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. Youtube.com, 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
Youtube.com’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, YouTube.com 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 safeshare.tv 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.