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How to Edit YouTube Videos on a Budget: A Beginners Guide 2022

Last Updated on May. 6, 2022 – by David Morgan
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How To Edit YouTube Videos

Over 300 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. If you’re just launching your YouTube channel, that number may sound pretty intimidating. How can you get your videos to stand out amidst so much content?

The answer to that question: a good video editor. When viewers are scrolling through content to pick out a video, most will skip right over videos that don’t look polished and professional. With so many options, why settle for mediocrity?

PowerDirector is the best way to edit videos for YouTube, because it is beginner-friendly, fast, and loaded with editing features sure to make your videos stand out. In this article, we will give a step-by-step account of how to edit videos for YouTube so that once a viewer chooses your video, they will keep watching to the end.


What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free online video-sharing website where you can easily watch videos or create and upload your own. It is one of the biggest platforms in the world for influencing popular culture and creating trends. Almost every major company has its own YouTube channel to advertise to the site’s huge audience.

YouTube was launched in 2005, and by 2006 it had already been bought by Google for $1.65 billion. YouTube is free and makes its money from ads, as well as offering ad-free subscriptions. The site has also branched out into making its own TV shows and movies for its paid streaming site YouTube TV

Best Video Editor for YouTube

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PhotoDirector Essential

PowerDirector is the best program to edit videos for YouTube. You can make professional-looking content for your channel quickly and easily. PowerDirector is extremely easy to use and learn, and it offers guided edits and plenty of tutorials. The software has everything you need to create a video that is sure to go viral - from basic editing tools like crop and zoom, to advanced features like visual effects and color correction.

Download PowerDirector today to make your YouTube stardom dreams a reality.

How to Edit With the YouTube Studio Video Editor

To get your hands dirty and edit videos for YouTube right away, one place to start is right on YouTube. It has a very simple and free online editor designed by YouTube Studio for its creators. If you're a beginner, it's a good way to see how basic video editing works.

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio with your Google account. Once you sign in, go to the left sidebar.
  2. Open Content. Click on the thumbnail of your uploaded video. If you haven't done this yet, first go to the Upload option and pick a video from your computer or any other device you're using to edit.
  3. Youtube - Video Details
  4. Wait for a few minutes as the video uploads to YouTube. Once it is uploaded, click on the video to open Video details.
  5. Select a video and open Editor. It will open the YouTube Studio video editing suite. Here, you can start customizing your videos.
  6. First, begin with video trimming. Select the Trim option, it is right above the timeline panel, and next to the video's time. Here, a blue and white line is provided to chop off the parts you don't want to see in your videos.
  7. Youtube - Trim Video
  8. Drag the beginning or end part to cut off the parts of the video you don’t want to include. 
  9. However, if you're going to eliminate the specific clips in the middle portion of the video, then use the Split option.

  10. Once you've successfully cut the unwanted portion of your video, check out the final version by watching the Preview of the video. If you find everything right in your edited video, click on Save and go to the next step.
  11. To encourage viewers to stay on your YouTube Channel use End Scene in your video. Click on the + to Add Element on the End Scene track. Find it on the bottom left of the timeline panel. Then select the kind of element you would like to add.
  12. Youtube - End Scene

    Through this option, you can add related videos or playlists, and ask viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel after the end of your video.

  13. Save your edit, and you're ready to go!

This is how you can do some basic video editing on YouTube. In the Timeline Panel, you can also add sound/music directly from the YouTube library, or you can use downloaded music.

How to Edit Videos for YouTube With PowerDirector

Now we are going to show you how to use PC Mag Editor’s Choice for best video editing software, PowerDirector. It’s one of the most popular ways to edit videos for YouTube (especially for beginners) because of its user-friendly interface and low learning curve. Here is a step-by-step guide to importing, splitting, trimming, adding transitions, adding text, adding music, and uploading to YouTube with PowerDirector.

To get the most out of this article download it for Free on Mac or Windows and follow along.

How to Import Media Files

  1. Open PowerDirector and select Full Mode. Click the Download button and select Import Media Folder to import your media files. 
  2. Browse to the folder on your computer that contains your media files, select it, and click Select Folder to import all the folder’s contents. 
  3. All your media files in the folder will be imported into the PowerDirector Media Library

  4. You can begin putting your video together by adding your photos and videos to the Video Timeline. Add the media clips in the order you want to tell your story. Select a file in the Media Library and then drag it to the Video Timeline.
  5. PhotoDirector - Import Media

How to Split a Video

  1. Move the Video Timeline Playhead to the position where you want to split the clip, and then click the Split icon(looks like a cutter knife).
  2. Select the portion that you don’t want and then click the Delete key on your keyboard to remove it from the video timeline. 
  3. PhotoDirector - Slpit Video
  4. Select the Remove and Fill Gap option when prompted so that the video clip fills in the empty space on the video timeline.

How to Trim a Video

The single trim function allows you to trim the beginning and end of a video clip. 

  1. Select the video clip and then click on the Trim button above the video timeline (it looks like scissors). 
  2. Drag the Mark In and Mark Out position yellow sliders to your preferred positions and then click OK to finish trimming. 
  3. PhotoDirector - Trim Video

Now that you have added and trimmed your first video clip, go ahead and add more until your story is complete. For a more detailed overview of splitting and moving clips click here.

How to Add Transitions Between Clips

  1. Go to the Transition Room by clicking on the Lightning Bolt icon from the menu on the left. 
  2. Choose a transition, then click and drag it between two video clips. 
  3. PhotoDirector - Add Transition

For a more detailed look at adding transitions, click here

How to Add Title Text to a Video

  1. Go to the Title Room by clicking on the T icon from the menu on the left. 
  2. Click and drag a Title Text Template to the title track on the video timeline. 
  3. Select the added title template and then click the Designer button above the video timeline. In the Title Designer, enter the text you want to use. 
  4. PhotoDirector - Add Title
  5. Select the text, click on the Character Presets option on the left, and then select a preset to modify the text. Click OK to close the Title Designer and save your changes.

Learn more about how to add texts and titles.

How to Add Music to a Video

  1. Go to the Media Library Window and select Background Music from the Media Content drop-down menu. 
  2. Preview and then click the Download button to download the background music track you want to use. After it has downloaded, drag it to an audio track on the video timeline.
  3. PhotoDirector - Add Music

You can also import your own audio. Be careful to avoid copyrighted music so your video is not removed from YouTube. PowerDirector has a large library of royalty-free background music that is available for all subscribers. 

For more information, check out our written tutorial on editing and importing audio to your projects.

How to Produce and Upload to YouTube

  1. Click on the Produce button to export your video. On the Online tab, select YouTube.
  2. Enter the video title, description, and other information. Click the Start button to render your video and upload it to YouTube.
  3. PhotoDirector - Produce Video

How to Edit Videos for YouTube on iPhone/Android

Now we are going to show you how to use the PowerDirector app to edit videos for YouTube. Here is a step-by-step guide to importing, splitting, trimming, adding transitions, adding text, adding music, and uploading to YouTube with PowerDirector.

To get the most out of this article download it for FREE on iPhone or Android and follow along.

How to Import Media Files

  1. Open the app and tap New Project. Name the project and choose the Aspect Ratio.
  2. We recommend choosing 16:9 for YouTube videos. 

  3. Tap on the videos you would like to edit and tap the + in the middle to download. 
  4. They will be added in the order you download them so try to add them in the correct order. 

    PhotoDirector App - Add Videos

How to Split a Video 

  1. Tap on the editing timeline to bring up the Edit Menu along the bottom. Choose Split. 
  2. If you are editing in landscape mode, click the Pencil icon to open the edit menu. 

  3. Move the playhead where you want to make the cut. You will see a white line at that mark. You can pinch open the clip to zoom in on the video.
  4. Tap the split icon to slice the clip.

How to Trim a Video

  1. Move the sliders on each side of the clip. This effect changes where the video starts and stops. 
  2. PhotoDirector App - Add Music
  3. Tap the Play button to preview your new clip.

How to Add Transitions Between Clips

  1. Tap the spot where two video clips meet to open the Transition Library. 
  2. Find and tap the transition you want to use. 
  3. PhotoDirector App - Add Transition

How to Add Title Text to a Video

  1. Tap the Layers icon on the left. It resembles two pieces of paper, one on top of the other.
  2. Drag your favorite text template onto the timeline over your clip.
  3. Extend the text to the desired length by moving the sliders at the ends of the text in the timeline. 
  4. Tap the clip to change the text. You can also change the font, size, color, transparency, and alignment. 
  5. PhotoDirector App - Add Text
  6. Click the Edit icon around the text in the frame. This feature lets you tilt the text. 

How to Add Music to a Video

  1. Tap the Import Media icon on the left, then choose Music. 
  2. Tap Stock Music to browse PowerDirector’s royalty-free music library, or choose a song from your phone. 
  3. PhotoDirector App - Add Music
  4. Click on the song you want, then hit the Download icon. Once it has downloaded, click the + to add it to the music timeline under your video. 
  5. Use the sliders around the music on the timeline to change where the music starts and ends. 

How to Produce and Upload to YouTube

  1. Hit the Upload icon in the top right, then tap Share on YouTube.
  2. Choose the resolution, then hit Next. 
  3. Follow the prompts and fill in all the pertinent YouTube information.

For more information on uploading videos to YouTube, click here.

Basics of YouTube Video Editing

Overview of a Video Editor

Once you start to edit videos for YouTube, it’s important to understand the fundamental tools, processes, and elements of editing. You’ll need to know the basic layout of editing software, the editing workflow, the elements of an edit, and the basic editing tools you’ll use.

The modern digital video editor, regardless of what software you use, will almost always be composed of these essential parts:

PhotoDirector - Layout

Preview Window - The preview window shows the playback of your current video edit. Using the timeline, you can jump to any part of your video and play it back in real-time to see what your edit will look like here.

Library - All of the media elements you need to edit videos for YouTube will be here. When you import your files, you can browse and select which media files you want to place into your edit. This includes video, images, and audio files.

Tools - All of your basic tools you need to edit videos for YouTube. Tools to modify your clips, audio, titles, or effects. 

Timeline - This is where you arrange your media files over time. From the library, media files are placed, trimmed, and sequenced here for your edit. There are also multiple “tracks” to allow you to place multiple layers of video, effects, and audio.

Choosing a great program to edit videos for YouTube is essential for creating eye-catching YouTube videos. If you don’t have the most popular video editor yet, you can download it for free here.

Video Editing Workflow

No matter what kind of video you’re editing, it's important to have a reliable process to follow each time you edit. An editing workflow (the steps you take to make an edit and the best order to complete them) is essential to make sure your edit goes smoothly.

While there are a lot of ways to edit videos for YouTube, here is a very common workflow to help you get a bird's eye view of the editing process:

Import your footage - Simply put, this is moving your video footage from the camera to where you'll be completing your edit. Typically this means plugging your camera into your computer and downloading the clips to the hard drive, but since shooting and editing on smartphones is now a popular option, we've outlined two different ways to do this:

If you shoot on a digital camera or your phone and want to edit videos for YouTube on a computer, you need to connect your device to the computer to download your footage. Once it's on the computer, you can import the files into your software and edit videos for YouTube.

If you shoot on a phone and want to edit videos for YouTube on your phone, you will want to use your mobile editing app to select the clips from your phone's memory and import them into your editing project.

Get Organized - Once you have your clips imported, we suggest reviewing each one and renaming them to help identify them quickly when you start to edit videos for YouTube. Some editing software like PowerDirector will automatically organize your files based on media type by video, photo, and sound. If the software you use to edit videos for YouTube doesn't, we recommend creating a folder or bin and separating them manually. Just like trying to cook an elaborate meal in the kitchen, having all of your ingredients organized will set you up for success.

Select and assemble your clips - Start selecting which clips you'll be using in your edit and add them to your timeline. Next, you'll want to pick where you want the clip to begin and end by trimming off the ends of the clip for the desired portion to be used. Now you can move and reorder your clips into your desired sequence. Continue doing this until you have assembled your first cut. If you haven't done so by now, it's a good idea to save your project!

Tighten up your edit - When you edit videos for YouTube, always watch your cut from beginning to end. Chances are the overall flow won't be perfect the first time, so go back and polish up your video. Try shortening and lengthening clips, and don't be afraid to reorder things – you can always use the "undo" feature! Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and great edits aren't made in one cut. Continue to review your edit until the flow is perfect and all your clips are ordered exactly how you want them.

Color correction - Depending on your project or how you shot, you may want to adjust the color of your clips. Consider white balance, color matching between clips, and any stylistic color you might want to add.

Go beyond the basics - Time to do a little more than cutting together video clips. Next, you'll add transitions, titles, graphics, and effects. Drop-in some music, too, and try out some sound effects. Here you can also use tools to fix shaky videos or clean up any sound issues.

Mix your sound - When you edit videos for YouTube, make sure your sound levels are balanced. At this time, you'll want to raise or lower any dialogue, voiceover, or music so the soundtrack is balanced and you can easily hear the most critical parts.

Export and upload your video - Watch your video a few times to ensure you haven't missed anything, then output your video file. 

Do’s and Don’ts for How to Edit Videos for YouTube

If you want to continue honing your editing skills and edit videos for YouTube to be unskippable, here are a few Dos and Don’ts you’ll want to consider.

Do Icon

1. Do Take Inspiration

As Picasso famously said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Now Picasso isn’t saying to steal content, he’s suggesting that what you are hoping to accomplish in a lot of ways has already been created. If you don't know how to edit videos for YouTube, analyze your competitor's channel. You don’t need to “reinvent the wheel,” you can take these ideas and use them for your creation.

What visual elements are they using? What audio elements are they using? How are they structuring their story? However they’re creating content, you can discover elements they’re using to make their video content appealing and apply them to your own work.

2. Do Keep it Readable

Whether you're creating funny or informative content, try to keep everything in order. The “intent of your content” must be easy to understand. Otherwise, the audience will not stay even for 10 seconds on your video. When you edit videos for YouTube, it's a great idea to have a plan before you start cutting. Consider creating an outline of your video to make sure it will make sense when you edit!

3. Do Keep it Meaningful

Edit videos for YouTube to have a message or goal. Whether you’re telling a story, teaching a lesson, or telling a joke, ensure that your content is descriptive and satisfies the content's main objective. Everything else you should cut out! That’s one of the best parts when you edit videos for YouTube, it allows you to sequence the most important information and cut out the rest! So, create content that is meaningful to your channel – it's what your audience will thank you for!


Dont Icon

1. Don’t Forget Sound Effects

I’m sure at some point you’ve seen someone clapping together coconuts to create the sound of horse hooves. It’s a really great visualization of sound effects. Now, you probably won’t be riding a horse in your video but that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your videos with a few, well-thought-out sound effects. Try watching through your video to see if any moments could be more dramatic or heightened by adding a sound effect or two. A lot of programs used to edit videos for YouTube come with built-in sound effect libraries. Check to see if yours provides one. If not, check out the one available in PowerDirector.

2. Don’t Forget Video Effects

Using and creating video effects is definitely the most complicated thing to do on this list but having good video effects is one of the quickest ways to make your video stand out. From using chroma key to replace a green screen to using a blending effect to add a lens flare, putting time into adding a few video effects can really make a big difference!

3. Don’t Be Dishonest

Provide helpful video descriptions and titles that honestly tell people what to expect when they view your video. Viewers figure out pretty quick when they’ve been lied to and will remember to avoid your channel. It also reflects badly if too many people turn off your videos after less than a minute and will keep YouTube from recommending you to viewers. Honest descriptions also help attract the right people to your channel - the people who will watch videos to the end and tell their friends. 

For more tips on starting a YouTube Channel, check out How to Become a YouTuber: The Ultimate 8 Step Guide.

Download the Best Video Editor for YouTube for Free

The best way to edit videos for YouTube is with PowerDirector. If you are new to video editing this is the best choice for you. PowerDirector’s interface is highly intuitive and designed to make it incredibly easy for editors of any skill level to make pro-level cuts, fast.

Don’t think for a second that its ease of use means it’s lacking in capabilities. PowerDirector is jam-packed with powerful tools and effects. It has whole libraries of drag and drop transitions, sound and video effects, particles, and titles. The built-in Action Camera Center makes it a breeze to fix footage including a video stabilizer and a whole area dedicated to video speed effects.

It even has a wide variety of advanced editing tools like chroma key, motion tracking, and a mask designer. To top it all off it has a huge built-in stock library of royalty-free music, photos, and videos you can use to edit videos for YouTube.

Download PowerDirector today and start creating amazing content. 

How to Edit Videos for YouTube FAQ

1. What Features Do I Need to Edit Videos for YouTube?

The top ten features you need to edit videos for YouTube are:

  1. Trim/Split tools
  2. Text Templates
  3. Transitions
  4. Royalty-free music library 
  5. Direct upload to YouTube
  6. Sound effects library
  7. Visual effects
  8. Sound mixing
  9. Color adjustment tools
  10. Video stabilization 

If you’re looking for a product that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PowerDirector.

2. What are the Best Software to Edit Videos for YouTube?

The 7 best software to edit videos for YouTube are:

  1. PowerDirector 
  2. Premiere Elements 
  3. Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate
  4. Shotcut
  5. Final Cut Pro 
  6. iMovie
  7. Movavi 

For more information on the best software to edit videos for YouTube, click here.

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