Have you ever come across a YouTube video that was just way too long for you to sit through in one sitting? We’ve all been there.

You click play, get 10 minutes in, and realize there’s still 30 minutes left. By that point, it’s hard to stay engaged.

The same thing happens to your audience. Nowadays, many people have short attention spans and you need to create content that they can happily engage with.

If you’ve created a long-form video yourself and want to make it more accessible, you don’t have to leave it as is. You have options to condense it down into a shorter highlight reel without losing the most important information.

The process of shortening a video can seem daunting if you’ve never edited videos before. Thankfully, there are now automated tools that can help.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the AI video-shortening process using free and paid tools. By breaking down a long video down to its core highlights, you can make it much more approachable and shareable for today’s online audiences.

Let’s get started!

Read also: Best AI Faceless Video Generators

Steps to Generate Shorts from Longer Videos

Below are the steps for turning your long videos into their short and easily digestible versions.

1. Pick an AI YouTube Shorts Maker

When choosing your AI YouTube shorts maker, there are a few other important factors to consider beyond just the tool itself. Here are some features to look for in a tool:

  • Captions: Make sure the tool has solid automatic captioning. Good captions will make the shorts more accessible and help with SEO.
  • B-roll inclusion: See if it can incorporate existing B-roll or stock footage into the edits. Extra visuals keep viewers engaged.
  • Editing styles: Find a tool that allows you to edit your videos, crop them, and customize the elements manually as per your needs.
  • Branding options: Check if you can add your logo, watermarks, etc. Keeping your brand consistent is important.
  • Video quality: The quality of uploaded vs downloaded videos matters – you want HD clarity retained.
  • Costs: Consider any free trial periods or paid tiers so you’re not surprised by fees later on.

Now, we’ve written about some of the best AI YouTube Shorts generators that you can look at. These include Vizard.ai, Predis.ai, and VideoGen.

2. Upload the YouTube Video or Paste a URL

With your AI video maker selected, the next step is getting your content into the system. Now generally with these tools, there are a couple of ways to do that.

Most will let you upload the actual video file directly. Just locate the file on your computer and click “select file” or “choose file” —  it’s a pretty straightforward process. 

The other common option is pasting in the YouTube video URL. So if the longer version is already up on your channel, you can copy that web address and paste it right into the appropriate field.

Either way, once it’s in there the AI will get to work analyzing it in the background. While that’s happening, you can start setting any preferred clip length, editing style filters, and other configuration options.

3. Generate and Edit

Once your longer video is uploaded and analyzed, the next step is refining those auto-generated shorts. Now at this stage, you’ll have some options on how hands-on you want to get.

The AI should spit out a few potential clips for you based on its intelligence. AI shorts makers can automatically extract the most engaging parts of your long-form video content.

They can identify and focus on the speaker, center them along with other important objects while cutting out the rest, and add B-roll images and footage where relevant. You can preview the generated clips and select your favorites. 

From there, you may want to do some light editing yourself. Tweak the in and out points to perfect the clips.

Reorder the sequence. Or, add your logo or other branding elements. 

Also, you can dive deeper using other editing tools like captions, transitions, music tracks, and so on. It’s possible to make each short video shine by customizing various elements.

No problem if you prefer to keep it simple though. Some of us aren’t video editing wizards! 

The cool part is these AI tools analyze your preferences as you refine clips. So it will get smarter about future suggestions.

So play around and find your balance of hands-on tweaking versus letting the machine do the work. The options are there to make it your own.

4. Export, Publish, or Schedule

At this point, you’ve selected your clips and refined them to taste. Now it’s time to get those shorts out into the world!

Most of these AI tools will let you export your finished videos in a high-quality format ready for publishing. You can easily download the file and have it prepped to upload.

Then you’ve got a few options for distribution:

You can manually upload each short video to YouTube right away. Just click publish and you’re live!

Or schedule them to go out over time using YouTube’s built-in scheduling feature. Trickle them out daily/weekly for maximum exposure.

Some generators will even directly publish to YouTube for you without needing to export at all. It’s really handy for set-it-and-forget-it posting. 

And don’t forget other platforms too. You can repurpose the connote for channels like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc. Diversify that distribution!

How AI YouTube Shorts Generators Differ from Manual Editing

When it comes to creating YouTube Shorts, using an AI generator versus doing it manually can have some key differences. Here are a few ways they may vary:

  • Time commitment – AI tools aim to save you time by automating lots of processes. They analyze videos, find highlights, and spit out draft shorts for you quickly. Manual editing takes longer per video.
  • Creativity control – Generators provide options but ultimately make choices for you, like clip selection. Manual editing gives you full control over every creative decision.
  • Customization – AI options provide tweaks that some manual tools may lack, such as dynamic captions, subtitle translations, transitions, overlays, etc.
  • Skill level – Generators are designed for users of all video skills. Manual editing requires learning video editing software and developing those skills over time.
  • Consistency – AI tries to analyze your content and maintain a consistent “voice” or style across all shorts. Manual edits may vary in quality depending on your expertise.
  • Optimization – AI Shorts generators aim to select clips optimized for engagement based on data. Manually, you rely more on your judgment to determine which clips will perform best.
  • Workload – These generators are best for channels that want to regularly pump out shorts without a huge time spent. Manual editing only works if you have editing time for frequent uploads.

So in summary, AI tools trade some creative control for major time savings, while manual editing gives you full control based on your skill level at the cost of more time spent per video.

Benefits of Converting Lengthy Videos to Shorts

Converting longer videos into shorter YouTube Shorts clips can have some great benefits for your channel. Here are a few to consider:

  • Increased accessibility – Shorts have higher chances of being viewed since people are more likely to watch shorter clips on mobile. This opens your content to a whole new audience.
  • Higher potential for virality – Short, snackable videos spread more easily across YouTube and other social platforms. They’re perfect for sharing in comments or as story posts.
  • Better engagement metrics – YouTube promotes Shorts more, so your individual clips may perform better in search and suggestions. This can boost average watch time, likes, comments, and more over time.
  • Repurposed content – You’re maximizing the value of videos you’ve already created by extending their lifespan in a new format. No extra work producing new long videos is required.
  • Search engine optimization – Each Short acts like its own individual piece of content, gaining you more chances to rank in searches as keywords are spread across clips.
  • Easy to consume – Bite-sized videos are less of a commitment to start watching. Shorts make it simple for new viewers to check out your channel and see if they want to see more.

So in many ways, breaking videos down artistically can boost discoverability and engagement, and help you reach more eyes overall.


Manually going through the video yourself and cutting out unnecessary parts gives you full control over the narrative and flow. But it does require time and video editing skills. 

The newer option is to use artificial intelligence video generators that can automatically create summary videos from long ones. It’s convenient and helps generate a quick highlight reel even without editing experience.

Leveraging AI can simplify the process of breaking your long-form content down into multiple bite-sized YouTube Shorts in bulk. And that means more opportunities to reach new viewers, increase engagement, and keep existing fans coming back for more.

If you want to start experimenting with AI tools to supercharge your YouTube Shorts strategy, be sure to check out our directory of video editing and video creation apps.

You’ll find options for automated short generation as well as other handy features like subtitles, dubbing, and more. Don’t hesitate to try out a few different tools to see which one jives best with your workflow and style.

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