YouTube Shorts gains a TikTok-like 'Green Screen' feature

·3-min read

YouTube is expanding on its latest feature that made any public YouTube video potential fodder for its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts. Today, the company is announcing the launch of "Green Screen," a tool that will allow users to use up to a 60-second video segment from any eligible YouTube video or YouTube Shorts as the background for their new original Shorts video.

The feature joins a number of other effects available now to YouTube Shorts creators, including the appearance-smoothing Retouch feature; a Lighting feature to boost dark environments; an Align feature that aligns the subject from the last frame of a video with a new video; a text and timeline editor to add messages over top videos; various video filters; and, most recently, Cut -- the tool that effectively made all of YouTube's public content possible Shorts material.

As with Cut, YouTube says the new Green Screen remix feature can be used with any public YouTube video unless the creator has opted out. The only exception to this involves music videos which include copyrighted content from YouTube's partners or others with visual claims. Also similar to Cut, any video created with Green Screen includes a link back to the original content creator for attribution's sake.

On iOS, creators can also use the Green Screen tool in the Shorts camera to choose any photo or video from their device gallery as the background, the company says.

Image Credits: YouTube

YouTube's decision to make its platform's videos available for remixing is meant to be a competitive advantage as the competition with TikTok heats up. It's notable that it made the feature opt-out by default, meaning videos are essentially up for grabs unless a creator says otherwise. So far, there hasn't been a major backlash to this decision, as some creators feel that Shorts is just another way to get their channel discovered, or generally aren't worried about Shorts eating into their own audience, as it's a different type of viewing experience.

Given the integration with YouTube content, Green Screen makes sense as the next new video effect for Shorts. On TikTok, a similar feature is heavily used to allow creators to comment on and reference each other's content. But in Shorts' case, the original video creator isn't necessarily a Shorts creator, too -- they may only produce long-form content for YouTube proper. That could lessen the appeal of the Green Screen tool as a community conversation tool, as the person whose video is being referenced may not even participate in the Shorts community itself.

Google says. the new Green Screen tool is beginning to roll out on iOS today and will come to Android soon.

Asked why the company was prioritizing iOS over Google's own mobile platform, YouTube only replied that it was prioritizing the need to move quickly when launching the new features.

"Our priority is bringing the best experience to our creators as quickly as possible, and sometimes that means we bring particular features to one platform before another," a spokesperson said.

The addition of Green Screen follows a rougher quarter for YouTube, where the company missed its projections for ad revenue, bringing in $6.87 billion, when it was forecast to pull in $7.51 billion. YouTube chalked this up to the lingering pandemic impacts, saying the slower growth is more of a reflection of last year's gains. At the time, it also reported Shorts was now generating 30 billion views per day.

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