Free Online Video Editing in YouTube, Google Drive

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by Jeff Gray, KET

Google has been developing online video editing as a free service for a while now, and the useful tools deserve a look for those interested in student video production., owned by Google, has its own basic video editor, and the free Google Drive online suite of tools has one too: a version of WeVideo, an online video editing service that you add as an app to work within your Google Drive web account. For schools, these free services offer several ways to create, store online, and share student-produced videos. Here’s an overview…

Google’s YouTube, Channels, and the YouTube Video Editor’s online video editor is found in a box with other tools after you click “Upload” from your free YouTube login page. It can also be found within a YouTube channel’s Video Manager set of tools. In YouTube’s Help Center, there’s an extensive section on creating videos and managing YouTube channels, including help on video editing.

YouTube’s video editor has basic timeline editing features such as a text editor, transitions, a selection of free-to-use music, a photo importer, a video importer for Creative Commons-listed videos that are also free-to-use in YouTube-edited videos you assemble.

For schools, Channels are good for collecting and sharing class videos in one place, where they live apart from the mass of other videos on the site. At present, one still can’t prevent the often-inappropriate-for-schools “suggested” videos chosen by YouTube that show up after a video is played on the site, but a channel can be useful as a way to share videos that are organized in an area identified as your school or club/class, rather than just uploading them to the open display area. To make things more private for sharing classroom video projects, upload your videos using the “unlisted” setting.  That allows you to share the links to your videos on YouTube or in a YouTube channel, or embed them on websites or blogs without them showing up in the general public mix of posted videos. You could also upload a video with the “private” setting, but the number of private viewers is limited and you must list them.

Another way of keeping student-produced online files free from other “suggested” videos is to upload a video file to YouTube selecting the “unlisted” setting. Then go to and paste the video’s URL into a field, hit a button, and you get a new link to the video you can share or list on a web page or blog that displays the video in a web browser without any of YouTube’s after-playback videos surrounding it. (Notes: Videos return to the beginning after playback. There is a download link for the video that cannot be deleted which navigates to an ad for a video file downloading application.)

By the way, you can download a useful Android or iOS YouTube Creator Studio app that allows you to see a list of your account videos, watch them, and edit their settings.

Google Videos and the WeVideo Editor

Google, who owns YouTube, also offers a lot of online education resources including Google Drive, a suite of document-producing and sharing tools. After logging-into your free Google account and navigating to your Google Drive page, you’ll see that you can upload, create, and share various types of documents in Google’s online cloud: word processing docs, spreadsheet docs, presentation docs, and more. For all of these, you can upload and include pictures, audio, and video. Interestingly, video files uploaded to Google Drive accounts don’t playback from file links or from web page embeds with the surrounding “suggested” videos that we’re used to seeing in YouTube-hosted videos. So, for educators, a way of sharing student-produced videos that isolates student projects more is to upload them to a free Google account with Link Sharing set to “On, Anyone with the link” — basically the Google Drive equivalent of the YouTube “unlisted” setting. You can then link to video files or embed them for playback from web pages or blogs, etc., as you would with YouTube-hosted videos. There’s a 15GB file hosting limit for each Google Drive account.

To bring up the WeVideo editor you first have to add it to your Google Drive account as a free app: Log into your free Google Drive account, then click the red “New” button at the top-left of the page. Hold the button down and open the “More” link at the bottom of the list of available tools and look for “Connect more apps” at the bottom. Select that and search the list for “WeVideo,” and “connect” to it to add the app (a one-time operation). When you return to your “New” button and select “More” you’ll see a link to open the WeVideo editor. Once open, you can edit your uploaded video files, add music, and perform other operations much like YouTube’s timeline-based editor. 

WeVideo’s editor includes additional features like theme templates for transitions, effects and styles for videos, along with some separate graphics (backgrounds, solids, frames, overlays) and text templates for further customization. Like the YouTube online editor, the WeVideo editor has a selection of music for productions, but the WeVideo editor also includes an audio recording feature for voiceovers that is missing in the YouTube editor.

Here’s a screenshot of the WeVideo online video editor opened in my Google Drive account:


KET School Video Project and Challenges

Lastly, Kentucky schools are encouraged to upload examples of their student-produced video projects to the KET School Video Project website year-around. Please also consider participating in one of the additional KET School Video Project Challenges you’ll see at the site. All schools who upload videos for a project challenge are entered in a prize drawing for free video production gear.

Rockcastle High School Gear Up Grant Students Visit KET

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Jeff Gray, KET


Gear Up Specialist Ms. Cayci Mahaffee, along with English teacher Ms. Markita Proctor, brought students from Rockcastle County High School to KET for a tour and a KET Media Lab workshop in Basic Video Editing. Ms. Mahaffee is returning to KET this week with another Rockcastle County school group for another workshop on Infographics for Classroom Projects. She used federal Gear Up grant funding to pay for transportation costs to KET. The Gear Up program aims to encourage high school students to go on to college for study and career education. For more Kentucky Gear Up grant information see the Kentucky Gear Up website.

While touring KET, Ms. Mahaffee’s students were met by KET video producer/director Nick Helton, who is also from Rockcastle County. Nick spoke to the students about his works as a producer/director of KET television programs and special events. Many of KET’s employees are Kentucky natives, educated in Kentucky, with children in Kentucky schools.

DSC_0095a1Cayci Mahaffee, Rockcastle County Schools, and KET Producer/Director Nick Helton, addressing visiting Rockcastle High School students. Nick is also from Rockcastle County.

Other schools have used Gear Up grant funding for trips to Lexington for
KET Media Lab workshops and tours of KET’s multimedia production facility. Perhaps the grant could also help you bring students to KET. For more information on bringing students to KET for tours and KET Media Lab workshops, contact
Jeff Gray, KET Education Div.


Newtek Tricaster Mini: New Video Production Studio in a Box

Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Jeff Gray, KET


All-in-one video production “appliances” that include multiple camera video and audio switching, titling, special effects, and more for live and recorded production projects have been in use for  some years in Kentucky schools like Bath County High, and Eastside Technical School, Lexington. Schools who can afford Newtek Tricasters, which start around $5,000, or similar switching gear like the Roland line of a/v mixers, enjoy making live video production projects with crews of students who excitedly play-out the roles of professional video production staff. Together, they plan, write, and produce video news and special events programming that requires teamwork and a lot of group and individual skill building that culminates in shared products that prepare students for real-world jobs, and the use of multimedia in further studies.

Roland offers the VR50-HD ($7,495) and some less expensive items like the VR-3EX ($2,195) and the V4-EX ($1,995).  Check the technical specifications for comparison of models and features among the manufacturers’ units.

For schools, a big thing that’s been missing from the Tricaster line has been HDMI inputs for commonly-used cameras and other devices. With the arrival of the Tricaster  Mini, schools now have more options to consider because the new Tricaster Mini has HDMI inputs, a PC input, analog audio inputs, a DDR for video segment and graphics playback, program video recording, program streaming out, and much more, including the virtual set feature with advanced chromakeying for greenscreen effects. It’s features and specifications are encouraging.

There are two Tricaster Mini models: the base HD-4 model Tricaster Mini, at $5,995, records 15 hours of 1080p video to an internal 750GB hard drive.  Their more expensive HD-4i model sells for $7,995. It includes a monitor and records 45 hours of video to an internal 1.5TB hard drive and includes a side-mounted video monitor.  They’re not cheap, but their many features do the work that would normally require several individual component pieces of equipment which could cost much more if purchased separately.

One caveat of all-in-one studio production devices that scares some is that if a unit goes down it may have to be shipped back to Newtek for repair, halting production until the unit is returned. Tricasters we’ve seen in Kentucky schools seem to have been in service for a while and we’ve not heard any warnings if that helps. An alternative is to use an a/v switcher such as the ATEM TV-Studio by Black Magic Design ($995.00), along with other component equipment for equivalent video production. That way might let you carry on in case of individual component failure, depending on what breaks and when.

Here’s an equipment connection diagram from the Newtek site:


And here are links to Tricaster Mini evaluations and reviews:

We’re looking forward to seeing what schools do with this new video production tool. As a one-box video production studio, it could make beginning a school video production a lot easier, and its advanced features could expand existing programs.

(Note: This new product overview is offered as an information service only and does not constitute an endorsement by KET.)

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