Short-form videos have been a popular trend for some time now. Vine hosted millions of seven-second videos before the platform was discontinued. This opened the door for other video-sharing services. TikTok stepped in to rival more established giants like Instagram and Snapchat.
TikTok boasts about a billion active users. It’s not too late to get in on the action. Tap or click here for our beginner’s guide to TikTok.
It’s no surprise that other video sharing platforms have seen the light in short-form clips. YouTube Shorts is in beta, so let’s take a quick look at what it’s all about. We’ll also go over some YouTube tricks you may not know about.
Big plans from YouTube
YouTube Shorts are vertical videos (portrait mode) that run up to 60 seconds. You can display short-form videos on your YouTube channel as well as on the Shorts homepage.
There’s also a Shorts camera designed to make it easy to create videos. It lets you add music from a selection of free songs, set the video speed, set a countdown timer and capture multiple clips for one video.
Shorts camera content is limited to 15 seconds and Google recommends that you focus on this format for your videos.
YouTube also has its own streaming service called YouTube TV. For a monthly subscription fee, you get access to 85 broadcast and cable networks. You can use the cloud DVR function to record as much content as you want to watch later. Tap or click here to check out some streaming services that give you more for your money.
YouTube TV can run on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s supported on Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and even gaming consoles.
Get more out of YouTube
You don’t need to jump aboard any new platforms just yet. Here are some tricks you can use with good old YouTube right now. Let’s start with some shortcuts.
- Keyboard shortcuts make it easier to watch content at your own speed. Hit K or the spacebar to play/pause your video and M to mute. Hit J to move back 10 seconds and L to move forward 10 seconds. The C key toggles captions on or off.
- Shortcuts also work on your smartphone. Double-tap on the right side of your screen to skip forward 10 seconds and double-tap on the left side to go back 10 seconds. You can repeatedly tap to move in 10-second chunks in either direction. Tap your profile picture/icon in the top-right of the screen and go to Settings > Skip forward and back to change how many seconds you want for each tap.
Dark and mysterious
- To save your eyes from strain, try the Dark theme. Tap your profile picture/icon and go to Settings > Appearance to choose from Dark theme, Light theme, or let YouTube default to your device’s theme. Dark mode may make it easier to spot problems with your monitor. Tap or click here to learn more about dead pixels and how to fix them.
- Want to keep your searches more private? Incognito mode lets you browse freely without worrying about your search and watch history reflecting it. Tap your profile picture/icon and select Turn on Incognito. Do the same to turn it off.
No more telling friends to “skip to 1:31 in the video”
- Ever want to share a video but highlight a certain time? On your computer, find the video you want and scroll to the time you want to share. Right-click and select Copy video URL at current time and you can paste this video with this timestamp anywhere. You can also click the Share button and check off the Start at box. Enter the time you like and then click Copy.
- On mobile, scroll to the time you want to share and pause it. Tap Share > Copy link. Paste the link where you’d like and add this to the URL: ?t=00m00s. The zeroes represent the minutes and seconds, so modify them as needed. For URLs that already have a question mark, add an ampersand like this: &t=00m00s.
- Change the speed you watch videos on your computer by clicking the gear icon for Settings and then Playback speed. You can run the video from a quarter speed up to twice the normal speed. You can also use the < and > keys as a shortcut.
- On mobile, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner then tap Playback speed.
- On your computer, use the number keys to jump to the corresponding section of the video. For example, 2 will bring you to the 20% mark and 9 will bring you to 90%. 0 starts the video from the beginning.