In its ongoing battle with TikTok, Snap today announced the launch of a new feature called Director Mode, aimed at providing easier access to Snapchat’s native creative tools for posting videos on its platform, including including to its short-form video feature known as Spotlight. At launch, Director Mode will include a new dual-camera future that will allow users to record both front and rear cameras at the same time – a format that’s also being leveraged by the hot new BeReal app, but for the photo sharing.
While Snap already offers a standalone video editing app today, Story Studio, it sees it as aimed at more professional creators looking for a suite of advanced tools. Director Mode, meanwhile, will serve as a modular camera mode within Snapchat itself, intended to help centralize access to creative tools that would come in handy when posting to Spotlight.
The feature will be available in Snapchat’s main camera tab as well as in Spotlight itself, the company says.
“[Director Mode] brings up our tools that are a bit more for creating entertainment – whether you’re pre-scheduling a video or doing something that you’re going to submit to Spotlight,” notes Sam Corrao Clanon, director of Snap at market leader Spotlight. content, which Snap poached from TikTok last year.
The feature aims to intuitively organize tools like Quick Edit, which allows creators to add transitions to videos, as well as things like improved green screen functionality and the new Dual Camera mode, among others. But more importantly, Director Mode gives Snapchat a dedicated place in its app to introduce more creative tools over time, with a view to improving Spotlight videos and removing the barrier to entry for new creators. . This is similar to how TikTok provides a host of filters, AR features, templates, and video formats in its own camera interface, so would-be video creators don’t have to think about the technicalities involved in creating a certain type of video — they can just press a button to get started.
The company cites demand for such a feature, noting that nearly two-thirds of Spotlight video submissions today use one of Snapchat’s creative tools or an AR lens.
Like others in the social space today, Snap is in an uphill battle with TikTok for user time and attention, as well as content from creators. The progress of Snap’s efforts isn’t entirely clear. Snap declined to say how many Spotlight videos have been posted so far or how many creators have posted a video to its TikTok-like video stream, Spotlight. Instead, it just points to metrics related to Spotlight’s growth — like engagement tripling over the past year or how the number of weekly submissions grew just over 5x. But without a basic starting point, it’s difficult to shape those metrics into anything that offers a true understanding of creator and user adoption of the feature, which first launched in November 2020. .
On the contrary, the new additions rather speak of the credible threat that TikTok has become.
Not only has Snapchat – an app that has established itself as a place to connect privately for friends – added a vertical video feed of short user-generated content, but it’s also rolling out a TikTok-like creative tools organizer with director mode. And it also plans to bring Remix, a collaborative video feature similar to TikTok Duets, to Spotlight.
Despite TikTok’s similarities, however, Snap believes it can differentiate itself by the nature of its community.
“The reasons why people come to Snapchat are really different,” explains Carrao Clanon. “Snapchat is a platform where people come because their friends are here – because their closest, most authentic, social and familiar relationships live on the platform. And we see that even our streaming content is really an extension of this,” he said.
According to Snap, this has helped the Spotlight stream develop a more distinct feel compared to its rivals, and one that mirrors Snapchat’s more laid-back format. Likewise, the content that outperforms on Spotlight tends to be “more in the moment, spontaneous, everyday, and humorous — like moments from school, moments from work, or moments from her community,” notes Carrao Clanon. And users may feel more connected to creators where the content posted is less curated and “performative” than what appears on YouTube.
Snap said Director Mode will launch first on iOS in the coming months, followed by Android later this year.