It’s hard to believe that YouTube is only six years old. That’s right, YouTube turns six this February.
But that’s all the time it’s taken for YouTube to revolutionise media on the web. When it comes to video, YouTube is the go-to guy online. And it’s little wonder. Currently 35 hours of video IS uploaded every minute on YouTube! That’s the equivalent of 176,000 full length feature films being released every week!
It’s fair to say that YouTube is the king of video content, for the time being at least.
If you’ve been using YouTube to view video content, good for you! But there is so much more you can do, other than just view. From mixing and mashing clips to saving files to your hard drive, getting more hits for your videos to finding just what you’re after at the press on a button, there’s always something new being developed to give you more control over your, and others’, video content.
So here it is. Starting at the beginning, it’s the insider’s guide to YouTube.
HOW TO UPLOAD A CLIP
So you’ve just filmed your first masterpiece. Now what do you do with it? Here’s how to get your clip online and out in front of the public. The good news is, it’s as easy as one, two, three.
- First you’ll need a YouTube account. Go to www.youtube.com and sign up.
- Next, log in can click the ‘upload’ link at the top of the page.
- Click the ‘Upload video’ tab, select your video from your hard drive and you’re done.
Once your video is uploaded, you can add a title, description and tags if desired.
Note: don’t upload content you don’t own. This means TV shows, movies or clips with unlicensed audio tracks. It will more than likely get taken down and all your hard work will be for nothing.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD A CLIP
So how do you do it in reverse? Say you’ve found a clip that you just love and you want to keep a copy on your hard drive. Well that’s almost as easy.
- Find a video you’d like to download and keep. Copy the URL to your clipboard.
- Go to www.zamzar.com and click ‘download videos’.
- Paste the URL into the text bar at ‘Step 1’, select the type of file you’d prefer, enter your email address and click ‘convert’.
- Check your email and click the long URL address to download your file.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD JUST THE AUDIO
Want that file just as an mp3? Here’s how to get that video as a track you can listen to on your favourite device.
- First, find a video you’d like to download the audio of. Copy the URL to your clipboard.
- Go to www.flvto.com and paste the URL into the text bar.
- Close the annoying pop-up ad while you wait for the file to convert.
- Your download will start automatically.
HOW TO CREATE A PLAYLIST
For ultimate hands-free viewing of YouTube you can’t beat playlists. Playlists allow you to select your favourite videos and play them back to back without having to keep returning to your computer. It’s also a great way to share collections of your favourite videos with friends.
- Login to YouTube.
- Click ‘Account’.
- Click ‘My Videos & Playlists’.
- Click the ‘+ New’ button next to ‘Playlists’.
- Add title, description and tags if desired.
- Select privacy options. If you want to share your list with friends, select ‘public’.
- Click the YouTube symbol and browse for videos.
- Click ‘Add to’ and select your playlist.
- Access your playlist by returning to ‘My Videos & Playlists’ and clicking ‘Play all’.
HOW TO EDIT TO A VIDEO ONLINE
The YouTube online video editor means that you don’t have to own expensive software to make your mini epics any more. You can combine multiple clips, trim and rotate them, and add transitions and music from the online audio library. Best of all, you can do it all in the cloud, meaning that you don’t require a huge amount of processing power to create your next smash hit.
- Go to www.youtube.com/editor You’ll see all the videos you’ve uploaded to your channel.
- Grab one and drag it to the timeline editor.
- Hover over the clip and click the scissors icon that appears.
- A new window will pop up and your clip will begin to play. Simply drag the bars on either side of the time bar to trim your video to the desired length. The red bar is what’s been removed; the blue bar is the remaining footage.
- Click save, and repeat the process if desired.
- Click the musical tab at the top of the page to select some music. Hover over the track and click the triangular Play button for an audio preview. Select a track to accompany your clip. (You can also use the ‘genre’ and ‘artist’ dropdowns to narrow your search).
- Click the ‘transfers’ icon (two triangles pointing toward one another) to create stylish transitions between your clips.
- Drag the desired visual transfer to the space between your clips in the timeline editor.
- Preview your video in the display window and when you’re satisfied, click ‘publish’.
- From there you can add tags, annotations and subtitles.
- Your new edited video will appear on your ‘My Videos’ within moments.
HOW TO GET YOUTUBE IN YOUR LIVINGROOM
YouTube is nothing if not flexible. It offers a multitude of ways to enhance your viewing experience, not just allowing you to decide what you watch, but allowing you to decide how you watch it.
Make YouTube behave less like a website and more like a TV station by selecting www.youtube.com/leanback
Leanback changes the YouTube interface, making the video display at full screen, and removing superfluous features (like comments, view counts and uploader info) in favour of a streamlined viewing experience. Use the arrow keys to control basic functions: just type to search, or you can select the next automated suggestion at the touch of a key.
Likewise, plug your PC into your TV to experience www.youtube.com/xl YouTube XL is YouTube content optimised for TV. Making the YouTube interface behave like a DVD menu, it brings back some of the options lost in the Leanback mode, but still makes for a slick and easy-to-use interface. There is no community information, meaning that there’s no need to scroll; just watch and enjoy.
And, of course, the game consoles get a look in too. To watch YouTube on your Sony PlayStation, simply make the connections, select ‘Network’ and then ‘Internet Browser’ on your console. Press the Start button on your console and enter youtube.com as the URL to browse to.
Similarly, for the Wii, select ‘Internet Channel’, click on ‘Web Address’, and enter youtube.com
HOW TO EMBED A YOUTUBE VIDEO ON YOUR BLOG
This is a fairly straightforward process, and if you’re familiar with the functions of your blogging platform you should have no trouble.
- Simply go to the video that you want to display, and look for the ‘Embed’ box in the options tab under the video (it will be alongside the ‘Like/Dislike’, ‘Add to’ and ‘Share’ buttons).
- Click the Embed button and copy the HTML code that appears.
- Paste that HTML code into your website. This will create an embedded player, and the video will play with a click of the ‘Play’ button.
- You can also resize the player by editing the object width=”425” and height=”350” fields at both the beginning and end of the code. Ensure that you keep the ratio proportionate, or the video will become distorted. (Multiply the width by 0.8235 to get the height.)
If you want to embed just a portion of a video, go to www.tubechop.com
If you’re not a fan of embedding, and you want to make sure that a video you’ve uploaded can’t be embedded on someone else’s website, here’s how you do it.
- Within your account, click the ‘My Uploaded Videos’ link (youtube.com/ my_videos).
- Click the ‘Edit Video Info’ button to the right of the video.
- Under ‘Sharing Options’, click the button next to "No, external sites may NOT embed and play this video”.
HOW TO BRAND YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL
If you’re looking to promote your business online, if you’ve got a vlog that you are trying to send viral, or even if you just want a tidy, unique interface where people can engage with your YouTube channel, here’s how you do it.
Just go to ‘My Channel’ and select from the tabs at the top of the page. These allow you to select theme and colour options using convenient presents. Click ‘Themes and Colors’, then the ‘advanced options’ tab to start fully customising your page. From here you can choose a file as your background image, change fonts, and tweak colours and contrasts. Click ‘Modules’ and ‘Videos and Playlists’ to adjust the physical layout of your page.
TIP: Try a Google search for YouTube backgrounds. Having an image optimised for both screen and file size will make all the difference.
HOW TO ADD CAPTIONS TO YOUR VIDEOS
Some videos come with closed captions to help the hearing-impaired. To turn them on, look for the ‘CC’ icon in the task bar at the bottom of each video.
To add captions or subtitles to one of your videos, you’ll need to have transcript or caption files with the captions/subtitles in them.
To prepare a transcript file: tinyurl.com/yttranscript
To prepare a caption file: tinyurl.com/ytcaptionfile
Once you have the files, log into your YouTube account to upload them:
- Click ‘My Videos’. Find the video to which you’d like to add captions/ subtitles, then click the ‘Captions’ button.
- Click the ‘Add New Captions or Transcript’ button.
- Click the ‘Browse’ button and find the caption/subtitle or transcript file to upload. If you are uploading a transcript, select ‘Transcript file’, otherwise, select ‘Caption file’.
- Select the appropriate language, and click the ‘Upload File’ button.
11 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD DO WITH YOUTUBE
But, of course, there’s more. Here are 11 more sites that help you make YouTube do exactly what you want it to.
- Create chat rooms to watch YouTube clips with your friends: www. synchtube.com
- Link to a specific moment in a YouTube clip: tinyurl.com/ytmoments
- Mash together two videos side by side: www.youtubedoubler.com
- Watch your favourite clip over and over without pressing a button: www. tubereplay.com
- Search for YouTube videos on a timeline: tinyurl.com/yttimeline
- Switch audio between YouTube videos: tinyurl.com/ytswitch
- Make a YouTube video your alarm clock: tinyurl.com/ytalarm
- Create mix tapes (up to three hours long!) of your favourite clips: www.dragontape.com
- Search through comments specifically: tinyurl.com/ytcomments
- Create ringtones with content from YouTube: tinyurl.com/ytphonetones
- Superimpose YouTube clips onto a rotating cube and share with others: tinyurl.com/ytcubes