Since launching in 2005, YouTube has been home to countless video trends and many forms of entertainment. Who remembers Charlie Bit My Finger, David After Dentist, and the still very relevant Leave Britney Alone?
Now, the team behind one of the most visited websites in the world has hopped on the short-form video bandwagon by creating YouTube Shorts. These 15-60 second videos are designed to entertain audiences and help brands and creators drive engagement.
What are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts are short-form, vertical video content created using a smartphone and uploaded directly to YouTube from the YouTube app.
Using YouTube’s built-in creation tools, you can capture, edit, add music from major labels (including Sony, Universal, and Warner), add animated text, control the speed of your footage, and edit together multiple 15-second video clips to create your Shorts.
Viewers of your Shorts can share, comment, like, dislike, or subscribe to your channel while viewing the video. The content doesn’t disappear and remains on YouTube, unlike other short-form video apps like Instagram Stories and Snapchat.
Why try YouTube Shorts?
Initially launched in India on Sept 14th, 2020, and rolled out across the U.S. on March 18th, 2021, YouTube Shorts quickly surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally. Shorts was finally released in beta-mode to 100 countries worldwide on July 12th, 2021.
YouTube’s VP of Product Management described the video format as “a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones,” and goes on to say, “Shorts is a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less”.
YouTube’s attempt at short-form video content isn’t a far cry from other ephemeral videos on social media, including TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Spotlight, and even Twitter Fleets and LinkedIn Stories (RIP).
And short-form video is no stranger to YouTube. The channel’s first ever upload was only 18 seconds long.
But, what sets YouTube Shorts apart is its ability to convert viewers into subscribers for your channel, a must-do for brands and creators.
When you’re setting up YouTube Shorts, you can create an entirely separate channel for your Shorts or place the Shorts widget in your main channel. But we recommend keeping your Shorts on your main channel. This is because aligning your main feed YouTube content and your Shorts content in one place will make it easier for your audience to stay engaged with your videos and give them more opportunity to hop from Shorts to YouTube videos and ultimately subscribe to your channel.
How to make a YouTube Short
Step 1: Download the YouTube app
You can only make Shorts natively in the YouTube app. This is a smart play from YouTube to keep everything in one handy place, rather than asking people to download and sign up to another app to create Shorts.
To gain access to the YouTube app, do the following:
- Login to your app store of choice (iOS App Store or Google Play) and search for YouTube
- Download the official YouTube app
- Login using your Google login or a separate YouTube login
Step 2: Start creating your YouTube Short
1. Tap (+) icon on the button of the app homepage, then tap Create a Short
2. To record a 15-second video clip, hold the red record button or tap it to start recording and then again to stop
3. If you want to record a full 60-second video, tap the number 15 above the record button to change the video length to 60-seconds
4.To add special effects and elements to your video, browse the toolbar on the right of the screen
a. Tap the rotating arrows to switch the camera view
b. Speed up or slow down your Short by tapping the 1x button
c. Tap the clock icon to set a countdown timer for creating hands-free videos
d. Add filters to your Short by tapping the three circles icon
e. Add retouching to your video by tapping the magic wand
f. Tap the person icon to switch up your background and add a green screen or photo from your smartphone’s library
g. Tap the ghost icon to help align your transitions between video clips
5. To add sound to your Short, tap the Add sound icon at the top of the screen. Note that you can only add an audio track to your Short before you start recording or afterward in the editing process
6. Made a mistake? Tap the reverse arrow next to the record button to undo
Step 3: Edit and publish your Short
- Once you’ve finished recording, tap the checkmark to save your Short
- Next, finalize your Short by adding a music track, text, and filters
- If you want to dive deeper into editing, tap the timeline icon to change when text appears on the video timeline
- Once you’re finished editing, tap Next in the top right-hand corner
- Add the details of your Short and select whether you want to video to be public, unlisted, or private
- Select whether your video is appropriate for kids or needs an age restriction
- Tap Upload Short to publish your video