How To Use YouTube Shorts: The Definite Guide

July 28, 2021

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How To Use YouTube Shorts: The Definite Guide

YouTube just had a global beta rollout for Shorts – its answer to the rising demand for short-form videos. And for different reasons, people around the world are rushing to learn how to use YouTube Shorts.

For strangers to Shorts, this is a brand new add-on of Youtube, displaying vertical videos of up to 60 seconds with almost the same interface as Tik Tok in the attempt to become its rival.

Casual viewers may want to explore new engaging content or join a contest hosted by their idols. On the other hand, content creators are devoting their time to picking up a firm grasp of this new service – a chance that could make or break their YouTube channel.

Regardless of your intention, you have come to the right place.

How To Watch YouTube Shorts

At the end of the day, Shorts are still YouTube videos, so you can just access them in whatever way you’re using to watch YouTube. But there are certain differences between platforms and how they shape the viewing experience.

On Smartphones

As YouTube Shorts are a mobile-first viewing experience, it’s better to watch it from your smartphone and enjoy this new feature to the fullest.

If you still haven’t installed the YouTube mobile on your smartphone, go to Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Search for and install the latest version of the official YouTube app. Open it and log in with your account. If you already have the app on your phone, remember to keep it up-to-date.

Youtube shorts on app
The YouTube app with the Short Shelf

Google has introduced a new portion called the Shorts Shelf into the YouTube app’s home feed. Scroll the app a little after opening it, and you will run into this shelf, which shows a bunch of ready-to-player clips.

This collection of suggested Shorts is based on your watching history and preferences and does not necessarily come from the channels you subscribe to.

There is also a new Shorts tab at the bottom of the app (where the Explore tab used to be) that you can tap on and scroll through those clips on a separate tab.

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The Shorts tab at the bottom of the app

Tap on any Short, and a vertical video player will appear. Compared to the regular YouTube player, it doesn’t have a progress bar or other control buttons. Instead, you will see only Like, Dislike, Comment, Share, and More icons.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
The Shorts vertical player

When a Short ends, the auto-scrolling will switch to another clip immediately. You can also manually skip a Short and watch a new one by swiping up the player.

On Other Devices

YouTube Shorts work similarly on smart devices like Smart TVs, as long as you have the latest app version installed. But things get a little tricky if you want to access these vertical clips on a PC.

Desktop users will have to explicitly search for the #shorts hashtag on YouTube’s website and view it as a regular YouTube video. YouTube recommends content creators put this hashtag into their Shorts when uploading it.

#shorts
Accessing Shorts via YouTube’s search

It’s not a requirement, however, meaning not every Short carries a #shorts hashtag and not YouTube video with such a hashtag is a Short. On top of that, the YouTube web player doesn’t automatically switch to a new clip once a Short has run over its course.

You can also go directly to your favorite channels and see if they have any Shorts.

How To Record And Publish A Short With Your Smartphone

Much like how users watch YouTube Shorts, mobile devices are also the best tool to create and upload these short-form videos to your YouTube channel.

The entire process is seamless and smooth wherever you are with nothing but a smartphone, just like how developers at Google had in mind when they created YouTube Shorts.

The best way to create Shorts is using the official video creation tools provided by the YouTube app itself. It allows you to record and edit clips of up to 60 seconds.

Prepare

Once you have installed the latest version to your smartphone, sign in and tap the big plus symbol at the bottom of the app. Choose “Create a Short” on the pop-up menu (the option that has a camera icon and beta status next to it).

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Creating a Short

If this is the first time you use the record function, the app will ask for permission to use the camera and the microphone. Approve this permission to proceed to the record screen.

By default, the creation tool puts a 15-second length limit to Short clips. If you wish to make longer Shorts, tap the “15” number above the record button to increase this limit to 60 seconds.

Keep in mind that you can only make a Short of up to 15 seconds using the original audio from other YouTube videos or music from YouTube’s library.

Start and Stop Recording Shorts

Hit the big red button in the center when you need to start the recording and tap it again when you’re done. Hitting the Record button the third time will start recording the next segment of the same Short you’re making.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
The record screen

The progress bar at the top of the record screen will show the number of segments (and the length of each segment) that you have recorded.

Delete Segments

If you’re not happy with the outcome, hit the Undo button (with a left-facing arrow at the bottom of the screen) to remove the current segment. Don’t worry about the whole video. It’s still there as only a segment gets deleted at a time.

If you change your mind or you just deleted a segment by mistake, hit the Redo button (which looks like a right-facing arrow) to reverse the action and bring back the deleted segment.

How To Use YouTube Shorts To Enhance Your Clips 

While the steps above should cover the basics of making a simple short clip for your YouTube channel, the mobile app’s creation tools also come with many other features to make your Short more entertaining.

Recording Options

Shooting your Short with a smartphone is super easy with the video timer, speed function, and flip function in the YouTube mobile app. These tools appear on the right side of the record screen.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Recording tools

The video timer allows content creators to make short videos with a predetermined length. Tap the icon that looks like a clock.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
The Timer tool

Drag the slider on the pop-up dialog to specify when you want the app to stop the recording (up to 15 seconds), while the three options above (3, 10, and 20 seconds) allow you to set the countdown time you need before recording.

Making a slow-motion or fast-moving video with the speed tool is pretty straightforward. Tap the speedometer and pick the desired speed for your Short, with 3X being the fastest and 0.3X being the slowest choice.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Change the speed of your clip

If you have taken a lot of pictures from your smartphone, you already know what the Flip function does: switching back and forth between the back and front-facing cameras.

Import Segments

The gallery button of the record screen allows you to select your existing clips on your phone and import them to your Short as a segment or a whole clip. You will be able to trim videos longer than 60 seconds to make them suitable for this purpose.

Add Audio Before Recording

The music or other audio accompanying the video, most of which comes from other sources, is one of the main appeals of bite-sized content.

To prepare for the launch of YouTube Shorts, this video platform has partnered with several music labels to ensure that their users can use popular songs in their clips.

As long as the audio in your content is for personal, non-commercial use or you have the appropriate licenses, your channel won’t receive any strikes or copyright claims.

To add audio clips or songs to your Short, tap Add music to open the audio library when you’re about to record. YouTube also allows users to hear a preview and add tracks to your favorite collection.

Pick your choice and come back to the main screen, which now shows another icon named Adjust. Tap it to change the timestamp from which the track will start.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Adjust the music added to your Short

If the above setting is fine for you, start recording. The YouTube app will play the chosen track while you’re shooting your Short.

The length limit of Shorts with these tracks is 15 seconds. If you feel that the track and movements or other content in your video still don’t sync perfectly, tap Adjust in the preview screen to pick the exact portion you need.

Add Audio After Recording

If you haven’t made up your mind about the audio you want to put in your Shorts in advance, don’t worry.

Just hit Record and pick the track later. Then on the preview screen, tap Music to add a song or other sound bite from YouTube’s library to your clip.

Use Music From Another Short

Eligible Shorts will have a small waveform icon at the bottom right, meaning you can reuse the audio in that clip to make a version of your own. Tap that button and choose “Use this sound.” The YouTube app will bring you to the record screen right after that.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Use sound from other Shorts

Add Text

On the preview screen, tap Text to place messages on your Short before publishing with your phone’s keyboard. You can put multiple texts within the same Short and change their alignment, font style, size, and color.

Pick the color of the text or background with the color palette placed right above the keyboard, while the A symbol turns on and off the background of your text. The paragraph icon can switch between justified and centered text, and the current text style is displayed on the middle top.

If you have used YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram stories, the text editing here should be familiar to you.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Add texts to your Shorts

Hit DONE to accept the changes and go back to the preview screen, where you can also drag your texts around for finer control. Drag a text to the trash can icon to delete it.

Tap Timeline if you want to adjust when and for how long the text messages will appear in your Short.

Drag the endpoints of each text to control when it should show and disappear. Repeat the adjustment for all the texts you have added to your Short.

If there is overlap between texts, hold a text, then move it up or down to let YouTube know which text should be on the front.

The play button will demonstrate a brief preview of how your text alignments will pan out during the Short.

Apply A Filter

Change the vibe of your clip by using filters provided by YouTube. Tap the Filters button and choose your desired effect.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Use a filter

Finish The Recording And Publish Your Short

Tap the tick mark at the bottom when you’re done recording your Short. The new screen is where you can preview and add text, filters, and music or adjust the timeline of your clip. Choose NEXT if there is no editing needed.

The final screen allows you to add a title to your Short and change its visibility and content setting (whether you make the clip for kids or not).

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Add details and upload your Shorts

Set the clip to Public so anyone on YouTube can search and watch it. The Unlisted option will allow only people with the link to view your Short, while a private Short is only accessible to only people you choose.

You should always put a #shorts hashtag to make it more visible and easier to discover. The hashtag can raise the chance of YouTube promoting it and allow people to run into your clip while searching for short videos in their spare time.

Finally, tap UPLOAD to export the clip to your channel.

Upload A Premade Short From PC

In addition to creating a Short using the mobile app’s creation tool, you can always upload a video you have created elsewhere to your channel. With appropriate format and editing, YouTube still treats your short clips as Shorts.

From your account, go to YouTube Studio and choose UPLOAD VIDEOS. Your clips should be 60 seconds or less and have a vertical aspect ratio.

Even though this is optional, remember to add #shorts to the video’s title and description to boost its discoverability.

How To Use YouTube Shorts
Upload your Shorts from a PC

Final Words

As a feature designed with mobile devices in mind, YouTube Shorts open another opportunity for everybody into the world of bite-sized video content.Viewers don’t have to install another app, and content creators won’t need much time to learn how to use YouTube Shorts with their phones. Since both Shorts and the wider short-form video market are still in their nascent stages, mastering these techniques could bring you a huge advantage over other channels and brands.

Related Article: YouTube Shorts – The Newest Short-Form Video Service

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