YouTube Shorts: Everything You Need to Know (1/2)

YouTube shorts

Since launching in 2005, YouTube has been a great place to countless trendy videos and many kinds 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 made by a smartphone and uploaded directly to YouTube using the YouTube app.

Using YouTube’s built-in creation tools, you can record, edit, include music from major labels (including Sony, Universal, and Warner), add animated text, adjust the speed of your footage, and edit together multiple 15-second videos to make your Shorts.

The Shorts viewers can share, comment, like, dislike, or subscribe to your channel while viewing videos. The content doesn’t disappear and stays on YouTube, unlike other short-form videos on other apps like Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

Why try YouTube Shorts?

Initially showed 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. Shorts was finally released in beta-mode to 100 countries all over the world 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 create short, catchy videos using nothing but their phones,” and goes on to say, “Shorts is a new method to express yourself in 15 seconds or less”.

YouTube’s attempt at short-form video content isn’t a far cry from other videos on social media such as TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Spotlight, and even Twitter Fleets and LinkedIn Stories (RIP).

And short-form video is not strange to YouTube. The channel’s first-ever upload was just a 18 second video.

However, what sets YouTube Shorts apart is its ability to convert viewers into subscribers for the channel, a thing that brands and creators must do.

When you’re setting up YouTube Shorts, you can create an entirely different channel for your Shorts or place the Shorts widget in your main channel. However, we recommend keeping your Shorts on your main channel. The reason why is that aligning your main feed YouTube content and your Shorts content in one place will allow your audience to stay engaged with your videos. Then it gives them more chances to hop from Shorts to YouTube videos and click the subscribe button on your channel.

Audiences can discover your Shorts by tapping Shorts at the bottom of the YouTube app.

Shorts button on YouTube mobile app

Alternatively, audiences have access to Shorts:

  • On the YouTube homepage
  • On the channel page
  • Via notifications

How long are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are vertical videos that are 60 seconds or less. Shorts can be a 60-second continuous video or multiple 15-second videos combined. However, if you uses music from the YouTube catalog in your Short, it will be limited to 15-seconds only.

Pro tip: YouTube will automatically categorize any content on the platform that’s 60 seconds or less in length as a Short.

How to make a YouTube Short

Step 1: Download the YouTube app

You can only create Shorts directly in the YouTube app. This is a smart play from YouTube to keep everything in one handy place, rather than requiring people to download and sign up to another app to make Shorts.

To access YouTube app, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your app store of choice (iOS App Store or Google Play) and find YouTube
  2. Download the official YouTube app
  3. Login using your Google account or a separate YouTube login

Step 2: Start creating your YouTube Short

1. Choose (+) icon on the button of the app homepage, then choose Create a Short

tap plus icon to create a Short

2. To record a 15-second video clip, hold the red record button or tap it to start recording and then tap again to finish

3. If you need 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 include special effects and elements to your video, browse the toolbar on the right of the screen

  • Choose the rotating arrows to switch the camera view
  • Speed up or slow down your Short by using the 1x button
  • Tap the clock icon to arrange a countdown timer for hands-free mood
  • Include filters to your Short by tapping the three circles icon
  • Add retouching to your video by using the magic wand
  • Tap the person icon to switch up your background and include a green screen or photo from your smartphone’s library
  • Choose the ghost icon to help align your transitions between multiple videos

5. To include sound in your Short, tap the Add sound icon at the top of the screen. Note that you can only include an audio track to your Short before recording or afterward in the editing process

add sound to YouTube Short

6. If you make any mistakes, tap the reverse arrow next to the record button to undo

Step 3: Edit and publish your Short

  1. When you finish recording, tap the checkmark to save your Short
  2. Next, finalize your Short by including a music track, text, and filters
  3. If you want to dive deeper into editing, tap the timeline icon to adjust when text is shown on the video timeline
  4. Once you’re finished editing, choose Next in the top right-hand corner
  5. Type the details of your Short and choose whether you want to video to be public, unlisted, or private
  6. Choose whether your video is appropriate for kids or needs an age restriction
  7. Tap Upload Short to publish your video
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