While Snap today already offers a standalone video editing app, Story Studio, it sees that as being aimed at more professional creators in search of an advanced suite of tools. Director Mode, meanwhile, will serve as a modular camera mode within Snapchat itself that’s intended to help centralize access to creative tools that would be useful when publishing to Spotlight.
The feature will be available in Snapchat’s main camera tab as well as from Spotlight itself, the company says.
The feature aims to intuitively organize tools like Quick Edit, which allows creators to add transitions to videos, along with things like an improved green screen feature and the new Dual Camera mode, among other things. But more critically, Director Mode gives Snapchat a dedicated place within its app to introduce more creative tools over time, with an eye on 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 making a certain type of video — they can just tap a button to get started.
The company cites the 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.
If anything, the new additions speak instead to what a credible threat TikTok has become.
Despite the TikTok similarities, however, Snap believes it can differentiate itself by the nature of its community.
“The reasons that 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 even our broadcast content really is an extension of that,” he says.
This, Snap believes, has helped the Spotlight feed develop more of a distinct feel compared with rivals, and one that reflects Snapchat’s more casual format. Similarly, the content that outperforms on Spotlight tends to be “more in the moment, spontaneous, daily life, and humorous — like moments from school, moments from work, or moments from one’s community,” Carrao Clanon notes. And users may feel more connected to creators where the published content is less polished 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.