YouTube Video Editor: A nice start but hardly ready for prime time

YouTube's video editor is a simple tool and can be fun for the mashup crowd, but it's hardly a contender among video editing software - even Apple's iPhone version of iMovie.

The blog post to announce a new video editor introduced for YouTube this week starts off with a jab at professional editing software: "Video editing usually requires installing software packages and having a fair amount of technical savvy. But we think video editing should be fun and easy."

But the makers of professional editing software need not worry - yet. The YouTube editor, as it is now, is hardly a contender.

In fact, YouTube's free video editing software illustrates the old saying, "You get what you pay for." I understand that the editor is just a lab tool that the company is only now starting to share but you can hardly compare what YouTube is offering today to anything that is even remotely professional.

The problem is that the tools that YouTube is offering can hardly be considered video editing tools. They're more like mashup tools - and the experience is pretty limited. I guess that's the difference between creating any old video and trying to put together a mini "movie."

With all of that said, if YouTube decides to go beyond basic video trim and simple audio overlays - maybe add in some transitions and basic audio editing - the experience could also be fun, as well as simple. Right now, it's just simple - almost too simple.

Maybe this is enough for the old YouTube crowd, the one that wasn't really too serious about quality videos. But if Google is serious about elevating the overall YouTube offering - from the types of videos on the site, as well as the quality of them - then I would have hoped that the company would put a bit more oomph behind an editing tool before even thinking about sharing it with the general public.

Apple's iMovie, for example, is hardly a product for professionals - but it has a fair amount of features that make it worth the attention of amateur or even semi-professional movie makers. And adding the editing feature to the iPhone, as the company showcased recently, is a nice complement to the product.

If you're looking for a quick, cheap and easy way to mashup a couple of YouTube videos and quality is not high on your priority list, then I would suggest giving this a try. Otherwise, I'd suggest hanging on to your existing video editor and leaving the YouTube editor the teeny-bopper movie makers who want to throw together some clips for a few laughs.

Also see: CNET: YouTube adds cloud-based video editor

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