As the popularity of short-form video continues to rise, YouTube is adding some new features for Shorts that will open up new creative options in the app.
First off, YouTube’s expanding its current Green Screen option in Shorts, which will now enable creators to use any eligible YouTube video or Short as the background for their Shorts clips.
As explained by YouTube:
“You can create using both the audio + video or video-only if you choose to mute the audio. To use Green Screen, just select Create > Green Screen on the menu of options under the video you’re watching or press the 3-dot menu in the Shorts player and select Green Screen. The max length you can create with is 60 seconds.”
YouTube originally added Green Screen functionality for Shorts last October, an option that’s also available on TikTok and IG. But on release, YouTube’s Green Screen option only enabled users to upload content from their camera roll for use as their background image.
Now, you’ll have a much wider pool of content to choose from for your Shorts background, with the original creator attributed via a source link within the Shorts display.
The immediate use case that springs to mind is reaction videos, which are already hugely popular on YouTube. Pretty much every YouTube influencer posts reaction clips, where they’ll check out, for example, the latest memes, and react to them in their own way.
In some ways, it’s a lazy option for creating content - but then again, most people watch YouTube influencers because of who they are, their personality and insights, and as such, reaction clips align with user interest, while also giving creators a never-ending flow of content options, without huge cost or significant time investment.
The expansion of YouTube’s Green Screen for Shorts seems to lean into this use case, while for brands, there could also be a range of ways to use this to highlight industry-relevant clips, showcase product updates, promote your latest videos and more.
In addition to this, YouTube’s also rolling out its new, simplified Shorts iteration option to more users.
“Last month, we started rolling out a new way to create a Short – simply tap on ‘Create’ and select ‘Cut’ from any eligible YouTube video or Short to select a 1-5 second segment to use for your own original Shorts content. Any time a new Short is created from your own channel’s content, it will be attributed back to your original video with a link in the Shorts player.”
YouTube says that this option is now available to everybody using the YouTube app on iOS, while it’s also coming to Android soon.
YouTube continues to see strong performance with its Shorts option, with Shorts clips in the app now seeing over 30 billion views per day, a 4x increase on a year ago. The rise of TikTok has changed the way that all of the major social apps look at content presentation, with Meta reporting that Reels now make up 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest are all looking to update their UI options to lean into the TikTok-led video trend.
But of all of them, YouTube poses the biggest threat to TikTok’s dominance.
YouTube’s advanced monetization program offers the most potential for creators to make money from their efforts, and while Shorts itself is not a clear pathway to revenue success, using Shorts as a supplementary feed for your main channel could be the most lucrative strategy for creators.
Will that eventually see more of them coming to YouTube instead?
Certainly, there’s a level of angst among TikTok creators around not being able to make enough money from their clips, and that could, eventually, see more of them shifting focus to greener pastures instead.
And even without that, the relative success of Shorts and Reels in particular is keeping many users in both respective apps for longer, as opposed to them downloading TikTok and turning their focus to that app instead.
But it does seem like YouTube could still end up the big winner here, especially with clever updates like this, which tap into another of YouTube’s key strengths – its unmatched database of video content.
We’ll wait and see what TikTok does next.
The updated ‘Green Screen’ options for YouTube Shorts is ‘beginning its gradual rollout’ on the iOS YouTube app from today, so if you’re not seeing it yet, you will soon.