YouTube made things a whole lot easier for the amateur video creator last year when they rolled out a free, bare-bones video editor (named, not surprisingly, YouTube Editor). Not all filmmakers can afford Final Cut Pro or another of the top video editing software suites, so having an option to make changes right in the YouTube control panel is a huge victory for the little guy–even if the tools are pretty basic. And now YouTube is giving the masses another way to help their videos shine: an image stabilization tool.
Good video isn't usually shaky–unless you're making one of the Bourne movies or Cloverfield. It's hard for the viewer to follow a shaky image, and it's enough to even make some people sick. A very easy way to stabilize the image when shooting video is to simply use a tri-pod or a Steadicam. But Steadicam isn't cheap, and not everyone has a tripod–not to mention the fact that some shots make using a tripod flat-out impossible.
Enter "image stabilization," a digital post-production effect that removes a great deal of the "hand-shake" that a lot of amateur videos have.
Here's a video that was made using the new stabilizer (and created by the author of the New York Times piece above):
YouTube Editor has actually seen several new tools and features added over the last several months, including brightness control and basic scene transitions. There's even a new 3D processing tool that can take two images filmed side-by-side and combine them together in 3D.
This is fantastic news, and something I wish YouTube would crow about a bit more. All the public announcements lately have been regarding programs and incentives for partner channels. But here's a massively useful–and free–new tool aimed squarely at the little guy, and it doesn't warrant a mention on the YouTube blog. Bummer. This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about when I said maybe they show partners too much love. Maybe they do show the Average Joe's some love… they just don't put out a press release for it.
The Patrick Boivin's and Freddie Wong's of the world aren't likely to use the YouTube Editor tool. They've no doubt got high-end video editing software and loads of processing power at their disposal. This tool wasn't created for the top-earning partner channels… it was created for the rest of us… the little guys (who, it should be noted, make up something north of 98% of YouTube's overall user base).
Here's hoping YouTube's engineers continue to add functions and features to the editing tool. I can't think of a better way to get more quality content out of the users than to give the users the kind of raw computing power the pros use. Maybe someday soon, YouTube Editor will be robust enough that the only thing keeping the playing field from being level is the talent of the directors.