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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Edit your videos right in YouTube and keep your video IDs



screen_shot_2011-09-15_at_12.10.24_am.pngYouTube, the largest video sharing site on the Internet, now has real-time video editing. Not only can you trim the ends, swap out the soundtrack, adjust the light and color, stabilize shaky clips, add an effect and change the audio track, but you can do all this without changing your original video and maintain your original video number. If this feels like one of those "too good to be true" moments go ahead and pinch yourself, because it's true.


The editing tools are really easy to use with "Original" and "Quick Preview" windows to see the changes you're making in real time. For lighting and color balance corrections there is an "I'm Feeling Lucky" button that automatically adjusts the video for you. For better control you can use manual buttons for light, saturation, contrast and color temperature. You also can add special effects, like black and white, sepia, old-fashioned, cartoon and others. Audio controls are limited to a complete swap of the audio track using a provided library of music. And for all the people out there who use their smartphones to shoot vertical videos you'll find rotate tools so you can spin your clips to non-head-tilting mode. Someone say hallelujah!


The really cool thing about all this is that the editing is non-destructive. You can always hit the "Revert to Original" button to return your video to it's original state and even if you save your edit you can revert that too. Saving an edited video does not replace it so your YouTube video number is retained. You also can do a "save as" to save your edits as new videos and try out multiple versions. One caveat, however, is that popular videos with more than 1,000 views and videos with third-party content can only be saved as new videos once edited. Check out YouTube software engineer John Gregg's blog post with all the details.

For most people these video editing tools are going to be great and will provide everything they need. I'm a video editor though, so I see the potential of this and would love to see the following features added in the near future:

  • Better audio controls, including multi-track audio with the ability to adjust volume on each track
  • Multi-clip editing with simple transitions
  • Superimposed titling
  • The ability to record narration or a voice-over straight into YouTube

An online video editing site named JayCut has many of the tools I'm wishing for already, although I found their interface to be very buggy when I tested it earlier this year. YouTube has another video editor in their TestTube labs that does let you use multiple video clips and an audio track, but it really only creates a mashup and not a true, edited video. This new YouTube editor is off to a great start and works very well so far, so hopefully they will be able to build on it soon.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:02am]


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