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Editing YouTube Videos Made Easy: A Beginner’s Guide to Professional-Quality Content

Published August 11, 2023

Starting off on YouTube can be daunting to most. After all, when you look at the success and the video quality of some of the best content creators on the platform, it’s easy to become intimidated. Some new YouTubers have issues with monetizing their items, while others still struggle with how to upload what they’ve got. Luckily, there are articles online that can greatly help with every aspect of video making and get potential YouTube stars off the ground.

This particular article will, therefore, help you out with one major aspect of YouTube video making, i.e., the editing phase. With the exception of certain live streams and spontaneous selfie mode recordings, the vast majority of high-end YouTube content is edited in some capacity. Sometimes the edits are minor, with a mere addition of an effect or a jump cut here and there. Other times, the edits can be exceptionally extensive, like in an average Internet Historian video. But no matter the length or its contents, a YouTube video will require proper editing, and we’re here to help explain how exactly you can achieve that.

Using YouTube Studio

As a platform with millions of videos and just as many content creators, YouTube provides a free-to-use video editor that’s easily accessible and easy to maneuver. The editor is aptly titled YouTube Studio, and if you’re a complete beginner when it comes to video editing, it will be of great help to you going forward.

So, without further ado, here’s a brief step-by-step guide to using YouTube Studio when fiddling around with video content.

Step #1: Sign In

This one is fairly simple. Log in to your YouTube account and then pick the Your Videos option.

Step #2: Click Content

If you’re using your desktop, the Content tab should be located in the YouTube Studio; it’s the second one on the right sidebar, right underneath Dashboard. However, Android and iOS users will find the tab at the bottom.

Step #3: Pick a Video

Once you’re in the Content section, you’ll see all of the videos you currently have uploaded. All you have to do is tap on the thumbnail of the video you want to edit.

While we’re here, let’s quickly go over the video formats. Broadly speaking, YouTube as a platform supports a broad range of different types of videos, including but not limited to:

  • .MPEG-1
  • .MPEG-2
  • .MPEG4
  • .AVI
  • .WMV
  • .MPEGPS
  • WebM
  • DNxHR
  • ProRes
  • CineForm
  • HEVC (h265).

Generally, any of these formats will do, and you’ll be able to edit them without much difficulty, even in YouTube Studio. However, if you want the highest quality that’s most compatible with the platform itself, go with .MPEG4. It offers the biggest range of high-definition options and is relatively easy to maneuver in. Furthermore, the image quality is the best, even at lower resolutions.

Of course, if you already have a high-definition video in a different format, you can always use third-party sources to convert it to .MPEG4 without losing its quality. In fact, some of those pages are available online for everyone to use. However, if you opt for online converters, you might have to wait a little longer, depending on your upload rate and connection stability. Just to be safe, download some video editing software that will get the job done.

Step #4: Find the Editor

In YouTube Studio, the Editor tab is found in the left sidebar. After you’ve selected the video you want to edit, select Details and tap the Editor option.

Once you’re in the Editor, the entire video’s timeline will be presented to you, alongside a few basic tools. For example, there will be a magnify tool in the top right corner, as well as several video and audio options in the top left corner.

Step #5: Trimming (Beginnings and Ends of Videos)

Let’s focus on those top-left corner tools. There are a total of six: Trim & Cut, Blur, Audio, End Screen, Info Cards, and Ad Breaks.

Under the Trim & Cut option, by clicking on the “+” option, you can trim the beginning and the end of the video by dragging the end borders to a desired spot. If you can’t pinpoint the exact moment where you want your video to start or finish, use the magnify tool to enlarge the timeline. If you’re unsure of how it will look when cut, click on the Preview button and play the cut version. Once you’re satisfied with the result, click Save.

Step #6: Trimming (Anywhere in the Video)

When you enter the Trim & Cut segment, you’ll see an option called New Cut. That will help you in removing segments of your video that are not near the beginning or the end.

In order to achieve that, first click on the start point of the segment you want to remove. When you do, click on the New Cut option. You will see red border sliders appear. Move the endpoint (i.e., the right slider) to the last second of the portion you want to cut out. When you do, click on the check button right above the sliders, and you’ll be done.

Step #7: Adding an End Screen

If you want your viewers to click on your other videos and explore more of your content, then end screens are the way to go. In the Editor, find the End Screen option and click Edit. YouTube will offer you three options:

  • Most recent upload (i.e., the newest video in your feed);
  • Best for the viewer (YouTube automatically picks a video based on your library and the topic);
  • Your own choice (i.e., any video you pick).

Furthermore, the Element prompt offers you some additional options to add near the end of the video: Video, Playlist, Subscribe, Channel, and Link.

Other Software Options for YouTube Edits

YouTube Studio is great for some basic video edits, but it can’t go into the nitty-gritty if you want some more elaborate work done. For that, you’ll have to look at different video editing software.

Depending on what operating system you use, you can try some of the native software they have to offer, such as the Windows 10 Photos app, the Windows 11 Clipchamp app, and the Apple macOS iMovie. Of course, if you don’t mind investing a little money when it comes to video editors, you can check out some popular options like Lightworks, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premier Rush, and Riverside. With smart devices, you’ll want to look at apps like InShot, ActionDirector, and GoPro Quik.

Naturally, most beginner YouTubers won’t have the monetary means to afford a paid video editing service. Luckily, there are lots of free video editors out there, like NeoFilm Express, Movie Maker 10, FilmForth, and PowerDirector 365 (for Windows) or Movavi Video Editor, OpenShot, and DaVinci Resolve (for Mac). Granted, some of these have both free and paid variants, but ultimately you will get the same result even with the free version.

Tips and Tricks on Video Editing

When trimming and cutting the new videos, you’ll need to make sure that the final product attracts as many eyeballs to it as possible. That will include making each aspect of the video, from its audio and visual effects to its description, appealing to the crowd. So, in order to achieve that, we recommend you peruse the following tips and tricks.

Thumbnail Selection

More often than not, an enticing thumbnail will be what draws the viewer in. With that in mind, pick a thumbnail that perfectly encapsulates the topic you’re going to cover in the video. However, don’t make it too clickbait-like or gaudy, as it can drive the viewer away.

SEO Optimization

In order to be successful, your video has to rank high within search engine results. Therefore, you will want to optimize your titles, video descriptions, and even pinned comments to current SEO standards. Furthermore, make sure to include popular keywords and hashtags to broaden your scope.

Quality Audio

Audio quality is a frequent issue, even with seasoned YouTubers. It helps if you have an external microphone with lots of sound-dampening equipment. If possible, make sure to record high-quality audio and insert it into the video as a replacement for the original audio wherever necessary.

Tracking the Analytics

Once you’re done with the upload, keep track of the video’s analytics over the course of a week. That way, you can ascertain which parts of the video were good and which ones you’ll need to look out for in the future.

B-Rolls

Aside from your main footage, always include a few B-rolls, as they will make each video flow better. Not only does it break the main story for easier viewing, but it can also provide depth and detail through some breathtaking footage.

Back Up Each Video

Quite often, YouTube can have a glitch that can remove certain videos from your channel. Alternatively, a bad faith DMCA strike can affect your upload, and you might have to get rid of videos you’d worked hard on. If you don’t want your content to be lost forever, always keep an archival copy of a video on an external hard drive, just to be on the safe side.

Social Media Cross-Promotion

It goes without saying that you will want to promote your new videos everywhere. Therefore, use social media websites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to direct people to your vids.

Keep a Consistent Schedule

It can be once every two weeks, it can be twice a day, but always make sure that your upload is consistent. The more frequently you upload at the same intervals, the more likely it is that the algorithm will push you forward.

Research

Even when you hit the big time, always research your competitors and even other channels unrelated to your niche. Observe how they edit their videos, what the audiences like to see, and what visual identity you need to adopt going forward. Like everything else, the tastes of the audiences change, and what might be a popular video editing technique today can be old news tomorrow.

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Written By:
AUTHOR & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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