March 6, 2024
Min Read

How To Make Short-Form Videos: 6 Tips

Learn what short-form videos are and how to create compelling ones that drive likes and follows. Try these six tips to make great short videos.

Graphic design with different types of short-form content platforms

Short-form videos are one of the most popular content forms on social media — and for good reason. They’re fun to watch, don’t require a big time commitment, and are easy to binge-watch.

The best part? They’re easy to make when you have the right tools. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make short videos. 

What Is a Short-Form Video?

A short-form video is any video that’s under a minute, though 2–3-minute ones can also fall into this category. You could also categorize most vertical content — like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok videos — as short-form videos because they’re usually under three minutes and easily scrollable. 

Short-form videos deliver information quickly and can hold viewers’ attention, making them popular with social media scrollers who bounce from post to post. You’ll find these videos on pretty much any topic, from the news to fashion advice.

Phones displaying logos of popular platforms suitable for short-form video

Why Is Short-Form Video So Popular?

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have billions of users — but what’s the draw of these short videos? Short-form content has gained popularity because: 

  • It grabs and holds attention — Videos are more dynamic than static posts, catching attention with movement and sound. Since there’s plenty to absorb, there’s more of an opportunity to stick around. Viewers look at every post longer, which is a good thing if you want people to interact with your content. Plus, with short videos, a person can quickly watch them all the way through to get information or a punch line without waiting. 
  • It’s simple to digest — The tiny text on photos or in a post’s description can be tough to read or not be interesting enough. It’s often much easier to present information in video form. For example, learning how to knit with a photo and text alone would be hard. A short video would show the movements and include an audio description, which is much easier for someone to follow and learn from.
  • It’s easy to riff on — Short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram allow users to Duet, Stitch, and Remix videos, which means reposting someone else’s original content and add their own commentary. These in-app tools make it easy to interact with other content creators, share and add ideas, and capitalize on a trend or popular video. Singing content is a good example because it lets creators duet with each other. Reaction videos are also a popular form of interaction.

6 Tips for Creating Captivating Short-Form Videos

You don’t have to spend hours on a 30-second video. The following simple tips can make creating video content easier — and provide higher-quality results.

1. Hook Your Audience Early

Social media attention spans are brief, so you have to hook a viewer within the first few seconds to get them to stop scrolling. Here are a few ways to interest people fast: 

  • Open by jumping right into a joke, dance move, or tutorial without a lead-up. You don’t need a long explanation about why you made the video. Get to the heart quickly so viewers know what they’re about to watch.
  • For the first clip or your cover image, show the most important or informative still from your video. Viewers will get a sense of the outcome, which could make them want to keep watching.
  • Put text on the first frame that announces what the video will be about, like “Why does everyone like pumpkin spice so much?” It’s a natural, easy lead-in that leaves viewers wanting to know the answer. 

2. Stay Up to Date on Trends

Short-form content has opened up a world of video trends. They’re easy to follow and increase the likelihood that the algorithm will pick up your video, showing it to new viewers who might visit your profile to learn more. Think of the “Renegade” dance from 2019 — creators like Charli D’Amelio earned a huge following from that trend alone. 

3. Keep It Short and Sweet

You only have so much time to get your point across in short-form video content, so cut it down to just the essentials. Tighter, punchier content will capture people’s attention — not to mention it’s easier to edit and upload. Clip out any unnecessary pauses, and make sure every frame has something to add. 

You don’t have to spend hours cutting your video down. Captions can do it automatically with AI technology that trims away your pauses with a single tap. You can also cut clips manually, add transitions, and include customizable captions.

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4. Include Captions

If your video doesn’t have any text, users who are hard of hearing or prefer to scroll without sound might have trouble understanding it. Add captions to pique viewer’s interest and make your content more accessible. Don’t forget to write a brief description under the video (if posting to your feed) to give viewers any necessary context. 

Choosing the right words for descriptions is challenging, and manually applying captions takes tons of time. Use the Captions app to automatically subtitle videos in seconds. Once you have a basic transcript, you can edit individual words, move them to their exact spot in the video, and customize font size and color. Captions AI also generates ideas for compelling descriptions so you don’t have to worry about writing.

Screenshots of Captions subtitles feature

5. Shoot Vertical Content

All popular short-form video apps, like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and even Snapchat, present videos vertically. If you shoot a video horizontally, you’ll have to crop it dramatically or make viewers turn their videos sideways to watch, which can be a huge inconvenience and affect your video quality. 

Start your content creation process off right by shooting videos vertically. They’ll fit right into popular platforms without too much editing. Try to get your videos in the right dimensions for Instagram or your platform of choice so you don’t have to crop them.

6. Repurpose Long-Form Content

If you already upload longer videos onto YouTube, you can use Captions to create short-form ones from your existing content. That way, you don’t have to worry about creating new videos. You’ll gain all the benefits of short-form content without the work of setting up your camera and hitting the record button.

In Captions, all you have to do is paste in your YouTube video link, and the app will do the work for you, generating up to five clips, depending on your video’s length. Then, you can tweak them as needed and upload them to YouTube Shorts, TikTok, or Instagram.

The Best Tools for Short-Form Video Creation

Short videos have less time to “wow” viewers, so it’s a good idea to add compelling transitions, text overlays, and filters. Here’s a guide to using in-app editing tools — and why Captions is the better option.

In-App Tools

Most social media apps have internal editing tools that can help you create decent videos quickly. For example, on Instagram, you can record a Reel in the app and add some text, stickers, or effects before you post. 

That said, these tools have their limits. They only have so many capabilities, and the few effects and stickers can get stale, especially when so many people use the same ones. For unique, high-quality videos, it’s a better idea to edit in an external app that has more functions and lets you tweak clips with more precision.

Screenshots of videos with and without TikTok’s watermark


Captions is a powerful editing app made specifically for short-form video content creators. You can film directly in the app, choose from hundreds of effects and editing options, and export with the specifications you need for every platform.

Here’s what Captions can do:

  • Trim, cut, and splice videos — The AI video trimmer removes awkward pauses and mistakes for you, but you can still adjust your clips manually. Captions also has many effects to add more interest to every transition.
  • Add automatic captions — Take advantage of automatic captioning and dubbing in a range of languages. You’ll make your content more accessible and appeal to a worldwide audience.
  • Include unique music — Captions creates AI-generated background music so your viewers won’t get tired of hearing the same songs over and over.
  • Apply AI effects — Make your videos look more professional with automatic noise reduction, speech correction, and eye contact correction.
  • Brainstorm ideas — AI Script assistance helps you think of content ideas and write scripts fast so you never miss a beat. When you film, Captions’ Teleprompter tool shows you exactly what to say.

Make Better Short-Form Videos With Captions

Short-form videos only have precious seconds to hook in viewers. Catchy, quick, and high-quality content that looks professional is key. With the right tools, you'll tell stories that keep people coming back for more.

Let Captions save you time and effort with AI-powered tools. You’ll edit videos 10x faster and make studio-grade videos without the hassle.

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March 6, 2024
Min Read
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