How to Clip YouTube Videos

How to Clip YouTube Videos

Dealing with YouTube can be tricky, especially when you want to download and clip a YouTube video to use or share. There are plenty of ways you can easily and safely download, clip, edit, and use any YouTube video.

This article will cover a few different options you can consider to easily edit YouTube videos.

How to Download a YouTube Video

The first step to clipping videos outside of YouTube is to download them directly to your computer. There are a few easy ways you can accomplish this.

Websites or Services

If you type “YouTube to MP4” into your Google search bar, you will find plenty of options that allow you to paste a YouTube URL and download it as an MP4. And while this is the fastest method, these websites are riddled with malware and could cause serious harm to your computer.

Using the program VLC Player is highly recommended.

Use VLC Player

VLC is a free, open-source multimedia player that will work with any multimedia file and can be used to convert YouTube videos to .mp4.

  • Download VLC for Mac here.
  • Download VLC for Windows here.


Once you’ve downloaded VLC onto your PC, find the YouTube video that you would like to download and copy the URL. Open VLC and click “Media” in the top left menu. Select the “Open Network Stream” option. Paste your URL under “Please enter a network URL” and click “Play.”

You will now see your video in VLC. Click “Tools” in the top left menu and select “Codec Information.” Select and copy the location of the video shown at the bottom of the window.

Paste this URL into your browser and find the “Download” icon on the bottom.

On Mac

Open VLC. Select “File” in the top left menu, then “Open Network,” and paste the copied URL of the YouTube video you would like to download into the box. You will see your video pop up.

Next, select “Window” in the top left menu. Select “Media Information.” Select and copy the location of the video at the bottom of the box.

Paste this video into your browser. Right-click, click “Save Page As,” rename, choose the location, and click “Save.”

Why VLC is the Best Method to Use

Using VLC is the safest way to download videos from YouTube. It’s trustworthy software, and by leveraging it, you’re eliminating the need to use any third-party websites that could cause your computer harm.

How to Edit a YouTube Video

Now that you’ve successfully downloaded the YouTube video that you would like to edit, you will need video editing software or an online video editing platform. The good news is, there are plenty of free ways to do this that are completely safe and very easy to use.

Software Options

Use iMovie

If you have a Mac, iMovie comes pre-installed on your computer and is very intuitive, even for the first-time video editor. Simply find and open iMovie on your Launchpad. Launch a new project and drag your downloaded YouTube video from Finder into the video timeline at the bottom of the window.

Find where you would like to clip your video, right-click, and hit “Split Clip.” You can micro-adjust the ends of your clip by zooming in on the timeline, clicking and holding the end of the clip, and dragging your mouse left and right.

When you’re ready to export, hit “File,” “Share,” then “File…”.

Use Lightworks

Lightworks is a very powerful video editing software that you can download on either Windows or Mac. There’s a free version that has all the capabilities you need to successfully clip a YouTube video.

Open Lightworks and make sure you are in the “Edit” tab. Drag your YouTube video into the timeline at the bottom of the screen. Drag the playhead to where you want to trim or clip the video. Just click “C” on your keyboard to split the video and “delete” to remove.

In Lightworks, you can also zoom in, click and hold, and drag your mouse left and right to adjust the start and endpoints of your video.

To export, right-click on your timeline, hover over “Export,” then click “H.264/MP4 (Free).” Choose the destination folder to which you would like to export, and click “Start.”

Clip and Trim Videos using YouTube’s Video Editor

If you need to trim your own YouTube video without having to re-upload it, there is a really easy way to do this right within YouTube.

Enter your YouTube Studio and select “Videos” from the left menu. Click the pencil icon and find “Editor” in the new left menu. YouTube will then display your video as a timeline. Click “Trim” above the left side of the timeline then click “Split” at the bottom of the page. Then, click the starting point of where you want to trim your video.

Click and drag the playhead and click “Preview” to ensure that you’ve clipped your video correctly. When you are finished, click “Save” in the top right corner of the screen.

Keep in mind that this can only be done on YouTube videos that you have uploaded, so if you would like to trim someone else’s video, you will still need to follow the download and edit protocols as previously described.

Share a YouTube Clip With No Editing

If you would like to share a portion of a YouTube video without going through the hassle of downloading, editing, and exporting, you can click “Share” underneath the YouTube video you would like to share. Select the “Start at” box and indicate where you would like the video to begin when someone clicks your shared link.

Additionally, YouTube is currently beta-testing a feature called “Clips” where you can indicate the exact timeframe of a video that you would like to share and share just that portion. Clips can be between 5 and 60 seconds. You can try this feature in this video. Look for the scissor icon next to “Clip” to the right of the “Share” button underneath the video.