A gradual move to the cloud means that we’re becoming used to spending more and more time using our web browser. No longer used to simply access websites, the humble browser can now be used to replace many traditional pieces of software thanks to a growing number of online tools.
Video editing was once seen as being a task that required high end machines, but we’ve now reached a point where even this can be achieved online. Of course, we’re not talking about creating the next Pixar-beating blockbuster online, but you’d still be amazed at what it is possible to do with cloud-based video editors.
The quality of browser-based tools varies greatly, so here we’ve picked out the best online editors available today. Selecting the best tool will often be a case of seeing which closest meets your needs, so we’ve included a mixture of very basic and more advanced options.
1. Movie Maker Online
An amazingly flexible online video editor, with royalty-free media to supplement your own movie clips, audio files and images
The first time you look at Movie Maker Online you might not be keen on the way things look. The ads on the site can be something of a distraction, but you should be able to train your eyes to ignore them – they are just a minor irritation, and certainly not a reason to avoid using this free online video editor. It’s not possible to use an adblocker because it interferes with video editing – or so the site says, anyway.
Movie Maker Online lets you upload video, images and music, and combine them into a project by dragging and dropping them onto a timeline (you’ll need to scroll a little way down the page to find it).
Video clips can be cropped, there are numerous filters available, and fade options are available for both audio and video. You can also use the online editor add text overlays, control transitions and more. There are even royalty-free images and music files to help complete your project.
It just might take you a while to find your way around the system of menus and you can only export your finished projects in MP4 format, but this is a minor complaint. Movie Maker Online is the best tool for editing videos in your web browser.
Try it online: Movie Maker Online
2. YouTube Video Editor
YouTube’s own video editor isn’t as powerful as Movie Maker Online, but the learning curve isn’t as steep and the tools are all well designed
Being a site concerned solely with video, the fact that YouTube has a video editor should come as little surprise. Don’t worry if you’re not a YouTube user, using YouTube Video Editor doesn’t mean that you have to upload your videos for the world to see – you can also upload them privately.
You’re presented with a timeline to work with, and to this you can drag any of the videos you have uploaded to your account. You can work with a single clip, or create a compilation of several if you want. Editing tools are simple, but effective – brightness and contrast adjustment, automatic fixing, image stabilization, rotation and slow motion, and there are filters for you to apply.
Other options include adding a separate soundtrack and text overlay. It’s all very simple, but it’s enough for creating simple projects and you’ll be pleased to learn that video processing is very fast.
Try it online: YouTube Video Editor
The free version of this online video editor lacks some advanced features, but it simple to use and a good choice for simple movie-making tasks
The name may sound like something of a boast, but ClipChamp works hard to earn it. It’s not our top choice, but it strikes a decent balance between power and usability and might be just the tool for you.
ClipChamp has premium tiers starting at US$7 per month (about £5, AU$9), but a free account still lets you perform some basic edits with a few limitations – no more than five videos a month, a maximum resolution of 1080p, and no videos longer than five minutes.
You can either upload a video you’ve already recorded or use your webcam to capture new footage. Either method works well, and gives you access to basic tools including trimming, cropping, flipping, rotating and brightness/contrast adjustment.
Any changes you make can be applied very quickly and you can then share the results online, or download the video to use in your offline projects. Simple, but it gets the job done.
Try it online: ClipChamp
Upload and edit up to 1GB of footage in your web browser, and download the finished video in a format of your choice
VideoToolbox isn’t going to win any beauty contests – the site contains a lot of ads, and it’s very easy to click them by accident when you’re trying to work with videos you’ve uploaded. Don’t let this put you off, though – the advertising might seem overbearing at first, but it means you can use this excellent online editor free of charge.
You can upload up to 1GB of footage to VideoToolbox, which is very generous (though expect to wait quite a while for it to upload). You also have the option of working with online video from a number of sites, including YouTube.
The range of editing options available on VideoToolbox is a little limited compared to tools like Movie Maker Online, but for certain tasks it’s ideal. You can convert videos between formats, join multiple clips into one video, add a watermark, embed or extract subtitles, and trim away unwanted footage. The interface makes some tasks a little tricky and longwinded to complete, but Video Toolbox is well worth a look if you have a particularly large video to edit,
Try it online: VideoToolbox
5. Online Video Cutter
If some of the tools above look confusing, check out Online Video Cutter. It’s simple to use, and is available as a handy Chrome extensions
Despite the name, Online Video Cutter is about more than just cutting up videos. The site lets you upload files up to 500MB in size, or work with clips stored on Google Drive or other online service.
You can then opt to trim away unwanted footage, and crop in if you have taken too wide a shot. There’s a rotate function for footage accidentally shot with your phone on its side, and there’s even a Chrome extension available so you can access the editing tools more easily.
When you’re happy with the edits you’ve made, you can take your pick from a choice of popular video formats, and choose a quality setting if you need to minimize file size. There may not be many tools on offer here, but the site is beautifully set out and everything is nicely streamlined, making it a joy to use.
Try it online: Online Video Cutter