Video editing on your Chromebook just got real thanks to Clipchamp

By - Dan Millward

Updated -

When it comes to video editing on Chrome OS you’re pretty limited or should I say you were. One thing that has always been missing for Chromebook users is a professional video editor. Well, after using Clipchamp for a few hours, I think I’ve found a video editor that is as close to professional as I’ve seen for Chrome OS.

Do not get me wrong. This video editor isn’t a replacement for professional video editing software, but it’s a pretty good alternative. The fact that you can use this with your Chromebook is a great step forward for anyone who wants to edit videos on Chrome OS. It’s available as both an Android app and a progressive web app (PWA).

Android apps are a great addition to Chrome OS but it can be difficult to find apps that work perfectly in a laptop environment. This is because many Android Apps are designed with mobile in mind. I did not have this issue once with Clipchamp and I felt like I was using software that was specifically made for the Chromebook.

Clipchamp Android App or PWA

I was also happy to see that you can also use Clipchamp as a PWA. Although Android Apps may be great PWAs are without question the way forward. The Chromebook was the first computer to be built for the cloud, and PWAs are the apps that make cloud computing so much better.

One of the biggest advantages to PWAs apart from performance and the extra functionality they can provide. Is the fact they can be used with any operating system that has access to a web browser. This means developers can spend all their time and effort on a PWA and not have to worry about supporting different versions depending on the type of computer the user is using.

This makes PWAs such an attractive option for developers, which means they’ll invest a lot of time to make them a fantastic replacement to traditional programs you install locally on your computer. This is why PWAs are the perfect match for Chrome OS. It will be PWAs that eventually bring us the pro video editors and any other professional software you’d like to see available for your Chromebook.

Android app or PWA – Clipchamp is great on both

The good news is both versions are available, so you can use Clipchamp as either an Android App or a PWA, it’s entirely up to you. I’ve had a quick look at the PWA version and it’s very much identical to the Android App version. The good news is your video edits are synced if you use the same email address. This means your files will be available on both the Android App and PWA versions. So it makes sense to check out both versions to see, which one works better for you.

How to install Clipchamp as an Android App

  • It’s really easy to install as an Android App. Just head on over to the play store, search for Clipchamp and press install.

How to install Clipchamp as a PWA

Once you’ve registered your email, which I personally would recommend choosing sign in with Google. You’ll then be able to use Clipchamp directly from your browser. However, to get the PWA version, which will be more secure and offer better performance. You need to click on ‘Install Desktop App’, which will be shown in the bottom left-hand corner.

Clipchamp PWA for Chromebook
Click on ‘Install desktop app’ to install the PWA onto your Chromebook

Once you install the desktop app you’ll have the PWA version installed on your Chromebook. This means you’ll be able to take full advantage of the PWA, and you’ll be able to access it in the future from your Chrome OS launcher menu.

Creating your first video

Once you’ve installed either the Android or PWA app you’ll be presented with the home screen. From here you can create your first video. There are templates, which you can use or you can create a video from scratch. I took a quick look at the templates and some of them are pretty good. However, starting a video from scratch and using a blank canvas was the option I went with.

You have many options available to you to start adding content to your video. An option to import video, images and audio files from your computer or Google Drive is available. This is great if you already have the content that you want to work with. You can simply search through your local files or files saved in the cloud and add them to your video project.

Record and Create

Another great option to see is that you can start creating content inside Clipchamp. This includes recording your webcam and importing the recording into Clipchamp. You can also choose to record your screen or even add some text to speech to your video creation.

Screen & Camera

You can choose to record your desktop screen and webcam at the same time. This is great for videos where you want people to be able to see you whilst showing them something from your Chromebook desktop. There is also an option to record a specific window rather than the whole desktop.

What I like about this option is that it records your webcam and desktop as two separate clips. Therefore it allows you to change where the webcam clip is located on the screen and easily resize the webcam clip when imported into your video project. This is much better than both your webcam and desktop being recorded as one video, which limits your options when it comes to editing.

Recording desktop and webcam on Chrome OS with Clipchamp
Recording the webcam and desktop separately gives you greater control when editing

When you import the clip into Clipchamp both of the clips are grouped together. However, you can ungroup the clips, which would then allow you to move the webcam clip and even add some filters to it. This is great to see and it means you’ll have much more control over any videos you make where you record both the desktop and webcam.

Camera Recording

There is also an option to record just from your webcam. This is a great way to easily add content to your video without having to use a separate camera. I also like the fact that you have the option of using either the built-in webcam mic or using an external mic if you have one plugged into your Chromebook. Using the internal mic is fine for casual use, but being able to use an external mic will provide you with much better audio quality.

Choosing to record from built-in webcam mic or external mic
You can choose to record your audio with an external mic to improve the audio

Screen recording

Another option you have is to record your screen only. Again, you have the option to record your whole desktop or a particular window. It’s good to see that Clipchamp recognises if you have more than one display. If you use a Chromebox like I do and have more than one display connected. You don’t need to worry about, which display Clipchamp will record because you can choose the display to work with when going through the recording setup.

Text to speech

An option you don’t tend to find on many video editors is the ability to add text to speech. If you don’t want to use your own voice in your video editing, you can simply use Text to speech. There are plenty of options you have such as whether the voice should be male or female, how fast it should be and the nationality of the voice.

Although I feel videos are much more engaging if you use your own voice. It’s still good to see that you do have the option to use text to speech. I’ve tried it out and it works just fine. It’s also cool that these clips are treated like any others, and you can edit and move them around the video timeline.

Adding text to speech clipchamp
Add speech to your video creation

Adding music and sound effects

Depending on the type of video creation you have in mind. You may want to add music or sound effects to your clips. The good news is you have access to some readily available music and SFX clips inside Clipchamp. You can use these to give your videos an immediate boost. You can of course also import your own music and sound effects to use with your project.

Stock video, images and grahpics

You’ll also find plenty of stock videos and images you can use for your video creation. This is a good choice if you don’t have any specific images or videos you may already have available.

These are all broken down into three different sections; Video, Images and Graphics. This makes it an easy process to find the type of content you wish to add to your project.

Adding text to your video

There is a wide selection of text options available. I really like this option because creating your own text animations can be really time-consuming. There are some really cool text animations you can choose, which means you should easily be able to find the right text to add to your project.

Once you’ve chosen the type of text animation you then have the ability to change how it looks. This is mainly done by changing the font type and size. You are also in complete control when it comes to where the text will be located on your video. Whether you want the text to be full screen with a black background or for your text to appear on top of your video as an overlay.

adding text to your Clipchamp video project
There are plenty of text animations to add to your video project

Video Transitions

There are so many options you have when editing video and something you may want to consider is how you deal with different video clips. You could simply move from one clip to another, fade from one to the other or use video transitions. Video transitions make videos more engaging and are a great way to add more animation to your video.

Instead of simply moving from one clip to another. Using video transitions allows you to be more creative and can massively improve the quality of your video project. There are lots of video transitions available in Clipchamp, and they are really easy to add between each of the clips you have in your video project.

Adding further effects to your video clips

Once you’ve added all of your video clips, images and sounds to your project. You can then get even more creative with the ability to transform, adjust colours and add filters to each of the clips in the timeline. The options available are pretty impressive considering you can use Clipchamp for free.

Being able to add filters to different clips in your video means you have endless ways to make your end creation stand out from the crowd. It also gives you endless possibilities, which makes it much easier to make a video that you’ll just love. It removes the feeling of being limited to basic video editing.

Exporting your videos

Of course, there is no point in creating a video if you don’t have the ability to export it at the end. This is where you’ll find the free version is very limited, and if you want to use Clipchamp for anything more than just fun. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid version.

The free version gives you the option to export your video as an MP4. However, it has some limitations, which include the video being exported at 480p resolution, which isn’t fantastic considering most people have Full HD 1080p displays. Your exports will also include a watermark, which shows you’ve created the video in Clipchamp.

If you wish to have more controls and better export options then you would have to pay a subscription. Once you’ve paid for your subscription you can export videos up to 1080p Full HD as an MP4. Upgrading to the paid version will also mean your exported videos will not include the Clipchamp watermark.

Summary

Clipchamp is a great video editing app for Chrome OS. At the moment you can get it as either an Android or PWA app and both of them work absolutely fine with your Chromebook or Chromebox. You’ll not feel limited when using the Android App as you can get with some apps.

When it comes to video editing software you need the app to work well and it needs to be easy to navigate. Clipchamp does this and I did not have any issues where I felt I was limited because I was using it on my Chromebook. It doesn’t matter whether you use the Android or PWA app as both are almost identical and very easy to navigate.

The learning curve is pretty low for a video editor. This means even if you’ve not done any video editing previously. You should find it pretty easy to get into how the software works. Clipchamp is good enough to be used professionally or just for fun, and the features included as standard make it easy for your videos to stand out.

This is a great example to show that professional video editing on the Chromebook isn’t far away. In fact, Clipchamp already offers a lot of features you don’t get with pro vid software, such as the ability to be able to record your desktop screen and webcam directly from the software. It’s a great example of what we can expect to see more of in the future.

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