The excitement in the online community over the launch of online video editor by YouTube is similar to the excitement that accompanied Picasa’s launch of online photo editing features some years back. Now users can use the online editor’s features to edit their YouTube videos easily and fast without having to depend on expensive and complex professional video editing programs.
The option can be accessed by users once they log-in their YouTube account. It shows up as a button above your video that says ‘Edit Video’. It can also be accessed by going to ‘My Uploaded Videos’, where it shows up under the video thumbnail along with the Edit Info and Insights options. Once you click on the edit video icon, the online editor loads. Here is a basic guide to what you can do with it and how.
The Preview Pane
The editor loads with the menu arranged in three tabs on the top and a preview pane under it. You can see the original video on the left and a Quick Preview on the right which shows you how it will look once you apply the changes and save the edited video. The video you select loads and starts playing by default in the launch version. You can stop it while you figure out what you want to do.
The first editing tab is Quick fixes. On the left, you have icons that let you trim, rotate and stabilize the video. On the right, after the I’m Feeling Lucky icon, you have icons for controlling fill light, contrast, saturation and color temperature.
Once you select the trim feature, the editor gives you a bracket that you can drag that is just like what you get on most professional video editing programs. With this you can reset the start and end points of the video.
The rotate icons let you rotate the video leftward or rightward, a feature especially useful for those mobile phone videos that you have to view sideways. The stabilize feature is a handy tool that helps you eliminate handheld camera shake.
Using advanced algorithms, it adjusts the video so that it looks much more stable. This feature worked very impressively even with videos with a lot of camera shake. There was loss of image quality with some portion of the frame lost to the stabilizing, but not to a very noticeable extent.
However, if you have edge-of-the-frame content, you may lose it while using this quick fix.
The four color correction icons come with sliders that get enabled once you click on them. You can manually increase or decrease any of the four image aspects.
The I’m Feeling Lucky is a single-click color correction tool that automatically selects an optimum editing setting and applies it to the video.
This tab lets you apply one of several filters to your video to give it a different feel. You can choose from Black & White, Sepia, Neon effect, pixilated, and cartoon effects among others. The effects and their names seem to follow the pattern of effects offered by Picknik, the online photo editing portal that Google acquired recently.
This is where you can swap the soundtrack on your uploaded video for one of the tracks available on YouTube. You can choose from a set of recommended tracks or search for one that matches the exact length of your video.
From the choices available, it is difficult to guess at the logic behind the recommendations.
Pros and Cons
There are a few if & but, as well as some pros and cons of the editor in its launch version. You cannot edit videos which have more than 1000 views already. You also cannot edit any video if there is any third party claim to any part of it.
This can happen if somebody uses the Content ID policy of YouTube to lay claim to any part or the whole of any of your videos. The effects and the audio features are more of cosmetic, and perhaps childish, enhancements rather than editing tools.
The processing time for the saved changes can frustrate you, especially if you want to make further edits soon after you have saved an edited video. The edited video takes a while to show up for others too, so that excited email announcing your newly edited video might not be as exciting to those who click the link to find your old unedited video.
The Save icon automatically takes you out of the editor, which can be unsettling to some users. On the positive side, there is a prominently positioned Revert to Original option all across the editor right near the Save icon.
For videos that have crossed the 1000 view count, you can still edit and Save As, but the edited video will get published with a new URL. The new video will not link to any of the comments or view counts of the original video. Links to the original video in such cases, naturally, will not reflect the edits.
The range of editing features offered might not match what professional programs contain, but the advantage of this editor is that you can apply basic fixes easily and quickly online. The stabilize algorithm is quite sophisticated and the output quality adequately compensates the framing loss that it involves.
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