YouTube is a great place to find a wealth of great educational video content. There are TED talks, presentations from leading scholars around the world, and how-to videos on pretty much any topic you can imagine. In a previous post, I walked you through a way to download YouTube videos for offline viewing and for use in slide presentations. Once you have that MP4 file, technically you can edit it and post it in your SmartSite course, but doing so is a copyright-infringing practice that is frowned upon. But remember, linking to a video that is publicly available is perfectly okay in terms of copyright.
There are other disadvantages as well. Depending on its size, hosting an MP4 video on SmartSite can also tax the system, so when you have another option for hosting the video somewhere else (like on YouTube or the ATS Limelight server), it”s good to do so. Also, there isn”t a really easy way to integrate the video into your course. Frequently, I see people post MP4s in the resources folder for students to download, but that isn”t the same experience as having a video simply embedded into a webpage so students don”t have to find the video in their downloads folder in order to watch it.
YouTube has offered a technique called deep-linking where you can link to a specific start time in a YouTube video by adding a special modifier to the end of a video link, but using this method you can”t control the end time, which prevents you from linking to a specific snippet of a video. Why would you want to edit a video on YouTube? Well, for starters, say you have an hour long lecture or interview (perhaps from UC Berkeley”s excellent series), but there”s only a 5 minute segment that you want to use. Deep-linking doesn”t allow for this and it isn”t always convenient to tell students to stop watching the video at a particular timecode – many probably won”t even know what timecode is – so what to do? How about using a third-party online tool that does all the work for you? Namely, Splicd or TubeChop.
Splicd and TubeChop are simple online websites that let you set both an in-point and an out-point for a particular YouTube video segment, effectively trimming the video, all without actually affecting the original video. Essentially, you”re editing the video without actually editing it. This is a completely legal and non-copyright infringing way to show a particular segment of any YouTube video, because you”re streaming the video from it”s original source (YouTube) — all you”re doing is using an alternate player (Splicd or TubeChop).
The two services are quite similar – they both allow you to trim a YouTube video and to obtain either a link or embed code to paste the video into a webpage (like in SmartSite). Where the two services differ is in their players. TubeChop is a little simpler to use and the player where the edited video appears offers limited functionality, which may be just what you need. Splicd, on the other hand, offers a few more options, and the player itself is a bit more like the actual YouTube player. It also offers the user an option to go to the original YouTube video, which could be useful if the viewer wants to learn more. However, both services accomplish the same basic feat.
If you”ve been trying to figure out a way to use edited portions of YouTube videos, but weren”t sure about potential copyright and intellectual property implications, I”d highly encourage you to give these services a spin and see if one of them works for you. Happy editing!