Reels is Instagram’s attempt to capitalize on the popularity of TikTok. The feature allows you to create 15-second videos with a handful of fun editing tools. Here’s how to get started.
You might be wondering how Reels is any different from Instagram Stories. While Stories is more about your daily life, Reels is all about creativity and entertainment. There are a few new editing tools to help you make something fun and shareable.
Instagram Reels is similar to TikTok, but the main difference is it’s a feature inside a larger ecosystem. TikTok, on the other hand, is exclusively for short video clips. If you’re already an avid Instagram user, Reels might be more appealing.
How to Record and Create Instagram Reels
At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the different camera modes. Swipe over to “Reels.”
In the “Reels” mode, you’ll see four icons on the left side of the screen. These are the tools you can use while recording:
- Music: Select music to play over your clip.
- Playback: Choose the playback speed of the clip. You can use slow motion or fast-forward effects.
- Effects: Instagram’s library of augmented reality masks, backgrounds, games, and more.
- Timer: Predetermine the length of the clip so you don’t have to use your hands to stop recording.
There are a few other buttons on the screen, as well. You can turn the flash on or off, flip between the front and rear cameras, or go to the Story settings.
If you’d like to create a Reel from prerecorded videos, you can add media by tapping the plus sign (+) in the bottom-left corner.
Select a video (you can’t use photos) from your media gallery.
You can now trim the video by dragging the ends of the timeline. Tap “Upload” when you’re done.
To start recording a new video, tap the Camera button. A pink progress bar will appear at the top of the screen to indicate the 15-second clip limit.
Tap the camera button again to stop recording or allow the 15 seconds to run out.
To record a clip hands-free, tap the aforementioned “Timer” button, select a time length, and then tap “Set Timer.”
You can then put your phone in a mount or prop it up and tap the Camera button to begin recording. It will automatically stop at the predetermined time length.
If you stop recording before the 15-second limit, you have the option to align new clips with previous ones for a seamless transition. After recording a clip, you’ll see a new Align icon appear on the side; tap it to see an overlay of the previous clip. Then, move your camera to align.
Clips shorter than 15 seconds will minimize to the left of the Camera button. You can tap this to delete the clip or trim the length before proceeding.
Tap the camera button again to add a new clip to the series. A Reel can include as many clips as you want, but they must add up to 15 seconds or less.
Once you’ve recorded all your clips, tap the Next arrow (>) to begin editing. If you used the full 15 seconds on the first recording, you’ll automatically be brought to the editing screen.
How to Edit and Share Instagram Reels
Now that you’ve recorded a Reel, you’ll see a new set of tools at the top of the screen:
- Download: Tap this to save the video to your phone.
- Stickers: This is where you can add Instagram stickers, emojis, and GIFs.
- Draw: Doodle on the video with a number of different pens and color choices.
- Text: Add text with different fonts and colors.
This is also where you can adjust the length of a Reel. Drag the handles at the ends of the timeline at the bottom to trim the clip.
After you’ve finished editing the Reel, tap the Next arrow (>) at the bottom right.
Now, it’s time to share your Reel with the world (or just a few friends). There are two tabs for sharing your creations: “Reels” and “Stories.”
Sharing via the “Reels” tab will put your video on your profile and in your follower’s feeds like a regular Instagram post. First, tap the preview to choose a cover image.
To adjust the cover, drag your finger across the timeline at the bottom of the screen until you find a still image you like. You can also tap “Add From Gallery” to choose a cover photo from your photo gallery.
Tap “Done” when you’re happy with the cover image.
Now you can give your Reel a caption; tap the text box next to the Reel to type one.
If your account is public, the Reel might also appear in the “Discover” tab. This means people who don’t follow you will be able to see it when browsing the public “Discover” tab. It will also be visible publicly on your profile.
Toggle-On “Also Share to Feed” (not present on private accounts) to share a Reel with your followers, as well.
Sharing a Reel through the “Stories” tab simply posts it to your Instagram Story, and it will remain there for 24 hours. The “Stories” tab is also where you can send the Reel as a direct message to someone or a group.
How to Browse Instagram Reels
Reels are integrated into the main Instagram interface, but there are a few different ways you can view only Reels.
First, Reels from the accounts you follow will simply show up in your feed and Stories. To view Reels from a specific account, go to that person’s profile page and tap the Reels icon.
Instagram also has a dedicated section for browsing Reels. Open the Instagram app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Tap the Magnifying Glass icon at the bottom to go to the “Discover” tab.
Tap “Reels” in the bottom left.
You’re now in the Reels browsing interface. At the bottom left, you can tap the icons to Like, Comment, or Share Reels. The Camera icon at the top right will take you to the Reel creation screen.
To browse through Instagram Reels, swipe up to go to the next video or swipe down to refresh the feed.
When you’re done browsing, tap the Back arrow at the top left to leave the Reels interface and return to the main Instagram app.