Inside YouTube’s New Editing App That’s Using AI to Take on CapCut

Estimated read time 4 min read

After wrapping up a semester teaching a class on mobile filmmaking at Stanford University, one of Cielo de la Paz’s students, who was an employee at YouTube, connected with her on LinkedIn.

It turned out her former student was the product director for a new app YouTube was building, and they were looking for a design lead. De la Paz landed the job in 2022. She helped launch in September the mobile-editing app called YouTube Create in a beta version for Android users.

In her role, de la Paz talks to creators of all niches and sizes about what they want from mobile editing.

With the rise of short-form video, from TikTok to Instagram reels to YouTube shorts, the days of needing a bulky expensive camera and advanced editing experience are over.

De la Paz, who is a YouTube creator herself, works to understand what the creator community needs from an app that would help them edit both short and long videos from their phones.

She blends her experience as a UX designer, mobile filmmaker, and creator to help build an app to rival TikTok’s video-editing tool CapCut. Her YouTube channel, called With Cielo, has 15,000 subscribers. It started as a mobile-filmmaking channel and then expanded to overall photo- and video-creation tips.

“I’m part of this larger mobile-filmmaking community, and it’s just something I believe in — enabling people to be able to create content just with their phones,” de la Paz said,

In February, YouTube Create expanded its beta test for Android users across 13 more countries, including Australia and Brazil, from an initial eight that included the US and the UK. De la Paz told Business Insider that creators can also expect an iOS version later this year.

Inside the beta test for the YouTube Create app

One of the first things de la Paz did when she joined the YouTube Create team was push to add more transitions between clips to the app. She drew on her own experience as a user, finding the app didn’t have the transitions she preferred.

“When I step into one of our team meetings, I’m wearing two hats,” de la Paz said. “I’ll often switch and say, ‘OK, I’m putting on my creator hat now, and here’s my feedback.’ And then I’ll put on my designer hat and talk about design.”

She’s trialing the app with other YouTube creators, as well. YouTube has several programs established to get creator feedback, including the Creator in Residence program, which allows 10 creators to meet with YouTube engineers for six months to test new tools and products. De la Paz said her team aims to speak directly to YouTube creators at least once a month for app feedback. The team also runs surveys and connects with smaller groups of top and emerging creators.

“We want to hear from creators at those different stages and see what it is they need from an editing app like Create,” de la Paz said.

Her team is focused on building tools to help creators manage once-tedious tasks using artificial intelligence, such as YouTube Create’s audio cleanup, auto-captions, and beat-matchings features.

Of beat matching, for example, she said: “It’s a fairly complex thing to try to do and can be tedious and painful if you’re just trying to cut your clips to the beat of the music … It’s why creators get burned out — because it takes so much time.”

YouTube Create uses AI to automatically detect beats for the creator and then snap clips to where that beat is.

The app is about more than editing. The team is leaning on AI capabilities to help creators with their end-to-end workflow, from concept to uploading the clip to YouTube. YouTube Create aims to be the only software a creator needs to record, edit, and eventually upload a video, replacing laptops and other advanced software.

There’s a higher expectation from these editing apps now, de la Paz said, because every creator has used an editing app on their phone in some capacity.

“This is absolutely just the beginning,” de la Paz said. “We can’t wait to show everyone what’s been cooking.”