In 2021, YouTube muscled into short-form vertical video with YouTube Shorts. In this article, we’ll explain what YouTube Shorts are and how you can use them.
What is YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts videos are bite-sized video clips that anyone can create, as long as they have a YouTube account.
YouTube Shorts videos were rolled out in 2021, around the same time TikTok started reaching the peak of its popularity. Some might argue that YouTube Shorts were a reaction to TikTok, and they might be right!
It’s very similar: content on YouTube Shorts runs for a maximum of 60 seconds, can be edited in-app, is endlessly scrollable, and often features licensed, readily available music in the background. Sound familiar?
Viewers can do all the usual things as they would on YouTube, including comment, like, dislike, share, and subscribe to your channel. The content also stays online permanently, like a regular YouTube video.
How do I access YouTube Shorts?
Finding YouTube Shorts is super easy. On a computer, you just head over to YouTube’s main page, then take a look at the menu on the left-hand side. ‘Shorts’ should be there, beneath the ‘Home’ and ‘Explore’ icons. Click it, and there you go – scroll away!
On a mobile browser, the ‘Shorts’ icon appears at the bottom of the screen. It sits in exactly the same place if you view it through the app, too.
How to use YouTube Shorts
Viewers can use YouTube shorts the same way they’d use TikTok. They just scroll through the feed – called the Shorts Shelf – or search for hashtags in the main search bar.
If you want to use YouTube Shorts as a creator, that’s a breeze too! Here’s how to use YouTube Shorts.
Decide whether you want your Shorts channel to be independent, or part of your overall channel
We’d recommend adding Shorts as an ‘extra’ to your current YouTube channel, as it offers very different things to long-form content.
Once you’re on the YouTube app, click the plus (+) icon at the bottom
Then, click ‘Create a Short.’
Before you film, you can add music to your YouTube Short video
You do this by tapping the ‘Add Music’ icon at the top of the screen. You can then scroll through tracks, or search for something specific. If you’ve not made your mind up straight away, you can always add the music after you’ve filmed.
Once you allow access to your camera and microphone, you can start filming your YouTube Short video!
If you want to make a video under 15 seconds, just hold the big red button and start recording. However, if you’re going to create content that’s longer than 15 seconds but under a minute, you just need to tap the ‘15’ icon above the ‘Record’ button.
Holding and releasing ‘Record’ means you can cram multiple clips into one YouTube Short video
But the fun’s only just starting: you can record at different speeds, play with various filters, adjust your transitions, add text, retouch your video, and more. This is all accessible on the right-hand side, under the various icons. These effects can be applied before each clip you film, meaning your YouTube short can be packed with as many effects as you like!
Once you’ve filmed your YouTube Short video, you can go over it with a fine-tooth comb
You’ll be given another chance to add music, and you can scroll through your video’s timeline, frame-by-frame, for any final changes.
The final section lets you add details to your YouTube Short video
You have 100 characters to describe it – it’s not much, but it’s important. For more info about keywords and which details you should include in descriptions, check out our guide to YouTube SEO.
If you have ready-made footage, you can upload that to your YouTube Shorts video, too
Instead of tapping the ‘Record’ button, click the square in the screen’s bottom-left. This will access your phone’s camera roll.
How to do ‘Voiceover’ on YouTube Shorts
Similar to TikTok, YouTube shorts has a voiceover feature. Using this can add extra pizzazz to your content, and it’s simple to do.
- Once you’ve recorded your YouTube Shorts video, tap the checkmark button in the bottom right of the camera screen.
- Hit the ‘Voiceover’ button. Move the vertical white line across your video’s timeline, dropping it on the spot where you’d like to start your voiceover.
- Click the ‘Record’ button to start recording, then again to stop. If you're not happy with your first take, you can just tap the ‘Undo’ button and give it another shot!
- Before publishing the video, adjust the audio levels. This is important, given you’ll have sound coming from your voiceover, the video’s audio, and any music you may have used.
Why can’t I use music on YouTube Shorts?
Using pre-recorded content is great if you have something more specific planned for your YouTube Shorts video, and also gives you the chance to use music other than the tunes available in-app. Because remember: not every song in the world is available at your fingertips on YouTube Shorts. If you’re filming and editing directly in-app, your only tools are what YouTube Shorts provides.
So, if you can’t find the music you want, you can always tweak it in a third-party video editing app or software. However, if you’re doing this, you need to ensure you have the correct license to use the song you’ve chosen. Otherwise, your content could be muted or even removed! But don’t worry about that – we've got you covered.
At Epidemic Sound, we offer royalty-free music with all financial rights included. This means that as long as you’ve connected your YouTube account to your Epidemic Sound subscription, you’re good to use our tracks in your content. Check out our catalog of 40,000 tracks and 90,000 sound effects below.
What are the benefits of YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts is more than just a carbon copy of TikTok. Here are some of the benefits of using YouTube Shorts as a creator.
- You can make great content without fancy equipment. You just need your smartphone and a YouTube account to make YouTube Shorts videos.
- There are loads of extra features. You can record Shorts side-by-side with another creator's content thanks to the 'Collab' feature, and you can boost engagement on your videos with interactive Q&A stickers.
- YouTube Shorts act as an advert for your main channel. The ‘Subscribe’ button is always visible during YouTube Shorts videos, so if someone’s scrolling through and vibes with your content, it’s easy for them to subscribe and hop onto your main channel. It’s an exciting way to convert viewers into subscribers!
- You can ramp up engagement, as YouTube Shorts interactions count towards how your channel performs in the algorithm. If you need to brush up on that side of things, including how to get onto the Shorts Shelf, click here for everything you need to know about the YouTube algorithm.
And if you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for your YouTube Shorts videos, why not try our 30-day free trial? Just sign up for one of our plans, connect your Epidemic Sound subscription to your YouTube account, and you’re all set!
Are you a YouTuber? Whether you’re an editing master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for YouTube page. And, just in case you’re looking for some sound effects for YouTube, we got you covered.