Edited YouTube Video Start Time? What's Up with This?

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Edited YouTube Video Start Time? What's Up with This?

Post by rogerwimmer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:03 am

Doc: I was on a website yesterday and there was a link included for a YouTube video. I wanted to see it, so I clicked on the link. I was surprised to find that the video started at 2:20 of the video (it is about six minutes long) and not at the beginning. The video started at the point where the important stuff in the video began (the first 2:20 is just an introduction). How did they do that? That is, how did they include a link where the video started at 2:20? Thanks in advance. - David

David: There are a few gimmicks or tricks that can be done with YouTube videos that I think most people don’t know about, but I’m not sure. On to your question . . .

I’m going to use a video to demonstrate some of the things that can be done when sending a link for a YouTube video in an email or including it in a website. The video I’ll use is one I already discussed in this column, the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “They Call Me the Breeze.” I used this song in a question to discuss chorus effect, where it sounds as though there are horns playing, but it’s only an artifact of three guitars playing the same thing simultaneously.

Now, if I want someone to see that specific part of the video, which starts at about 3:33 of the song, I could say, “Click on this link and use the slider button under the little screen to slide over to about 3:33 of the song." There isn’t anything wrong with this, but not all people are equally efficient at using the slider button under the screen. So let’s look at alternatives.

Alternative One
First, YouTube has its own way to edit the start time of a video and it’s located here. It’s easy to use . . . just paste the video’s URL (Uniform Resource Locator) in the space at the top (#1), then enter the desired start time in #2, and click on “Get Link” in #3. The edited URL with the new start time will appear in the space. The only thing necessary is to copy that link and paste it into an email or website. Using this method, you’ll notice that the start time is at the end of the URL (look in the address bar) – click here .

Second, an easier way to do the same thing is to go to the video and stop it at the time where you want it to start. When the video is stopped, right click on the little video screen and a box will appear with several options. One option is, “Copy video URL at current time.” Copy that link to insert it in an email or website.

So, with either of those approaches, I can start the video at the point just before the chorus effect starts - click on this link. Neat, eh?

Alternative Two
Now, in some instances, I may want to send only a specific segment of a video, and that’s possible with a website called Tube Chop, which is also very easy to use.

Using TubeChop, here is the segment of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song that demonstrates the chorus effect. (Note: I noticed that TubeChop sometimes takes a while to load.)

I realize that sending a link for the entire video and including a statement such as, “Slide over to 3:33 of the song,” or “Watch the video and pay attention to what happens at 3:33” is the easiest approach (Ockham’s Razor), but the alternative approaches only take a few seconds and they may save some people time and confusion.


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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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