Top 3 ways to edit video on your Chromebook
Editing videos on a Chromebook might not be the first thing that comes to mind due to several preconceptions about the operating system and due to the hardware that some of them are shipped with. While it is true that Chromebooks weren't build with high level productivity in mind they are very handy machines that often come at a budget and if you need to use them for video editing too we think that there are some great options for you.
Still we need to acknowledge that there are some limitations, we will try to outline the most important ones and then find the best solutions to overcome them.
Difficulties of video editing on Chromebook
Finding a properly powerful Chromebook is quite difficult. Most of the time these machines come with budget CPUs and without a dedicated graphics card. This means that for the better part of your time doing video editing on Chromebook you will be stuck waiting for files to transcode or render which doesn't sound like much fun.
It is a well known fact that video files come in respectable sizes. Depending on the resolution and the codec type that was used a file could count a few gigabits just for one or two minutes of footage. Now Chromebooks aren't the most potent machines when it comes to this area either. Most of them come with 128GB of storage which is not great, even worse is that some of them come with less than that. If yours has more check if it is SSD or HDD. This is important when thinking about doing video editing on a Chromebook because a HDD offers slower speeds and it will add up when coupled with a slow CPU.
While Chrome OS is a very lightweight system that performs very well, it comes in short when it comes to the number of applications available for it. The selection is limited to the number of apps that can be found in the Chrome Web Store. Lately some Chromebooks received support for Android apps, and you can use some apps from the Google Play Store for your video editing efforts but this is not an widespread feature for now.
Top 3 solutions for video editing on Chromebook
Running a Mac or Windows PC video editing program
This might not be an obvious solution but it works and can be achieved in two different ways, each with it's own ups and downs.
The most simple one, provided you also have a Mac or Windows machine available is to connect remotely to it. You can use the Chromebook Remote Desktop found in the Chrome Web Store to gain this functionality. Obviously this might not work for everyone simply because you might only have a Chromebook available, and you also need a strong internet connection between the two devices. Still it is worth a shot if you need access to a desktop video editing tool, provided that you have a desktop available. This approach overcomes all the problems mentioned before like power or storage but requires a fairly strong internet connection.
While still talking about running a Mac or Windows video editing program on a Chromebook it is also worth mentioning that you could also install them locally thorough virtualization thus removing the need of a different computer that has Mac or Windows.
The process is quite complicated though, you start by installing Linux OS from the Developer Mode and then setup Virtual Box followed by the installation of Windows or Mac in that virtual environment. This solution works but it comes with big downsides. We mentioned before that Chromebooks aren't the most powerful machines, well adding a virtualisation layer makes things worse and your editing software will be even slower even compared to something that runs natively.
Video editing Android Apps from the Google Play Store
We briefly touched on this solution a few lines above but we think it is worth taking a closer at it. If you have a Chromebook that supports Android Apps this might be great for you. Here is a list of chromebooks supporting Google Play coming directly from Google so I hope it is fairly up to date.
This approach gives you a wide range of video editing tools to choose from. Of course none of them to the caliber of Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X but they will still do the job. It also comes with the downside of making use of your Chromebook's CPU and storage and based on your configuration your will various degrees of performance while editing.
Web based video editing tools
This time we saved the best for last. Online based video editing has come a long way and we think is the perfect solution for Chromebooks for several reasons. The first benefit is that you don't have to install any program on your machine, no storage space is used on your device, going even further you also don't have to worry about storing the actual media files that will be used in your project and since the processing is done in the cloud the specifications of your device don't have any impact on the whole video transcoding, editing and exporting processes.
Currently you have plenty of choices in this section too, from very simple one to more advanced. Still you have to be careful when choosing the right one for you. Some of these tools require you to render and wait each time you make a small change to your video which is a big productivity drawback. Other ones take a very long time to export due to their outdated technology, sometimes a 10 minute video can take more than an hour to finish exporting, not an ideal scenario when you are in a hurry. Some products that you can try are Magisto or Moovly.
That about summarizes the main problems you may encounter when trying to edit videos on a Chromebook. If you agree with the points we've made you can try Flixier, an online video editing tool that runs fast and smooth on your Chromebook browser, offers 1 minute exporting for any video on any computer and on top of that has some very simple communication and collaboration features built-in.
Let us know what you think!