How To Create A Reel On Instagram and TikTok

How To Create A Reel On Instagram and TikTok


arnold on Oct 15, 2023

This guide will help students learn how to create Reels on Instagram. I will cover all the currently available tools and features for for both platforms, ensuring a straightforward understanding without the unnecessary details. To do this I will focus on what I think are the most relevant features that a beginner would need to start posting reels. There will be enough information provided so that you can explore the other tools and features on your own. Reels tools and features change all the time and feature rollouts do not go to all users at once. If you do not see a tool listed below then you may just need to wait. 

How To Post A Reel On Instagram:

When you open your Instagram App and are looking at your Home Feed, simply swipe to the right to open up your Reels editor. 

You should see a screen that looks similar to this (except it will show you instead of the ceiling in the image).

All the options shown in the image below are what you can add or change to your reel before recording your reel or before uploading and editing a video. 


Instagram Reel Features


Playing with these editing tools will enhance the quality of your content. Here’s a breakdown of some pivotal features available in the Reel editor:


Function: This allows you to add music or sound to your Reel. You can add audio now or after you have your video. You can also see all your saved audio. If you have no saved audio then you can search and find some audio you like. 
Usage: Choose from a vast library of tracks or use original sounds. Remember to align the audio with your content to create a seamless viewing experience.

Add Yours:

Function: A feature allowing users to engage with trends by adding their own take on existing content.
Usage: When you see a Reel with the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, tap on it to create and add your own response. This is a great way to participate in challenges and community trends.

Green Screen:

Function: Superimpose yourself on any image or video background.
Usage: Select the Green Screen feature, then choose a photo or video from your gallery to serve as the background. You can then record or upload a video of yourself, which will be layered over your chosen backdrop.

Length of Reel:

Function: Decide the duration of your Reel.
Usage: Reels can range from a few seconds to up to 60 seconds (depending on platform updates). Use the slider to adjust and select the part of your video you want to include.

Film Speed:

Function: Adjust the speed at which your Reel plays.
Usage: You can speed up or slow down your video footage, offering creative ways to emphasize moments or create interesting visual effects.


Function: Split your screen to show multiple videos or images side by side.
Usage: After selecting this feature, you can upload or record different segments that will appear together in a split-screen format.


Function: Set a countdown before recording begins.
Usage: This is ideal for hands-free recording. Select the duration you want to record, set the timer, and the app will give you a countdown before recording starts. This is especially handy for getting in position or preparing props.

Dual (Not Pictured): The dual features allows you to record from the front and the back of your camera. This is a feature you turn on or off. 

Gesture Control (Not Pictured): Allows you to use your hand to start and stop recording. 

Familiarizing yourself with these editing tools will not only streamline your content creation process but also enhance the overall appeal and effectiveness of your Reels.

Create Your Reel

Once You have your desired settings it is time to get some video to work with in your reel. Your two main options here are to record your video or upload videos that are stored on your device. To record video just hold down the big white button until you are done recording. If you want to upload a video you can press the blue plus button to see the video that are stored on your device. 

Create Reel In Instagram


Once  you have your video uploaded you are going to see some familiar options, most of which we just covered. You can add audio, text, stickers etc. There are two new options at the bottom of the following screenshot. You can edit your video you uploaded or you can add additional videos to your reel. I will first talk about the stickers option, (to include captions) and then will talk about the edit button.

Uploading Video Into Instagram


How To Add Captions With The Sticker Button

One of Instagram’s features I highly recommend is its built-in captioning tool, which automatically generates captions for your videos. This not only makes your content more accessible but also enhances the viewer’s experience.

To use captions, tap on the square icon that looks like a smiley face sticker – this is the Stickers button. Among the various sticker options, you’ll find one labeled “Captions.” Tap on it.

Instagram will now automatically transcribe your video’s audio and display the text on your video. Wait for a few moments for this process to complete.

If there are any transcription errors, you can tap on the caption to edit the text. You can also drag the caption around to position it wherever you’d like on the screen. Use pinch gestures (moving two fingers apart or together) to resize the captions or change their orientation.

By default, Instagram offers several caption styles. Tap on the captions to cycle through different visual styles and choose one that fits your video’s aesthetic. Once you’re satisfied with the look and positioning of your captions, continue with any other edits or additions you’d like to make. 

Add Sticker To Instagram

The editing options are shown in the image below. You can do simple edits to your video and you can play around with audio, captions, stickers and other features here.

One of the fundamental tools is the trimming and cutting feature, allowing users to select and fine-tune specific portions of their video clips. If you’re aiming to create a more dynamic narrative, the splicing tool lets you divide a single video into multiple segments, making it easier to create quick cuts between scenes or remove unnecessary parts.

Transition effects further elevate the editing process by introducing smooth changes between different video segments, giving your content a more professional touch. And if your video’s visuals aren’t quite right, the adjust tool is invaluable, enabling modifications to attributes like brightness, contrast, and saturation to ensure your content looks its best.


Editing Reel Instagram


Once your video is edited to your liking, or once you have all your videos added you can click the blue arrow button at the bottom. This will take you to your post options which we will cover next.


Instagram Options For ReelThe three most important options here are the cover, the caption and the topics.

Cover: The cover is what will show on your timeline. You can scroll to an important part of the video and you can zoom in and move the video around to get the section you like into your cover. You can also upload a nicely made cover from a graphic design program. Go to Canva and type “Instagram Reel Cover” to find some premade covers that you can edit to look nice.

Caption: This is where you will enter a caption for your reel. Captions are more than just an afterthought when posting a Reel; they are a pivotal component that can greatly influence viewer engagement and understanding. A well-written caption provides context to the video content, helping viewers quickly grasp the message or story you’re trying to convey. Utilizing relevant keywords and hashtags in your caption can improve your Reel’s visibility, ensuring it reaches a broader audience. Captions can also act as conversation starters. A question, a witty remark, or a call-to-action can prompt viewers to interact, be it through likes, comments, or shares. In essence, a caption, while concise, holds the power to elevate the impact of your Reel, making it resonate more deeply with viewers. Always give it the thought and creativity it deserves.

Topics: The “Topics” option allows creators to categorize their Reels under specific themes or subjects. This categorization aids in streamlining content for viewers, making it easier for them to find and explore Reels that align with their interests. When posting a Reel, users can select from a list of predefined topics or even suggest new ones. By choosing a relevant topic, creators ensure that their content reaches an audience genuinely interested in that particular theme.

The rest of the options are self explanatory. Take a look through all the options and once everything is to your liking you can select the Blue NEXT. You will be given some info and then you can click SHARE to post your reel.

How To Post A Reel In TikTok:

The TikTok Reel Editor and Instagram’s Reel Editor have notable similarities in their design and functionalities. In the rest of this guide, we’ll briefly cover the key differences between the two, highlighting where to find specific tools on TikTok and drawing parallels to Instagram. This overview will make it easier for you to transition your content creation skills from one platform to the other.

To start, open your TikTok App and click the Plus button at the bottom middle of the app to create a reel. That will open up a screen that looks similar to the image below. Most of the options are the same and the way to load a reel is the same. You can record with the white button or upload a video. 

TikTok Posting Screen 1



Once you have a video uploaded you will see a screen similar to this. Everything here is similar as well.  If you want to edit the video you can click on the EDIT button.  You can also load a template which will analyze your video and give you a premade template with audio and an effect.  This option is just okay at the moment.


Uploaded video in TikTok 2


After clicking the edit button the image below shows what the editor looks like. Everything is very similar.  One item I want to highlight is the captions. To access the captions in TikTok you simply click TEXT and then you click CAPTIONS. It will analyze your audio and input it into your reel where you can make some edits to the captions. 

Video Editor With Captions in TikTok 3

When you are happy with your video you can click the NEXT button to go to the post options. This is where you will insert your caption and choose your other options that mostly match with Instagram. Two new options is whether you want to allow a duet and/or a stitch. On TikTok, a “Stitch” allows users to incorporate and respond to snippets from another user’s video in their own content, essentially integrating a clip from an original video into a new creation. A “Duet”, on the other hand, lets users create content side-by-side with another video, displaying both videos concurrently, often used for reactions, collaborations, or complementary content.

Once you have your post options set you can click the pink POST button to post your reel. 


In conclusion, this article provided a straightforward walkthrough on how to post reels on both Instagram and TikTok. By understanding the specific tools and features of each platform, students can now effectively share and create content. Utilize these steps as a reference whenever you’re looking to post, ensuring a smooth and efficient process.



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