How to Use Instagram Videos

If you’re still unsure whether to wade into the world of TikTok or are looking for an alternative as the future of TikTok remains uncertain, Instagram is asking for your creative energy.

A new feature of the Reels platform allows users to record, edit and publish small videos that are added to searchable social feed. Videos up to 15 seconds long can be layered with special effects, filters and separate audio tracks.

This may sound a lot like Instagram stories, but there are a few key differences, as well as some reasons why you might prefer one over the other:

  • Reels offers a wider range of editing tools, including AR effects, speed controls to speed up or slow down audio and video, and the ability to align multiple clips for clearer transitions.
  • Reels can be posted to the Browse feed on Instagram (if your account is public) so people who don’t follow you can find them – a privilege for people looking to create followers.
  • If you enable original audio, your audio will be assigned to you and other users can include it in their videos.

Basically, Reels is very similar to TikTok, just rebuilt on Instagram (and admittedly lacking some important TikTok features like the ability to “duet” or download songs directly). It’s not that far from the moment Instagram launched Stories, which essentially duplicated many of Snapchat’s features .

Here’s how to use it.

How to use Instagram Reels

To create a reel, open your Instagram camera as if you were using Stories and select Reels from the bottom scroll bar. You will see the editing tools located on the left side of the screen. Use the record button to create your clip or series of clips (there is a progress bar at the top of the screen showing how many of your 15 seconds you’ve used). When you’re ready to publish, tap the arrow below.

From there, you’ll have the option to write a caption, select a cover image, add hashtags, and share your video on Reels (if your account is public). The coils will appear in the Browse section and will be stored in a tab on your profile page, just like on IGTV.

Another option for both public and private accounts is to place the drums in the feed – they will appear in the main grid and in the drums tab. You can also submit your video as a DM or post it to your Stories – in both cases, your video will be treated as a regular story that disappears after 24 hours.

To view other people’s videos, tap the search icon in the main toolbar. The drums are at the top and all you have to do is click and scroll to view the clips. From there, you can follow users and like, share and comment on videos directly.

This post was originally published on Aug 5, 2020 and was updated on Sep 17, 2020 video.


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