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June 25, 2014

YouTube's Lesser Known Features Offer Powerful Options for Watching Videos


How often have you watched a video on YouTube where you end up watching the same few seconds of footage over and over again to catch what exactly is going on in a particularly hectic moment? Be it sports, dancing or action-packed scenes from a movie, there are many scenarios when the movement is too fast to tell what is happening in the video. However, an easily overlooked feature on the YouTube player allows users to slow down videos down to a quarter of their original play speed. This is just one of several features offered by YouTube that are hard to discover, yet do wonders for enhancing the video experience.

To access most of these features, users need to be watching videos using YouTube's HTML5 video player. This player is the default player for Google Chrome, but is supported by most popular browsers like Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari, Firefox and even Opera. This player can be accessed at any time by simply right clicking on the video, and clicking on “Request the HTML5 player.”

The HTML5 player hides the slow-motion feature in the lower right-hand corner of the video, underneath the rarely clicked icon shaped like a gear. Here, users have the option to turn off annotations if they find them distracting, as well as having the option to increase or decrease the video quality to get a better picture and audio or simply speed up the streaming process. Also listed here are the speed options, which give users a variety of settings to slow down or even speed up the rate at which the video is played. Slowing it down allows viewers to actually observe what is going on in the frame in detail.

YouTube's closed captioning feature is also surprisingly in-depth, even if it is rarely seen. Not only does the captioning use speech-to-text software to write down the words, but users can also customize how those words appear. Caption options include the ability to change the font of the text, including size, color and even background color. The opacity of texts can also be controlled, so that as little of the video as possible is obscured by the captioning.

 

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