Using OpenShot to edit track day videos for YouTube – part 2

video_introIn the previous instalment I explained how to set up your camera(s) on your bike to help produce decent quality video. In this article, I’ll show you how to edit your video using OpenShot to produce a high quality video for YouTube.

OpenShot is a powerful and simple to use free open source video editing software which works on Mac, Windows and Linux. It supports titles, transitions, picture in picture and more. All the sorts of features that you might need to create a high quality video to impress your friends and followers on YouTube!

While this article isn’t a hands-on manual on how to use OpenShot, I will try to explain the different features that I use to create my YouTube videos. This should give you a good clue as to what OpenShot is capable of and how to achieve that effect.

Video Editor

OpenshotAll editing takes place in a single window with multiple panels. In the top left panel you add all your assets or source files; these can videos, audio and music files and titles.

In the lower panel, you create each track. Normally you have as many tracks as you have “things” that you want output in your video. In this example, track 1 contains my forward facing GoPro video. Track 2 contains the video from my rear facing Muvi HD 7 camera. The top track contains the title. OpenShots lays track 1 down first, then places track 2 above it and so forth – this is how the titles appear foremost above the other two video tracks. Just drag your video, audio or title asset onto the appropriate track.

The upper right hand panel is where you can preview your video. All the tracks are composited together and output here.

Picture in picture

As I mentioned in my previous post, I need to rotate my rear facing upside down video in Track 2 video through 180 degrees. I also want it placed in the bottom right hand side of the frame.

Openshot-propertiesRotating the track is simple; just right-click on the track and select the Rotate -> Rotate 180 menu option. Placing the video in the bottom right hand of the frame is achieved by right-clicking the track again and selecting the Properties option. On the layout tab, I shrink the video to 30% of the output frame size and move it to the bottom right by specifying 70% as the X and Y values (as per this screenshot). Make sure you change the settings on this tab for both the start and the end of the video clip (using the Keyframe menu option) keeping both sets of settings the same. If you forget to change the End of Clip settings then your embedded video will “grow” as the video runs!


Openshot-titleIt is worth adding a title at the start of your video to help anyone watching the video understand what they’re going to be watching. In the case of my track day videos, I include the track/circuit, the date of the track day and the session and group that the video shows.

Titles are created using the Title -> New Title… menu option. Use the subsequent dialogs to choose your title type and to select the font and colours you want to use, and more importantly to specify the text you want to display.

One nice feature of OpenShot is that you can fade any track in and out. This gives a nicer effect when selected rather than having the titles suddenly disappear from the video. To do this, right-click on the title track and select the Video tab and enable the Fade out option.

Trimming the video

Chances are that you want to exclude some of the start of the video and some of the end of the video. Although you can do this using the cut tool, there is in fact a much simpler way to do this.

Openshot-lengthIf you right-click on each track (tracks 1 and 2 in this example) and select the Length tab, you can specify the In and Out values for the track. These values determine just how much of the video clip is actually shown.

The In value determines how many seconds “in” the video starts. The Out value determines the point at which the video will end. If you specify 15 seconds as your “in” value and 45 seconds as your “out” value then your clip would run for 30 seconds starting 15 seconds in from the video clip and ending at 45 seconds.

I typically use the “in” value to skip the video showing us waiting in pit lane and some of the warm up lap. I use the “out” value to limit the size of the video as the YouTube account I use has a 15 minute length restriction.

Synchronising the two video tracks

The quick witted among you may be wondering how I synchronised the front and rear video footage. After some experimenting I have deduced that the simplest way to do this is to start both cameras at exactly the same time.

I used to start the two cameras at different times and then play with the In length setting to get the two clips in sync. This process drove me nearly crazy and is simply too time consuming to be worth bothering with.

If you have two cameras then make an effort to start them together at the same time to avoid these synchronisation issues. If you do then the “in” values for both clips can be identical which will help speed up your video editing.

Exporting the video

Openshot-exportOnce you’ve created your video and are happy with the preview, it’s time to save your project and export the video for YouTube. Luckily OpenShot has pre-built settings that make generating the right sort of video for YouTube simple. Chose the File -> Export… menu option and select the same settings that you see in this screenshot. You may get a warning that one or more codecs are missing; if so, refer to the OpenShot document to find out how to get these installed for your Operating System.

Exporting and generating the final output video can take quite a while; the time is normally dependent on the power of your processor and whether your system can utilise your graphics card if you have one for video encoding. My system with an i7 processor normally takes about 10 minutes to encode a 15 minute video. The video size is approximately 500Mb for the 720 format videos that I produce for YouTube.

The video above is an example of how your video might look on YouTube after all your edits with OpenShot. Hopefully this has given you a good overview of how OpenShot can be used to produce high quality videos of your track days for YouTube. All you need to do after creating your own masterpiece is to upload your video to your YouTube account.


One thought on “Using OpenShot to edit track day videos for YouTube – part 2”

  1. Thanks for the write-up. I’ve been thinking of some ideas to get better footage when I end up going out. Usually for our road rides, I setup the cameras and put the footage together. I also have a Go Pro Hero 2 that I mount when riding on the turn signals using a Manfrotto clamp (road) and a countorRoam that I use for my helmet. The Contour was great at the time (2 years ago) when I purchased it for convenience. The Go Pro does a slightly better job capturing footage. They look amazing on 1080P sets when you perform the playback. I am going to test a few more ideas at the track when I go in March. I’ll share my results when the time comes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.