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How to Score, Enhance, and Caption Your Videos with YouTube Creator Studio

The editing capabilities found in YouTube's back end aren't going to compete with nonlinear editors like Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, but there are some powerful and unique tools that can make simple editing projects even simpler.

Adding Interactivity

The next tab over, while still named End Screen and Annotations, includes only one of those two items. YouTube is doing away with the Flash-based Annotations, so the only thing you can affect here is the End Screen for your video. End Screens are very popular on the platform as they give creators the ability to provide tangible calls to action at the end of their videos. End Screens can contain links to other videos, playlists, other channels, subscribe links, and even external web links. The editor even has a grid display that allows you to keep the elements neat as you build your End Screen. If you have a template End Screen from another video on your channel, you can choose to import it, saving you the hassle of recreating an End Screen each time.

Cards is the next tab in the editor. Cards are replacing Annotations on YouTube as the preferred way to get people to interact with your videos. Unlike Annotations, Cards are compatible with mobile devices. They allow the creator to provide direct links to many of the same things available on End Screens, but they can be displayed anywhere during a video. One unique item that can be added as a Card is a viewer poll. (Learn more about how to create and leverage YouTube End Screens and Cards for calls to action here.)


The final tab available when editing on YouTube is Subtitles/Closed Captions. If it’s able, YouTube will automatically generate closed captions (CC) for speech it recognizes. YouTube’s auto CC is pretty spotty, however, and you should check to ensure its accuracy (Figure 6, below).

Figure 6. Auto-generated captions in YouTube Creator Studio

If you want to change the text, first select the “Add new subtitles or CC” button by the video, choose your language, and then proceed with one of the following three options:

1. Upload a standards-based CC file in .srt, .sbc, .sub, .mpsub, .lrc, or .cap format.
2. If you don’t have one of these, then you can upload a transcription to YouTube and the platform will attempt to auto-sync it to your video.
3. Your last option is simply to watch the video and transcribe it manually as you go.

Saving and Showing

Once you have completed your edits, you can save the revised video. If the video is already live on your channel, YouTube will automatically show the new version to watchers. Otherwise, you can publish the final product now.

Most of the time, we need to perform many of these edits before we encode and upload, but there are times and situations where budget or time constraints may require some creativity in how we do our jobs. In these cases, YouTube’s Creator Studio provides some viable postproduction (or post-postproduction) options even for the seasoned pro.