September 23, 2008

YouTube Captions & AudioSwap

As a follow up to my last post on YouTube’s Annotations, I also wanted to mention a couple other upgrades and tools YouTube has put in place. 

YouTube Captions allows you to upload a text file to add in captions throughout your video. Kudos to YouTube for taking this step in making videos accessible to as many people as possible. In addition, YouTube’s AudioSwap allows a user to find a particular song to completely replace your existing soundtrack. 

I also think this is a great step forward in terms of finding a way to work with artists and record labels and settle on some form of agreement about use of artists’ tracks. Some major labels such as Warner have progressed in this area by making deals with YouTube but the issue of copyright on YouTube is still dicey with other labels and independent labels.

As for AudioSwap, I have two issues with the tool.

One, the list of available artists and songs is tiny. It could very well be that YouTube is trying to get a feel for how many people will use the tool, but they need to beef up the roster quick if anyone is going to pay attention in the first place. Second, is the limitations on editing. When you go to swap out a song on your video, it completely replaces the audio track. Yikes, scratch any incorporation of a backing track. 

The limited flexibility on the editing end is a huge limitation for me and not something I would ever put to use, especially with access to user-friendly editing platforms such as FinalCut and iMovie.

Obviously YouTube is trying to give users some degree of baseline flexibility through their addition of annotations, captions and audioswap. Check out this video below for a decent overview of captions and audioswap.

I’m curious to see if the next step is for them to add in some form of basic video editing software that would enable a user to upload raw footage and conduct basic edits similar to iMovie.


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