Instagram Reels Tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide


This Instagram Reels tutorial will let you use the video feature like a pro. Surely you’ve seen Reels: synchronized dance routines, lip syncing, quick one-click costume changes … this has been a hit on the social media platform despite many people still not sure how. it works or why it exists.

Instagram has launched so many new features that it can be hard to keep pace, especially if you’re working hard to increase your engagement on Instagram or trying to navigate all the different social media platforms. Instagram already allowed users to share videos in standard posts, Stories, Live, and IGTV. So how are the Reels different?

What exactly is Instagram Reels?

The micro-video format is Instagram’s response to the rise of TikTok, especially among Generation Z. It offers similar tools, although it is currently more limited in terms of time (30 seconds against 60) and mounting options available.

The reels have a full screen portrait format, like the stories, but can be up to 15 seconds longer. Videos also stay on your profile while stories disappear after 24 hours, unless you save them to your highlights. But the biggest difference is the built-in editing tools, which allow users to add effects and music and paste multiple pieces of video (if you want something different, check out our list of the best video apps for you). video montage).

Reels is important because the world’s second largest social media platform (Instagram, obviously) is pushing it hard. Unlike stories, reels appear in both the general Explore tab and search results, as well as its own tab on the user interface. This makes it much more likely to reach non-subscribers.

Creatives use Reels to share tutorials, behind-the-scenes material, previews of work in progress, and before and after videos. So how do you get started? Read on for our step-by-step guide. Having trouble getting the coils to work? Go to our coil troubleshooting section.

01. Adjust the settings

Instagram Reels Tutorial: Adjust Settings

Instagram Reels has a simple interface for choosing settings before shooting (Image credit: Joseph Foley / Instagram)

If you want to share a video that you have already recorded, just click on the Camera Roll window at the bottom left (see step four below). To record a video in the app itself, you must first choose your settings using the buttons on the left of the interface.

Choose a time limit of 15 or 30 seconds (the final video can be shorter but not longer). You can also choose a playback speed from 1X up to 5X, which can compress more footage in the available time.

Clicking on the face icon will display the effects options in circles next to the Save button at the bottom of the screen. Swipe right to cycle through a range of effects, from sparkles and glitter to colors, glitches, voice changers, and a range of Snapchat-like 3D masks and other novelty costumes.

With some of the effects, you will find that tapping on the screen brings up other options in smaller circles. You can only choose one effect at a time.

Unlike TikTok, Instagram Reels only allows you to apply effects before recording. Post-editing is limited to cropping the footage and adding text, filters, and stickers.

02. Add music or other audio

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Instagram reels

Type the name of an artist to search for audio or browse trending tracks (Image credit: Joseph Foley / Instagram)
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Instagram reels

Select the 15 or 30 second section you want to use (Image credit: Joseph Foley / Instagram)

You can record your Reel with your own original audio, but if you want to add audio from the app, click on the music icon. This opens the search options, where you can type in the name of an artist or a piece of music. You can also scroll down to browse by genre or by audio which is trending in your area.

After clicking on a song to select it, the audio will be played and you can use the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen to choose a 15 or 30 second clip to use. If the song has lyrics, the scroll feature will highlight the lyrics from the start of the selected clip, although the music tends to be slightly ahead of the lyrics.

Alternatively, you can add audio from other people’s reels. Find and open the coil you want to sample, then click the name of the audio at the bottom left. You will be taken to a screen showing all of the reels that feature this audio. Click Record Sound. You can then locate it in the Recorded section of the audio search options when you record your Reel.

03. Record your video

Click the stopwatch icon if you want to add a three-second timer to give you time to prepare, then hit the Record button to start filming your Reel.

You can record as many sequences as you want until you hit the 15 or 30 second limit. To stop filming, press the Record button again. Click on to go back and trim (or delete) the footage you just recorded.

After recording your first piece of video, a new icon will appear on the left: the alignment tool. This brings up an overlay of your last clip so you can line up the image to create a seamless transition when you start recording again. This helps create the quick changes and stop motion type videos that have become so popular in Reels.

You don’t need to complete the Reel in one session. If you click > Until the final sharing screen, you can save a work in progress in Drafts and continue it later.

04. Download a pre-recorded video

As with Instagram Stories, you’re not limited to recording footage within the app itself. If you don’t want to use Reels’ editing tools but want to take advantage of the format’s potential reach, you can upload videos you’ve already made.

Just click on your camera roll image at the bottom left and you will be able to select any video on your device. Many users upload videos made on TikTok in order to share them on Instagram as well.

If you’re producing your video outside of Reels, just make sure it’s in portrait format (9:16). You will not be able to add music or effects to footage in Reels; only text, stickers and filters.

05. Add text and stickers

After you have cut out all the clips you want to use, click >. On the next screen, you can add text, stickers and filters. The mechanics and fonts available are largely the same as in Instagram Stories.

The main difference is that you can choose when you want the text to appear and disappear. This flexibility can be used to create narrative texts for tutorials, work-in-progress videos, or video listings.

Each text you add will create a small black rectangle at the bottom of the screen. To select a particular piece of text, click on the corresponding rectangle, making it white. You can then drag the In and Out points on the bar below to choose when you want the text to appear and disappear.

Unlike Instagram Stories, any tags you try to add in the text won’t work. You will need to add them later in the legend.

If you want to save your Reel on your device for use elsewhere, now is the time to click on the download icon at the top center. Unlike TikTok, Instagram will remove any third-party audio from the uploaded video. However, it does not add a watermark.

After that click on > to go to the final screen. Here you can add a caption, which will appear superimposed on the bottom left of your Reel. It will also appear under your reel in a standard Instagram post format if you enable the “Also share in feed” option.

As with any content on Instagram, adding mention tags and hashtags in the caption can help your Reel reach more people.

07. Share your reel

You can always click the back arrow at this point if you want to re-edit anything. Otherwise, click the cover to choose the point in the video that you want to use as the cover when it appears on your profile, then click Share.

If you have a public account, your Reel may appear on Instagram’s Explore page. People will be able to comment on it unless you turn off comments. Open your published Reel and click on the three dots at the bottom right to find the option to turn off comments or delete your Reel.

If you used the original audio, other users will now be able to use it in their own reels. That’s as far as content recycling options go right now, but Instagram is starting to roll out a TikTok’s Duet-based Remix feature. This will allow users to respond to a reel by recording their own version of the content alongside it. It will be possible to enable or disable this option in Settings.

Troubleshooting for Instagram reels

I have no coils

Reels is now available to all Instagram users. If you find that you still don’t have it or that some features are missing, check the App Store or Google Play to see if an Instagram update is available. Otherwise, try uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it.

The latest update with the Remix feature has not yet been made available to all users.

i can’t add music

For copyright reasons, users with work accounts may find that they don’t have the ability to add music to Reels or Stories. This is something Instagram seems to be adjusting. Users in many areas report that the option has now been added. Try updating the app to check if the option has been added in your region. Otherwise, many users work around the problem by pre-editing the reels using a different platform.

I want to include still images

You can only add video to a reel. To include a still image, edit your video on another platform, then upload it to Reels or use a screen recorder to turn the still image into video.

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