YouTube adds new creative options for shorts and expands short film drafts on iOS

YouTube is rolling out new updates for Shorts, including new authoring options and an expansion of Shorts drafts.

First, on the creative options: YouTube is rolling out a new “Cut” option that will allow short film creators to sample a small segment (1-5 seconds) of eligible shorts and video-on-demand to use as an intro to their short clip.

The process will provide more ways to drive users to your shorts, using popular content as a contextual starting point for your own video.

As you can see in these images, you can access the new Cut option via the “Create” button on the watch pages, or by tapping the three-dot menu while watching a short film from the short film player.

If you create a Short via Cut, an attribution link will be included in your Short, connecting you to the original source clip.

YouTube Short Haircut

YouTube says it is still working out the monetization implications for this feature, although at this time the creator of the original clip cannot monetize any subsequent shorts created through the Cut option. Creators, however, get additional exposure potential through these referral links.

YouTube also provided an update on its Shorts Green Screen feature, which it originally launched to select users in May.

YouTube Shorts Green Screen

YouTube says the feature is still rolling out to iOS users, before rolling out to Android as well.

Much like the same option on TikTok, the feature lets you sample up to 60 seconds from a short film or other eligible videos on YouTube, which you can then use as the background for your short clip.

As explained by YouTube:

“You can control whether you want to use audio or video, or both from the original video you’re sampling, and you can control your screen visibility by pinching your image when you’re in camera. Similar to Cut, if someone samples your content to create a green screen video, there will be an attribution link that users can click to take them back to the original source video.

As noted, the feature has been available to some users for a few months, but more creators will soon have this option.

YouTube is also expanding short drafts, with users now able to save as many drafts as they want to the short film creation stream.

YouTube Short Drafts

Until now, Shorts creators could only store one draft at a time, but the new process will facilitate more drafts, which will provide more options in your process.

Drafts will be available through the Shorts camera, with a new “Drafts” icon added to the bottom right of the screen when drafts are present. YouTube also notes that drafts are device-specific, so if you switch devices, you won’t be able to access your drafts from another phone.

Drafts, at this time, are only available on iOS.

On another front, YouTube has also provided some interesting insights into how its algorithm highlights old shorts and the discoverability of your clips.

According to YouTube:

“If you go to your YouTube Shorts feed today, you might notice a lot of videos that were recommended to you and that were posted weeks or even months ago. A few things to keep in mind: if viewers are more interested in an older video, the topic may gain popularity.Google Trends is a useful tool to see how the interests of the world are changing. [may] also discover your channel and want to watch your old videos, and more viewers [may be] choose to watch your video when offered to them in the feed, or your video could be picked up in the press or shared on social media.

According to YouTube, all of these factors can play a role in how it sorts the Shorts stream, which is interesting to consider in terms of choosing to show certain clips to certain users, potentially providing more persistent value for Shorts clips.

YouTube also notes that it is working on enabling its Super Thanks creator donation option in Shorts, with an initial beta testing process planned for later this year.

Shorts have quickly become an important part of the wider YouTube creator landscape, with SOverall, shorts now average more than 30 billion daily views. The potential for cross-promotion and engagement through Shorts provides more ability to maximize your YouTube channel, leading to more viewers and more monetization options within the app.

This could end up being a big lure, especially with TikTok’s monetization tools still in the works. If YouTube can continue to build on its short-form tools, it could eventually give it an edge over TikTok in the battle for creative talent, which could see YouTube ultimately prevail against the broader short-form content trend.

And with TikTok under further regulatory scrutiny, it’s also possible that YouTube will attract many TikTok users who are worried about the app’s long-term viability.

Sure, Shorts is a TikTok scam, but overall it’s pretty clear why YouTube is pushing the option.

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