There are plenty of video editors out there, and we already have a big list for Windows, macOS and Linux. However, if you want to do a simple edit, they can be overkill. If you’re uploading your video to YouTube, why not use YouTube’s own video editor? It’s sparse on features, but it’s a good option if you want to do bare-bones editing.
Let’s explore what the YouTube video editor can and can’t do and how to use it.
What the YouTube Video Editor Can and Can’t Do
The editor can:
- Trim the beginning and end of videos
- Cut out parts of a video
- Add royalty-free music
- Add an end card for your channel
- Blur out areas or faces
The editor can’t:
- Import other videos to add to your current project
- Add special effects or transitions
- Use custom music that you upload
- Slow down or speed up the footage
- Add text or graphics
As you can see, the YouTube Video Editor is quite bare-bones. It used to host more advanced features, but these days, it’s only good for cutting down a single video and adding music that won’t get you in trouble with copyright law.
How to Use the YouTube Video Editor
To start, access the YouTube website, click on your avatar at the top right, and click “YouTube Studio.”
At the top right, click “Create,” then “Upload videos.”
Now, drag your video to the window or select it by clicking “select files.” Don’t worry, you’re not publishing the video just yet. It will remain private and in Draft mode until you tell YouTube to publish it.
While YouTube processes your video, feel free to edit the relevant information in the details page.
Once you get to the third stage called “Visibility,” click the cross at the top right. This will keep the video in a draft state until you’re happy with your video.
Now that your video is uploaded, hover your mouse over its title, then click the YouTube icon that appears.
You’ll see your video’s page. Again, because the video is in draft mode, it’s not public for anyone to see, so don’t worry about it.
Under the video and beneath the like and dislike buttons, click “Edit Video.”
Then, on the left, click “Editor.”
You’ll be taken to a video editor where you can tweak your video.
You’ll see four bars underneath the video. These are where you’ll edit the video to make it yours. They’re a little complicated, so let’s explore each one in turn.
The Four Tracks in the YouTube Video Editor
Your video has four ways you can edit it. The camera icon is the video you uploaded. The musical note is the music track which will play along with your video. The box within a box is the end card, and the dotted grid is the blur function.
Using the Video Track
If you haven’t touched the editor yet, the video track will be the only one with content. This is where you can trim the video so you can get rid of any footage you don’t need.
To edit the video track, click “Trim” above all the tracks.
A blue box will appear around all the tracks. This box shows you what will be kept in the final video. Everything in the blue box will stay, and anything outside and grayed-out are will be cut.
To cut off the beginning and/or end of a video, adjust the box by dragging the sides until it covers what you want to keep.
However, this isn’t useful if you want to trim a part from the middle. If you want to do this, click on the track at the start of where you want to make a cut. After a white line appears, click “Split.”
This will split the blue box in two from the point you clicked. Now, drag the second blue box so that its leftmost side is just after the part you want to cut.
When you’re done, click “Preview” to commit the changes. Then, click at the start of the tracks and press play on the video to see your changes.
You can click “Edit Trim” to tweak your trims, “Discard Changes” at the top right to bin all your edits, or “Save” next to the discard changes button if it all looks good.
Using the Music Track
To use the music track, click on the arrow next to the note icon, then click “+ Audio.”
YouTube will then give you a library of royalty-free music to choose from. Use the search feature to find something you want, and the play button beside each song title to preview it.
When you find the right one, click “Add to video” beside the song.
Do note that YouTube has to churn through this edit, so your video will be uneditable while it adds your music.
Using the End Screen Track
If you’ve ever seen a subscribe button, recommended videos, or the uploader’s profile picture at the end of a video, that’s an end screen. You can use the end screen track to add your own.
Click the “+” button next to the end screen icon, then select what you want to add. Templates are a good choice if you want something professional-looking without having to fiddle around with elements.
The end card will appear on the track. You can drag the edges to reduce the time the card is on-screen or move it around the gray track to make it appear sooner or later. However, you can’t move the card outside of the gray track that YouTube gives you.
Using the Blur Track
Finally, there is the Blur track. This is a powerful tool that lets you blur out a face or something on-screen. To use it, click “Add Blur” on the blur track.
You can choose to either blur out a face or an object. Click the one you want. If you choose to blur faces, YouTube will process the video for any faces, then allow you to blur the ones you don’t want to show.
If you choose to blur a custom region, you can use a blur editor to move the video to the point where you want blurring to occur. Then, click on the item that needs censoring. YouTube will automatically track that object in the video and move the blur to censor it.
Like the music, adding a blur takes YouTube time to do. As such, you can’t edit the video until YouTube finishes blurring your video.
Publishing the Video
Once you’re done, save the video and head back to your YouTube studio. On the “Videos” section, click on “Edit Draft” to the right of your video.
Go to “Visibility” and select the level of visibility you want to set. Then, click “Save.”
Your video is now out in the wild!
While the YouTube Video Editor isn’t particularly powerful, it can do some basic editing to fine-tune your video before it reaches the public.
Other than videos, YouTube also allows you to upload and listen to your own music.