Edit videos online: how to embrace YouTube's cloud

You don't always need special software to edit your movies

Edit videos online

Video editing isn't the quickest of tasks to do on your computer, and sometimes you just can't wait to get a video online for your friends and family to see. That's why YouTube has launched a video editing tool that lets you tweak your movies online and then upload them straight to the video-sharing site.

Now you don't have to wait until you get home to polish and publish your footage; you can use any machine with internet access to get your movie looking and sounding as good as possible.

The new YouTube Video Editor enables users to combine multiple existing pieces of footage to create a new, longer video. You can also trim the beginning or end of a clip to make it shorter and cut out unwanted material. You can even use the editor to add soundtracks, and there's one-click publishing to YouTube so you don't need to spend time re-uploading the newly edited clip. Let's get started!

Step-by-step: Edit a home movie on the fly

Get your videos looking and sounding great with YouTube's editing tools

1. Open the editor window

step 1

You need a YouTube account before you can edit your videos on the site. If you've already registered, just head over to www.youtube.com/editor and sign in with your username and password. If you don't have an account yet, go back to www.youtube.com and sign up first. Once you've logged in you'll notice that, like the rest of YouTube, the editor has a very clean look and is easy to navigate.

2. Name your video

step 2

Enter a title for the edited version of your video. Don't worry, this will not replace the original clips - the editor will create and publish a brand new video ready for uploading at the end. Once you're satisfied with the way your movie looks and don't want to change it any more, simply click on 'Publish' to complete the process. First, though, we need to upload our clips.

3. Upload clips

step 3

To get your videos onto YouTube so you can edit them, open up a new tab in your web browser and go to the Upload page. Hit the 'Upload' button and navigate to the video files on your computer, or drag and drop them onto the page from your desktop. The upload begins and you can view its progress at the top of the Upload window.

4. Make clips private

step 4

You're going to be uploading a few clips and combining them into a single video, so it's best to choose the 'Private' option from the privacy settings so people don't accidentally stumble across your work in progress. The default setting is 'Public'. You can also tag the clips while uploading them to make sure that you group them together in an easily identifiable way.

5. Browse clips

step 5

Once your clips have been uploaded successfully, go back to the Video Editor tab, refresh the page and you'll see your newly added videos all ready and waiting. Each clip is represented by a tiny thumbnail, and if you need to remind yourself of what each one contains, you can preview each one easily by clicking the 'Play' icon that appears when you hover over it.

6. Choose clips to edit

step 6

To begin editing and combining your uploaded video clips to create a new movie, you need to drag and drop them to the storyboard at the bottom of the page. You can also click on the '+' icon in the corner of each clip to add it to the storyboard. If you want to arrange your clips in a different order, simply drag and drop them around in the storyboard area.

7. Edit clips

step 7

Many of your clips probably contain portions of footage at the beginning and end that you can discard immediately. Move your mouse pointer over any of your clips on the storyboard and click the 'Cut' icon that appears (it looks like a pair of scissors). This opens the edit window. To cut a clip down, simply drag the trimmer bar at either end and move it to the appropriate place.