrative. Do you know of any work-arounds to achieve post-publish edits?
You are correct. YouTube does not allow for many post edit changes. The best you can do is remove the video and upload a new version. This is not ideal because it changes the URL, but that is about all they allow you to do.Helpful 9
© 2014 Jonathan Wylie