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Why almost all of your Instagram videos are starting to look like movies

Most of the videos you post to Instagram are becoming Reels.


If you haven’t noticed, Instagram is putting a lot of effort into promoting Reels, its in-app version of TikTok. Since Reels came out in 2020, the picture-sharing app owned by Meta has been almost pleading with people to use the feature (and not just repost their own TikToks there). Whether you’ve made any Reels or not, you won’t have a choice for long: In the next few weeks, if you post a video that is less than 15 minutes long, it will be called a Reel. What you need to know is listed below.


Again, what are Reels?
Instagram has been toying with this idea for a few months. In January, the company confirmed that it had started testing a possible pivot-to-Reels for all videos, but only a small number of users had to deal with the change. At the time, a spokesperson said that the change was “part of our work to make Instagram videos easier to use and better overall.”


Reels are short videos that users can edit by adding special effects, filters, and separate audio tracks. Basically, they are the same as TikTok. There are audio clips in the background that users can lip-sync to or react to, there are app-specific trends, and there is a way to find new videos. Before this new change, Reels had their own feeds in the app’s “Discovery” section and showed up in a separate tab on each creator’s profile, away from other video posts like IGTV videos. (You can still post to IGTV if your video is longer than 15 minutes.) Unlike other videos, reels take up the whole screen when they are played.


Reels have a lot of editing tools built right into the app, like the ability to speed up or slow down videos and combine clips. This is different from, for example, the Story feature or the old way to post videos to the grid. Like TikTok, any original audio a user adds to a Reel becomes an audio clip that other ‘grams can use on their own Reels. This will be important in a bit.


Your Reel audio will be available to other users.
Any video that is less than 15 minutes long is now a Reel. Videos that were posted before the change went into effect will still be in their old format. These videos and Reels will all be in one tab on a profile called “Video.” Importantly, any video content in a carousel doesn’t turn into a Reel. Instead, the carousels stay separate from your video tab and stay in the same grid on your page.


The most important thing to know about this is that anyone with a public account may now have their original audio used in their Reels, so be aware of that. When Instagram announced the change, they also said that anyone with a public account can now have their Reels shown on the Discover page and suggested to more people. On the other hand, private users’ Reels (and audio clips) can only be seen by people who follow them. Remixes, which are like duets on TikTok and can be controlled by public users, are one thing they can do. In settings, you can turn off other people’s ability to “Remix” your Reel. This stops them from being able to repost your content with their own addition or reaction.


In the next few weeks, the Remix feature will be expanded so that users will also be able to Remix public photos to make a Reel or add their reaction to an existing Reel after it plays, rather than while it plays.


Instagram is clearly trying to copy TikTok, but it also took a feature from another popular app called BeReal. With the new Dual feature, users can record with both their front and back cameras at the same time, showing both what they are doing and how they are reacting to it.


Nicole Cherie Hesse

Nicole Cherie Hesse is a Journalist at Flaunt Weekly.

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