New feature: Instagram Reels

Staff Writer Staff Writer
July 9, 2020

Instagram’s newest feature hopes to bring a new level of freedom and creativity to video creation on the app.

The Facebook-owned service launched Reels in India today, after being tested in Brazil, Germany, and France. You can access the feature through the Instagram camera, where users regularly capture videos, boomerangs, and photos for Story publishing. The video-music remix feature is already being compared to Instagram’s social rival, TikTok. 

Vishal Shah, Facebook’s VP of Product, stated that the new feature comes from the realization “that stories are not the only place where [users] wanted to share these videos as they wanted them to stick on for longer and be distributed beyond their followers”.

The difference between Reels vs. Stories

The main difference between Instagram Reels and Stories is that Reels gives you the ability to choose the audience you want to share your content with. Once you’re ready to post your Reel, you can share your creation to your Story, your Close Friends, through direct messaging, or publicly. If shared publicly, your Reel will be eligible to appear in the “Top Reels” section of the Explore page, expanding your reach. 

Instagram will allow you to add your Reels to your profile’s non-disappearing Highlights, the same way you can with Stories.

How it compares to Tik Tok

Similar to Tik Tok, video clips can also be recorded at once and different effects can be added to each clip. These clips can be reviewed, deleted, and re-recorded if necessary. With the “Use Audio” function; users can add soundtracks to their Reels through an extensive list of songs available, or borrow the audio from someone else’s video to create an imitation or remix. 

The feature also include editing tools that Tik Tok is best known for, such as timed captions and ghost overlays for smoother transitions.

Facebook has yet to announce when the feature will be available for users in Canada and the US. This feature could be a game-changer for Instagram users around the world, and specifically for India, where Tik Tok was recently banned.

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