Open Education Week Video Mashup – Ups and Downs of the YouTube Video Editor

I’ve always been curious about the YouTube Video Editor and the “Remix this video!” button, but I never really had a reason, or the motivation to give it a try. That is, until I was inspired by all of the great videos created by fellow Open Education Week advocates.

So in the spirit of Open Education Week (connecting, collecting, creating, and sharing) I’ll highlight some of the ups and downs of the editor that I encountered while creating this YouTube Video Editor mashup:


  • It’s really nice to have so much content to remix in one place. Access to large quantities of openly licensed content in one location and from all over the world appears (to me at least) to be an important piece of the “getting people to use it” OER puzzle.
  • The user-interface is straightforward and easy to interact with. You can quickly scan through your own collection of videos, search for openly licensed content, find music to add to your video, and add effects and titles. I didn’t use any effects or titles though, so I can’t speak to those features, but it looked easy enough to get started with them.
  • Dragging clips into the editing timeline is easy, and so is trimming selected videos. You simply click and drag the ends of clips to adjust their timing.
  • After several hours of clicking and dragging video clips, you hit the publish button and then you get your own customized YouTube video creation.


  • I wasn’t able to select a Creative Commons license for the remix. Maybe this is related to the song I used, or perhaps it’s related to YouTube automatically placing advertisements on videos created with this tool. I’m not sure, but it would have been nice if others could remix this remix.
  • You can’t do a whole lot to adjust the volume of individual clips, or the music. Unless I missed something, (I really looked around though) you can’t tweak the audio of individual clips. This is really frustrating because the volume of each video varies greatly across all of the clips. You can’t really adjust the volume of the music either, and you are only given 4 sound adjustment options: Only music, favor music, equal, and favor original audio. Keeping it simple like this is nice, but a few more options would go a long way.
  • Generally speaking, video editing is a time-consuming task. So I was surprised to notice that there isn’t a way to save different versions of the video. Having an easy way to undo or revert changes is a huge time saver; its unfortunate the editor does not provide this functionality.
  • Lastly, once you’ve hit the publish button, your project is removed from the editor. I suppose you can edit your videos in various different locations in the YouTube interface, but I grew attached to my timeline, and wanted to show it off.

All of the downers aside – having access to a large library of openly licensed videos, coupled with the ability to quickly and easily edit videos on the web, is fantastic. A video editing tool that is more in tune with the open educational resources movement, has a better understanding of open licenses, and a few more functions (especially audio options!) would be an extremely useful tool for educators with an interest in remixing videos for educational purposes.

2 thoughts on “Open Education Week Video Mashup – Ups and Downs of the YouTube Video Editor

  1. Google have kept improving their Video Editor, and I’ve found that some of the points criticised in this article have been addressed.

    Audio levels can now be controlled for each clip on the timeline. There is a volume slider on the Audio settings tab.

    There’s no undo/redo functionality or any way to export the project, but once a video has been processed and published, it will remain in the Video Editor’s project list. From there, you can use the “Remix” button to start a new editing project with the timeline and all the settings of the previous one (relating to your last point of criticism).


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