Basic Video Editing Tips for YouTube – The YouTube Advertiser Playbook: Part 3

Basic Video Editing Tips for YouTube – The YouTube Advertiser Playbook: Part 3

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There’s nothing like the thrill of taking a whole bunch of footage you just shot and piecing it together towards the final product.  Editing can be every bit as creative as the shooting of the video, and for me, it’s far and away the funnest part of the process, especially if you can get your hands on some premium editing software.  In part 3 of the YouTube Advertiser Playbook, YouTube discusses what you should look out for during the editing.  Cutting a video that has a nice flow with some catchy music will make all that time you took shooting the video worth it.

Editing The Video: The Tips And The Tools

For simple videos, most of your everyday low-cost editing software will do the trick.  Apple has iMovie and PC’s usually come with Windows Movie Maker.  But if you have the means, you can’t go wrong with Adobe Premiere.  Final Cut Pro has been going through some odd changes of late that professionals dislike, but it’s another top-of-the-line editing software.

YouTube also has a simple editor, and the advantage to using it is that you don’t have to worry about file formats when rendering your final product.  But first things first:

Step 1: Arrange & Trim Your Clips

Most editing programs have a timeline in which you can drag your clips down.  So you can drag your raw clips in the timeline to get a rough order for the video, then you can trim all the excess from the beginning and end of the desired takes.

It’s here that YouTube wants to display their own editor and what you can do with it:

  • Combine multiple clips you’ve uploaded to create a new, longer video
  • Trim the beginning and end of your clips
  • Add a soundtrack from the YouTube Video Editor’s Audioswap library
  • Create new videos without worrying about file formats, and publish new videos to YouTube with one click (no new upload is required).

One of the features of its editor is the AudioSwap library, which was improved this year.  It allows you to find a free song to add to your video.  As an editor, it will do, but you may find it a bit limiting overall.  If you’ve got something simple, though, it should do the trick.

Step 2: Add Transitions, Overlays, & Effects

Now that you have a rough cut of all the clips in your timeline, you might want to add some things to make it flow better and to get your message across.

  • Transitions

Cuts, dissolves, and fades are common transitions.  When you put your clips on a timeline and then arrange them all together, the transition between one clip to another will all be cuts.  In the dissolve, the end of one clip fades slowly out while the beginning of another clip fades slowly in.  And the fade is usually when the screen fades into black and then the new clip emerges from the black.  It’s all a matter of what you’d like to see on your video, but dissolves tend to work best in these types of videos because they offer the most pleasant transition from one clip to another.

Here’s a simple video that discusses some editing techniques.  It isn’t necessarily for a business video, but it shows you the difference between the transitions:

Another transition is the wipe, in which there is some sort of effect that makes the transition.  One of the more famous examples is in Star Wars, how many scenes that change from one location to another will use a simple wipe to go to the next scene.

  • Overlays

This is text that you put on the screen: either you want to introduce a person and give them some background, “Mark Robertson, CEO and Founder of ReelSEO,” or you want to provide a call-to-action, “Visit the website and enter this code to get a special offer!”  Use these overlays as an enhancement to the video, giving viewers context and reminders.  And they should be used sparingly.  Don’t clutter the video with a ton of text when it isn’t necessary.

  • Effects

There are some cool effects you can do with editing software.  The Advertiser Playbook mentions the “Ken Burns effect,” where you can make it look like a camera is moving over a still image.  In a business video you’re probably not going to go too heavy on effects, but if you think there’s a way to enhance the video using it in certain instances, many editors have a great selection of effects to choose from.

Step 3: Add Music

We mentioned YouTube’s Audioswap library above.  It has over 150,000 free songs to choose from.  And with that kind of choice, you should be able to find something decent.  If you use any other music on your video, you’ll have to make sure you have the rights or permission to do so.

I know quite a few people who have enlisted local musicians to create a song for them so that they can get something tailored to their needs for cheap.  What’s good about that arrangement is that the musician is likely to work for little to nothing just so they can get their names out there and music heard.  It’s beneficial to both parties.  Buying permission to use a song you’ve heard on the radio is going to cost you a lot of money.

The Playbook also mentions taking a look at The Creative Commons when it comes to licensing music.

Step 4: Export from Your Video Editor

YouTube recognizes these file formats:

  • MPEG4 (.mpg4)
  • MOV files
  • AVI
  • WMV
  • 3GPP
  • FLV

The video has to be under 20 GB, and once it’s exported to one of these file formats, you can publish the video using your YouTube account.  If you don’t have one, here are the steps to publishing your video on YouTube:

  • Create or log in to your free Google account.  Go to, enter your info, click Next Step, and then when you’re done, click Back to YouTube.
  • Create Your Free YouTube Username.   Pick a name that reflects your business.  Some businesses use a catch phrase that is uniquely suited to them, others go the very simple route and use the actual name.  They should be 20 characters or less.
  • Upload your video to YouTube at either or just merely click “Upload” once you get on YouTube.  The Upload page gives you a range of options, but you’ll likely be picking “Select files” to get started.
If you want to learn about YouTube’s video editing tools, you can watch our video here

The next section of the Advertiser Playbook is called, “Managing Your Videos.” This is where you start doing the extra work to get your video seen by writing good metadata, creating a channel that is attractive, and getting people involved in your business.  So stay tuned to ReelSEO for our continuing coverage of the Advertiser Playbook.

Here are links to Part 1 (Planning your video shoot) and Part 2 (Tips for shooting your video) of our coverage of the YouTube advertiser playbook.


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