If you’ve been on the Internet in the last few years, chances are you’ve wasted a good amount of time on YouTube. It’s a wonderful place, full of kittens, drugged-up children and people who thought it was a good idea to tape themselves imitating their favorite performers. But if you’re not a prolific amateur filmmaker, you might feel a little limited in what you can do. There are actually a handful of cool things you can do with a YouTube account or with found videos, including re-dubbing, setting alarms and making great interactive features. Here are nine of our favorite things to do with the video-sharing website:
One day, after a visit to the dentist, a guy decided to record his son’s painkiller-fueled ramblings and post it on YouTube for friends and family to see. A year and a half (and several million views) later, the DeVores of David After Dentist viral fame have made nearly $150,000 off the 2-minute clip. Gawker reports that a majority—almost $100,000—came from YouTube, and the rest from merchandising that the family started selling after the elder David quit his job in real estate. They’ve even gone so far as to sign a deal to produce medical scrubs for dentists. It all goes to show that you don’t have to be the next Justin Bieber to make a little money off of YouTube.
While the DeVores did donate a portion of their proceeds to their local church and a charity called Operation Smile, other videos that have gone viral solicit donations for certain charities almost exclusively. The JK Wedding Entrance (famously co-opted by Michael Scott and Co. during the Jim/Pam wedding extravaganza) used its sudden notoriety to solicit nearly $35,000 (and growing) in donations for the Sheila Wellstone Institute, an organization committed to ending domestic violence.
YouTube has added a plethora of features to its videos in the last few years, among them interactive video annotations. Some folks are utilizing these tools for marketing purposes; others are reliving the glory days of Choose Your Own Adventure novels by making a series of short 1- or 2-minute videos tied together by a common story and the ability to choose the outcome. It’s obvious which of these is more entertaining. Two that have cropped up recently include Super Mario Bros. (above) and 8-bit Twilight: Eclipse.
Speaking of always introducing new features, YouTube is constantly trying to find ways to make their interface more friendly and encourage more users to get involved in uploading videos. A part of this effort, incubated in YouTube’s development blog TestTube, is the on-site video editor. The editor allows users to submit videos and edit them without having to bother with default movie editors or expensive programs like Final Cut Pro. Some things you can do include combining multiple videos to create a new longer video, trimming the beginning and/or ending of videos, adding soundtracks from a library of tens of thousands of songs and creating new videos without worrying about file formats and publishing them to YouTube with one click. Nifty.