The Complete Guide To Editing Videos With The New YouTube Video Editor

Yesterday YouTube made a pretty big announcement—you can now edit your videos directly inside of YouTube. The new YouTube editing service lets you trim your videos, adjust levels, add effects, swap your soundtrack and more. We’ll take you through all the new features here.

Last week YouTube made a pretty big announcement—you can now edit your videos directly inside of YouTube.  The new YouTube editing service lets you trim your videos, adjust levels, add effects, swap your soundtrack and more.  We’ll take you through all the new features here.

Of course, the idea of editing video inside of YouTube isn’t new—the YouTube Video Editor has been around for a while.  However, the previous video editing service allowed you to create mashups and remixes of your videos to create an entirely new video with a different ID and URL.  As of yesterday, YouTube has launched a new ‘Edit Video’ feature that lets you edit and tweak single videos and save them, keeping the same video ID and URL.

Ready to see how it works?  Let’s get started!  Check out the video below and then read on for a rundown of all the ins and outs of YouTube’s new video editor.

Getting Started

To get started, go to the video page of the video that you want to edit.  You’ll notice a new button at the top of the page next to ‘Edit Info’ that says, ‘Edit Video’.  Click on it and it will take you to the new YouTube Edit interface.  It may be a good idea to head to your YouTube account now and follow along with one of your videos as we go through all the different features.

Quick Fixes

The main page of the editor is a section called ‘Quick Fixes’, which provides some simple tweaks that can make your video look a whole lot better.


While you can’t cut up your video into pieces and change it around, you can trim the ends.  If you’ve got a video with a lot of downtime at the beginning or at the end, this can be a great way to shorten your clip down to the interesting part in the middle.  If your viewer has to wait at the beginning of your video, there’s a good chance he’ll stop watching.  By trimming your clip you can keep your viewers glued to the screen.

To use this feature, simply click the ‘Trim’ button and then drag the brackets to the positions where you would like your video to begin and end.  And no worries—if you want to go back later and put back the part that you trimmed off, you can do it at any time.


You can also rotate your video, which is great for footage that was shot sideways—a common occurrence on mobile devices.  To rotate, simply click the rotate arrows to rotate your video to the left or to the right, 90 degrees at a time.


The stabilizer function is definitely one of the most useful features of the editor.  If you’ve shot your video without a tripod, odds are that the footage is a bit shaky.  Clicking the stabilizer button removes all those shaky camera motions.  To find out more about image stabilization on YouTube, click here to read our post about YouTube’s partnership with Green Parrot Pictures, and check out the before and after videos below to see just how awesome YouTube’s image stabilizer is!

Lighting and Color

On the right size, you’ll find a series of buttons that let you adjust the lighting and color of your video.  These include the fill light, or brightness of your video; the contrast; the saturation, or how much your colors pop; and the color temperature, which can be a nice way to correct the blue or yellow tint that often occurs if you don’t white balance your camera.  You may want to play around with these a bit on your own, to get a better sense of how they work and what they are capable of.

You can also opt to click the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button and the lighting and color will be adjusted for you, automatically.  I actually tried out the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button and the results seemed to be pretty good.


In the second tab of the editor you have the option to add all sorts of effects to your video, sort of like how you can add effects to your photographs with Instagram.  There are currently 14 different effects to choose from, including black and white, sepia, cartoon, old-fashioned and more.  Check out all the different effects in the picture below.

Again, don’t worry if you put an effect on your video and decide later that you don’t like it.  You can always click the ‘Revert to Original’ button to go back to your original video footage.


The final tab of the editor is the Audio tab.  Here you can swap out the audio track of your video with music from the YouTube library.  Note that if you do this then you won’t be able to hear the original audio track at all, so if you have people talking or sound effects in your original video you won’t be able to hear them.  You also can’t adjust or fade the soundtrack that you add to your video.  Pretty much, what you hear is what you get.

You can search for available tracks with keywords, with the option of showing results that are similar in length to the length of your video, or you can click ‘Get recommended tracks’.  From what I can tell, tracks seem to be recommended based upon their length compared to the length of your video.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the audio feature, but it can be a nice way to brighten up your video if you’ve got a video with nothing but ambient noise and background sound.

You may be wondering why you can’t upload and add new footage to your videos or move things around.  I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that you keep the same video ID and URL.  Let’s say you uploaded a cute video about dogs that was embedded on and linked to from all sorts of puppy blogs.  Imagine if you could upload and add new footage to that video that turned it into some sort of disgusting pro-fur campaign.  By only letting you work with the original content, these types of situations are avoided.

What do you think of the new YouTube video editor?  Feel free to share your thoughts, along with any videos you make with the new editor, in the comments below!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.