Making YouTube videos is expensive. If you thought all you needed to do to make a name for yourself on YouTube is to buy a camera and start shooting, you’re wrong. You also need access to powerful software to edit, design, and promote your content so that when others see it, they’ll be so impressed they immediately hit that subscribe button.
That’s where this guide comes in. It seems like all the big content creators these days have access to software that costs literally thousands of dollars, meaning anyone who can’t afford such luxury is automatically blocked from making awesome content.
I’ve been making videos since 2009. Over the last several years I have developed a collection of incredible free video editing resources that anyone can use to make great YouTube videos. And the best part of all is that every one of these resources is totally and completely free. I mean it: None of the resources in this list come filled with annoying pop-up ads, or have their best features locked away for paid users.
These are free editing resources. Please use them responsibly so all of us can keep using them!
Note: If you come across a resource that no longer works, please contact me and I’ll try to find a similar resource that does.
1. Convert YouTube videos to MP3: YouTube-mp3.org
YouTube-mp3.org does exactly what it sounds like: The website allows you to drop in the URL to any YouTube video, and convert it to a high quality MP3 audio file. There are loads of similar services out there, but I’ve never found one that’s as fast or reliable as YouTube-mp3.org.
2. Create and edit video thumbnails online: Pixlr.com/editor
Do you want to create customized thumbnails for your videos, but can’t afford a copy of Adobe Photoshop? Pixlr.com/editor is a stripped down version of Photoshop that comes with many of the tools you need to create some eye-catching images. This entirely free program allows you to change the brightness and saturation of your images, add blur effects, add text and crop images together, among a ton of other features.
3. Create shareable GIFs of your videos: MakeGIF Video Capture Chrome extension
Nobody will see your content unless you promote it, and you’ll need to be a more creative marketer than those people who simply slap a link to their video across their profiles on every social media platform and expect people to be impressed. One great way to grab people’s attention is by creating a GIF of the most visually entertaining or otherwise compelling part of your video. MakeGIF Video Capture is a free Google Chrome extension that I’ve been using for more than a year, and it’s never failed me.
To use this extension, go to the part in your video you want to use in your GIF, click on the MakeGIF icon in your browser toolbar, click Capture Settings, and then, next to Crop, click Apply/Cancel and highlight the YouTube video window. Now hit play on your video and then hit Start in MakeGIF. When you’re finished, click Done in MakeGIF. You can save the GIF to use how you please, and best of all, it has no watermark.
4. Overhaul YouTube’s user interface with easier to access options, and bonus features: TubeBuddy Chrome extension
If you haven’t heard of TubeBuddy, you’re seriously missing out. I’m not kidding. Go download it right now. TubeBuddy, which has more than 160,000 users, supercharges your entire YouTube experience. The extension makes YouTube’s existing creator features easier to access with a single click, but also offers additional features, like a stats tab on other people’s videos that estimates how much they’ve earned, and how their video is ranking for certain keywords, which can help you when you’re deciding how to promote your own content. I’m honestly scraping the surface of the wealth of options available on this excellent extension. Go get it!
5. Royalty-free music on Soundcloud
Everyone’s heard of Soundcloud, but did you know you can use it to effectively find great royalty-free music you can use in your videos? Click this link to be taken to Soundcloud, where you’ll notice that music you can’t use commercially has been filtered out. To find music you think might be right for your content, search terms in your preferred music genre, eg. jazz, trumpets, punk, drum solo. Before downloading a track, please double check the track’s copyright details to ensure it has been filtered correctly by Soundcloud and that it is indeed royalty-free.