Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok’s short form videos. They’re short, sharp, engaging and binge-able videos. They’re also an incredible way to reach wider audiences.
If you’re wondering exactly how to make Instagram Reels, you’ve come to the right place!
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In this ultimate guide we’ll cover everything you need to know from Instagram Reels video editing to how to increase views on Instagram Reels.
There are two main options when it comes to making Reels. You can create them in the Instagram app.
Or you can use professional third-party apps. These allow you to get really creative with your editing and you’ll end up with an incredible final product.
We’ll show you how to make Instagram Reels using both options!
Here’s exactly what we’ll cover in our step-by-step Instagram Reels tutorial:
- What are Instagram Reels
- How to Make Reels Using the Instagram app
- How to Make Reels Using Awesome Filming & Editing Apps (Using Third Party Apps)
- How to Upload Instagram Reels
Plus we’ll share some awesome Instagram Reels tips to increase your views along the way.
Let’s dive in.
What are Instagram Reels
So, what are IG Reels and what makes them different from other short form videos?
Stories vs Reels
Instagram Stories are vertical videos up to 15 seconds in length that disappear after 24 hours. Reels are also vertical videos but they can be up to 60 seconds in length and they remain visible unless you delete them.
Instagram Reels are up to 60 seconds in length and they don’t disappear
This makes Reels really valuable because they can continue having an impact and bringing you value for a long time after you post them.
Instagram Reels vs TikTok Videos
Reels and TikTok are very similar. The main difference between the two is that TikTok supports videos up to three minutes in length. That’s significantly longer than Reels!
This might be something that we’ll see in the future with Reels, but for now we’re limited to 60 seconds.
Instagram Reels and TikTok videos are very similar, making it a great opportunity to repurpose your content
Other than the length, a lot of features are the same. They’ve both got heaps of effects, filters and music that you can use. They both specialize in short, entertaining videos that people can consume quickly.
Because the content is so closely related, it’s an awesome idea to repurpose your content and use it on both platforms. In fact, you could even repurpose your YouTube Shorts into TikTok videos and Instagram Reels as well.
Now, back to our step-by-step guide on how to make Instagram Reels.
How to Make Reels on Instagram (in the app)
To get started, head to the Instagram app. There are a few ways to get to the Reels section.
There are multiple different ways you can access the Reels tab
To get to the Reels tab you can:
- Swipe left: If you swipe from the left side of your screen, you’ll be taken to the Instagram camera. Then select Reels down the very bottom.
- Press the Plus button: On your home page, select the + button on the top right. Then select Reels down the bottom.
- Press the Reels icon: Press the Reels icon in the bottom middle of your screen and you’ll be taken to the dedicated Reels tab. This is where you can watch Reels. Or you can select the camera icon in the top right to create an IG Reel.
The first thing you should do is set the Reel length. You can adjust this by selecting the timer icon on the left hand side menu. You can choose between 15 seconds, 30 seconds or 60 seconds.
We recommend always selecting 60 seconds. If you select 60 seconds, start recording your video and it doesn’t reach the time limit, Instagram will just crop that down for you.
On the left menu you can add/adjust the audio, length, speed, filter, effects and countdown timer for your Reel
But if you select 30 seconds and go over the time limit, the end of your video will be cut off. So, if you always just select 60 seconds then you don’t have to stress about running out of time!
There are heaps of audio tracks in the Instagram music library. To add music, press the music icon in the left menu. You can search for any specific music tracks in the top search bar.
You can select the specific section of an audio track to go in your IG Reel
If you want a specific section of a song, you can scroll through the track and select the exact audio section that you want to include in your Reel.
Below the timer icon you’ll see the Speed icon which defaults as 1x. You can select that button and adjust the playback speed.
So you could record a video and have it play back in slow motion. Or you could get really tricky and record a video in slow motion and play it back in normal time.
Have you seen those Reels that seem to be exactly timed to the music? Maybe they’ve got some perfectly timed dance moves? This is one way people can achieve that.
Add Filters & Effects
Next is the filters & effects icon. Select the button and you can swipe through a huge range of these. Simply tap them to add filters.
There are heaps of filters and effects you can play around with on the Instagram app
Touch Up Mode
This is basically beauty mode! It smoothes out your skin and makes you look, well, beautiful. You can hold the button and adjust the strength of the effect.
The timer allows you to select a certain amount of time before your video will begin recording. This is great if you need a bit of time to get prepared after pressing the record button.
The Countdown Timer gives you some extra time to prepare after pressing the record button
Align Your Camera
The last button on the left will allow you to align your camera with the previous shot.
It will overlay the image in your last recording so that you can align the next shot as closely as possible. So this is a really cool tool that helps you make your shots more seamless.
The most important button! Press the Reels icon to record. This will work two ways. You can either just tap on it to start recording and tap on it again to stop recording.
Once you’re ready, press the Instagram Reels icon to record
Or you can press and hold the button and when you let go, it will create that clip. So while you’re holding the button, you’ll see a countdown timer at the top.
When you let go, it will pause the recording and there will be a progress bar at the top, showing you how much you’ve recorded. When you’re ready to record again, you can hold that button and the recording will continue. This allows you to record multiple clips.
The timer at the top of the screen tells you how much recording time you have left for your Reel
To preview the clips you’ve recorded, press the Preview button.
Edit the clips by pressing the button on the left of the Record button. You can press the trash can to delete them or the scissors to trim them down.
When you’re finished recording, hit Done. Then select Preview and you’ll be able to access all the same features and effects that you have when posting a regular Instagram story.
After you’ve recorded the Reel, you can add audio, effects, stickers and you can download to your phone
You can add text, add stickers, add effects, add background music – get creative!
If you want to save the Reel (this is a great idea if you plan on repurposing the video) then press the Download button on the top left.
Nice job, you’re done with filming and editing. Hit the Next button and this will take you to the Share page.
Before we cover how to upload an Instagram Reel, we’ll run through how you can make a Reel using third party apps.
If you want to kick things up a notch, this option might be for you. If you want to stick to using the Instagram app, jump forward to How to Upload Instagram Reels.
How to Make Instagram Reels using Third Party Apps
Using third party apps allows you to get more creative, have more control, and create a higher quality video. You can use them to film AND edit Reels.
After lots of trials, we’ve narrowed it down to our favourite few apps to help you make Instagram Reels.
Best Filming App for Reels: FiLMic Pro
You could think of this like your built-in camera app on steroids. FiLMic Pro unlocks DSLR-like settings on your smartphone. It’s seriously impressive.
FiLMic Pro is our top recommendations when it comes to filming Instagram Reels
Here’s a quick rundown of the things you can do with FiLMic Pro:
- Lock down your shutter speed
- Lock down ISO
- Adjust the focus while you’re recording
- Adjust volume levels
- Change the picture profiles
The main feature you won’t have is the ability to pause your recording (like in the Instagram app). Instead, you’ll either be recording lots of separate clips or one really big clip and editing those afterwards in your editing app. We don’t think this is an issue but it depends on what works for you.
FiLMic Pro packs a punch with heaps of awesome features
Now that you’ve filmed your Reel in top tier quality, it’s time to edit.
Best Editing Apps for Reels: VN Video Editor & CapCut
Our top recommendations for the best all-rounder apps are VN Video Editor and CapCut. They’re both really easy to use, have a ton of awesome features and they’re free!
VN Video Editor is the best all-rounder app for editing Reels
So, we’ll do a quick run through of how to edit Reels using VN Video Editor.
To create a new project, hit the + down the bottom and then select New Project. Then choose the video clips that you want to edit and press Next.
Create a New Project and then you can begin editing an epic, professional-looking Reel
Here’s a rundown of what you can do in VN Video Editor:
- Move clips by picking them up and dragging
- Trim clips by dragging the yellow handles
- Split a clip by selecting it and pressing the Split button
- You can split a clip in multiple section to remove the middle section entirely
- Speed up and slow down clips by hitting the Speed button
- Add in filters and effects to change how your video looks under the Effects button
- Apply transitions by pressing the FX button
Simply drag the yellow handles to trim down your footage
So it’s super easy to refine your footage and remove anything you don’t want. This will sharpen and refine your video!
If you’re editing your videos this way, there are two tools that will help you take your IG Reels to the next level.
Placeit is an amazing online service that allows you to create video animations, video intros, animated text and graphics that you can then drag and drop into your videos.
Storyblocks is an awesome resource that gives you access to heaps of B-roll footage so that you don’t have to go and film everything yourself!
Once you’ve finished with your edit, do a quick check to make sure there’s no end screen, watermark or branding saved to your video from the free apps. If you do, you can just delete them.
Delete any branding or logos from the apps for a more professional Reel
To save out your Reel in VN Video Editor, go to the Export icon in the top right corner. Hit the Export button again at the bottom and then your video will be saved to your phone.
This is an awesome way to get creative with both your filming and editing without being locked into what Instagram gives you for your Reels.
PRO TIP: If you’re looking for an even more professional app and want to invest some time into learning, LumaFusion is hands down the best video editing app for iPhone. If you’re using an Android device, the most professional option would be Kinemaster.
How to Upload Instagram Reels
Now it’s time to upload your Reel to Instagram. Head to the Reels section of the Instagram app.
If your Reel is saved on your phone, press the gallery icon on the bottom left
If you’re uploading a Reel that’s already saved on your phone, press the gallery button on the bottom left. You can then select a video from your phone gallery. In the top right corner press Add.
If you’re using a Reel that you filmed and editing in the Instagram app, simply press Next after editing and you’ll arrive at the Share page.
Write a caption to go with your Reel and include any relevant hashtags
Now you can add a caption. Include any hashtags and some good emojis! To change the cover image of your Reel, tap on the Cover photo and select any frame from within your video.
If you can’t find a good frame from your Reel, you can upload your own image from your camera roll. Press Add From Camera Roll and select the image from your photo gallery. A lot of people miss this feature! It’s a great opportunity to make your Reel stand out.
Select Add From Camera Roll to upload your own image for the cover of the Reel
If you’d like to share the Reel to your main feed (rather than just the Reels feed), it’s a good idea to crop your cover image so that it fits within the square shape on your main profile grid. Go to Crop Profile Image and move the image around so that it’s in a position that will look good to people viewing your Instagram profile page.
If you’re creating branded content, make sure you add a Paid Partnership Label
PRO TIP: If you’re sharing the Reel to your feed, Instagram will display the Reel in 4:5 ratio when it’s viewed on your page. This means the top and bottom will be cut off. So make sure you don’t include any text in those areas.
You can also tag people in your Reel. And if you’re doing branded content you can go to Advanced settings and add a paid partnership label.
And that’s everything! Now it’s time to share your Reel or save it as a draft to post at a later time.
To post a Reel, hit the Share button and your Reel will be visible on the Reels feed
Now you Know How to Make Instagram Reels Like a Pro!
It’s super easy to create awesome Reels on the Instagram app. If you want to create Reels that have even more of a wow-factor, you might want to check out some third party apps for filming and editing.
FiLMic Pro allows you to film much higher quality Reels than you could achieve using just your built-in camera or the Instagram camera app.
VN Video Editor is a super powerful editing app that will allow you to edit your Reels to perfection.
Now that you’ve learnt everything you need to know in this step-by-step Instagram Reels tutorial, it’s time to give it a shot and upload your first Reel! If you follow these steps, your Reels will be popping up in Featured Reels in no time!
Feeling confident with Reels? Check out our complete guide on How to Go Live on TikTok.
We hope you enjoyed our tutorial on Instagram Reels! If you found it useful, please share on social media or with someone you know who might appreciate the info.
When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!
Tools to Create Awesome Reels:
Recommended Apps For Filming:
Recommended Apps For Editing:
Recommended Gear & Resources
Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!