YouTube Unveils New Editing Tools: The End of Crappy Web Videos?

A first look at the new software

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When YouTube launched in 2005 it quickly flooded the Internet with grainy, haphazard, amateurish videos. With the freedom to upload limitless content, there was little incentive to hold back. Out of this environment, Web surfers were confronted with a select number of video treasures and an ocean of unwatchable drivel.

But on Wednesday, YouTube unveiled its free video editor. The software allows users to:

-Combine multiple videos you’ve uploaded to create a new longer video
-Trim the beginning and/or ending of your videos
-Add soundtracks from our AudioSwap library of tens of thousands of songs
-Create new videos without worrying about file formats and publish them to YouTube with one click — no upload necessary

Will these new tools usher in a new era of tighter, crisper user-submitted videos? Here's what technology bloggers thing about the new editor:

  • This Is Great, writes Christian Zibreg at Geek:  "The interface is surprisingly uncluttered, responsive, and nimble. The editor should be perfect for creating a long video from a bunch of short clips, cutting those weird pauses in your clips, and trimming a long video down to the moments that matter."
  • This Really Doesn't Change Anything, writes George Ou at Digital Insight: "From my initial impression of the service, it seems to be usable as a quick and dirty editor but it’s no substitute for even the most basic locally run editor. You can select from a library of video clips you’ve uploaded yourself but not from anyone else, and you can select from a library of music YouTube provides but you cannot upload your own sound tracks.  The online editor shows you a quick and dirty low resolution preview while editing and it doesn’t even bother showing the correct aspect ratios (widescreen content is shown in 4:3)."
  • Time Will Tell, writes Boonsri Dickinson at Tech Startups: "The first time YouTube tried this, it flopped. Remember ‘Remixer’? It will be interesting to see just how the YouTube Editor model will compete with iMovie app on the iPhone 4. Both will suit people who want to edit on the go."
  • Great for Casual Users, writes Rik Myslewski at The Register: "If you've edited video before on your Mac or PC, you won't be impressed by the YouTube Video Editor's über-basic capabilities. But for casual users who simply want to snip off chunks of homemade clips, this cloud-based service might be perfectly sufficient."
  • Some Key Improvements, notes Eric Zeman at Information Week: "There are definitely helpful features to have. I upload a lot of video to YouTube. Every now and then, a mistake makes its way into the final, posted video. In order to fix it, I have to delete or hide the existing video, edit it on my desktop, and re-upload the new version. While it's mostly painless, there's a big drawback: you lose all your views. Since YouTube now allows for editing online, it might be possible to edit out mistakes without losing your page views."

Out of the gate, a number of YouTube users have already started flaunting their editing skills. By the looks of it, maybe it was too soon to expect higher editing standards across the board:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.