YouTube has become synonymous with entertainment. The platform's two billion monthly active users watch a combined five billion videos daily, and those numbers continue to increase year-over-year. While YouTube is a platform that has democratized content accessibility though, it offers almost no video creation tools. More popular creators can afford expensive filming equipment and editing software, while smaller creators work hard to appeal to viewers with fewer resources. Now YouTube is trying to democratize video creation, and their solution is YouTube Shorts.

"Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones."
Chris Jaffe, YouTube's VP of Product Management

Shorts is YouTube's contribution to the short-form video realm that is crowded by TikTok and other competitors like Byte, Triller, and Dubsmash. YouTube advertises Shorts as a way for creators to shoot videos with "nothing but their mobile phones," aiming to lower the barrier to video creation and make it easier for new creators to gain a following. With requirements that videos are vertically oriented and last less than 60 seconds, users will be able to create Shorts within the existing YouTube mobile app using the editing features they're launching.

The technology for Shorts is still in the early phases of development. Only users in India have access to the beta version where they can use the in-app editing tools and watch Shorts in a separate feed on the YouTube app. However, creators can still get a jump start on creating and uploading Shorts even without access to the beta. In this article, we'll answer your pressing questions about how YouTube Shorts works and show you how to edit and upload them.

What Creators Need to Know About YouTube Shorts

We attended an invite-only YouTube Shorts workshop that was hosted by YouTube employees so we could serve you the straight facts on how to get started with Shorts.

Screenshot from YouTube's workshop on Shorts

When will Shorts launch for the rest of the world?

There is currently no set date for when Shorts will launch outside of India since YouTube is not sure how long the development and testing process will take.

That being said, anyone can currently post Shorts on YouTube, even if you don't live in India and have beta access. Videos that you upload to YouTube could show up in the feeds of Shorts viewers as long as they follow a few guidelines: the videos have to be vertically oriented, last 60 seconds or less (YouTube employees recommend 15 seconds or less), and include #Shorts in the title or description.

Where can you watch Shorts?

Shorts will be displayed in a section of the YouTube mobile app homepage. Once you click one of the Shorts, users are taken to a feed where swiping up reveals the next video. This is currently only shown for users in India, where they're testing how Shorts will appear on the homepage.

YouTube is currently testing how Shorts will be displayed

What are the requirements for a Shorts video?

To be considered for the Shorts feed, videos must be 60 seconds or less, have vertical orientation, and follow YouTube's usual Community Guidelines.

What in-app editing features will YouTube have?

The mobile YouTube app will have a couple in-app tools for creating Shorts, including the ability to:

  • Film clips with up to 15 seconds of footage using the Shorts camera
  • Add music from a library of tracks
  • Change video speed
  • Record hands-free using a countdown timer.

In the coming months, YouTube is looking to add filters, text overlays, and the ability to create drafts. Users can upload Shorts from desktop or mobile.

A preview of the editing features

Will the Shorts I upload be visible on my channel?

Yes, Shorts will stay on your channel along with any regular YouTube videos you've made public in the past. The analytics of your Shorts will be mixed in with your longer videos as well. Because of this, YouTube employees recommend considering how your audience would react to shorter videos coming from your channel. Some YouTubers are creating new channels so their short-form and long-form content can remain separate. MrBeast, for example, already has over a million subscribers on his MrBeast Shorts channel.

A channel dedicated to YouTube Shorts

Can Shorts be monetized?

Currently, Shorts can not be monetized. However, YouTube employees acknowledge the benefits of monetization to creators and say there is potential for it in the future.

How does the Shorts recommendation algorithm work?

Details of the Shorts recommendation algorithm weren't revealed since the technology is constantly changing in this development phase. The YouTube employees did say the usual markers of good content are factored in, such as watch time and like to dislike ratio.

What's the difference between YouTube Stories and Shorts?

Stories only show up in one section of the YouTube app and disappear after a certain amount of time. They are ephemeral and act as status updates. Shorts are focused on lowering the barrier for creating high quality, entertaining videos. Shorts will remain on your channel and don't disappear.

How to Edit and Upload YouTube Shorts – Even Without the Beta

While the YouTube app has some useful editing features for Shorts, it can't do everything – if you want to add text or any music to your video, you'll need a better editor. Even if you don't have the Shorts beta, you can still upload Shorts and start building your channel today. There are four requirements for your videos to start showing up in users' Shorts feed: the video must be less than 60 seconds, have vertical orientation, include #Shorts in the title or description, and follow YouTube's usual Community Guidelines.

I recommend using Kapwing to edit your Shorts. It's a free online video editor that works on phones, tablets, and computers (both iOS and Android devices). You can use it to resize horizontal videos into vertical ones, add any music to videos just by pasting a link, and allows you to download TikTok/Reels videos without the watermark to make reusing your content for Shorts easier.

Here's how to edit your Shorts:

  1. Upload your clips to Kapwing Studio
  2. Make edits and add other elements
  3. Export & download
  4. Publish as a YouTube Shorts video

Step 1. Upload your clips to Kapwing

Film your video clips, then open Kapwing to start editing them – remember that your final video must be less than 60 seconds. Go to the "Scenes" tab in the toolbar to upload the videos and images you want to use. You can search your files or paste the link to a video that's already on the internet – this works for URLs from YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and more. Rearrange the clips to your desired order, then click "Edit in Studio" once you're ready to add additional elements to the video.

Upload your clips in the "Scenes" tab, then "Edit in Studio"

Step 2. Make edits and add other elements

Shorts need to be vertical, so click the background and select the 9:16 aspect ratio to ensure your video has the right dimensions. From here, you can make a variety of edits to help your Shorts video stand out on YouTube. Use the options in the toolbar to add text, and search for images and GIFs right within the editor. You can also add any music or sound through the "Audio" tab by uploading an MP3 file or pasting the link to a video you want to take the sound from.

Add text, images, GIFs, subtitles, music

Step 3. Export & download

When you're happy with your edits, click the red "Export Video" button to start processing your creation. After a little while, your Shorts video will be ready to launch on YouTube! Click "Download" to save the video to your device.

If you're on an iPhone, there are a couple more steps to get the video to your Camera Roll – tap the arrow in the top right corner and click your video, then tap the icon in the bottom left corner, scroll through the options, and select "Save Video".

Step 4. Publish as a YouTube Shorts video

Time to release your video into the Shorts world: on the desktop or mobile version of YouTube, go through the usual steps for publishing a video: click the create icon and upload your video file. Make sure you include #Shorts in the title or description, then go through the rest of the steps to finish publishing your video on YouTube. High five, you're done!

Keep up to date with YouTube Shorts information by checking in at the Kapwing YouTube channel in the coming weeks as we're constantly producing new tutorials to give you the best social media tips and tricks. In the meantime, take a look at these related articles:

Video Editor for YouTube
How to Remove the Background from a Video Online
The Ultimate TikTok Houses List
• TikTok, Instagram Reels, Triller, Likee, Byte, Clash, DubSmash: What's the Difference?