Video Workflow – Free Tools

The best part of video is how convenient it has become. However, it is still a lot of work. The tools I like to use also need to be fast... and free. This is an important aspect of liberty.

Even for short videos there is usually a combination of images, video clips and audio that needs some kind of manipulation. I've got a quick workflow that seems to do the trick.

YouTube Video Editor

The key to this is the YouTube video editor, which enables very fast splitting and combining of video and also the creation of single image video segments as well as slideshow videos. Where this falls down is on the audio side, as YouTube does not allow (though it once did some time ago in the past) the uploading of one's own audio (apart from audio already embedded in an uploaded video).

Creating Audio files for use in YouTube

To get your audio up so it can be added to YouTube:

  1. Create a black image 1920 x 1080 (Inkscape or Gimp)
  2. Upload to YouTube in the video editor
  3. Drag the image into the video timeline, and extend the image time from the default 5 seconds to the length of the audio track
  4. Create the video (set to private)
  5. Download the video
  6. Open the video inside of Avidemux
  7. Add the audio track
  8. Set for MPeg4 AVC (x264) video, AAC (Faac) audio, MP4 Muxer output format
  9. Save the video
  10. Import that back up to YouTube

Note that there is a little glitch in that the audio track must be continuous, so add the same audio but set the volume to zero, so that there is a placeholder.

For cutting to a different video (but same audio) of say a narrator, just use multiple copies with segments that cross back and forth from (video + audio) to (audio only) to (video + audio)

This may seem like a bit of a contortion, but we are still dealing with a free, fast, web-based video editor.

Video Editors and Other Tools

  • Avidemux is a cross platform open source video editing tool. It does a few things quickly, especially swapping out audio, slicing video into smaller parts, transcoding, etc.
  • YouTube Video Downloader Chrome Extension
  • FBDown Video Downloader Chrome Extension
  • Inkscape is a fantastic vector graphics drawing tool with PNG output
  • Gimp is a painful to use, but fully featured (if you can find out how) image editor and painting tool
  • Blender is a 2d and 3d animation tool with a built-in NLE (non-linear video editor). It takes a bit of configuring, but when dealing with more complex issues than a five minute video with a few different cuts, this the tool par excellence.