With TikTok edging closer to possible elimination in the US market, Instagram has decided to launch its own short-bite video platform ‘Reels’. But is it good enough to rival TikTok?
Last week Instagram rolled out its newest feature ‘Reels’ across 50 countries, with the intention of gaining a lucrative slice of the short-form content space. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of Vine in 2016, TikTok recognised – and took full advantage of – a continued audience demand for platforms to create and consume short video-bites.
Now, with TikTok seniors embroiled in legal dispute with the Trump administration over concerns regarding Chinese surveillance, the most downloaded app of 2020 is possibly facing a nationwide exodus from its second largest market and revenue generator, unless current owners ByteDance can find an American buyer quickly. As you’d expect, big players are circling, ready to hop in TikTok’s grave.
What is Instagram Reels?
At first glance, Reels looks and feels a whole lot like TikTok; usernames, captions, and audio tracks are displayed on the lower left, and users cycle through videos in the exact same way (by swiping up). In that sense, it would appear Instagram is pushing for a seamless transition usability wise, should it start to win over the current TikTok demographic. While both allow for the splicing of multiple clips into a single video, a key difference between the two is that Reels offers a maximum time limit of 15 seconds for both single and multi-shot videos, compared to TikTok’s 1-minute ceiling with the latter. Lastly, as you’d no doubt gathered already, you will have to own an Instagram account to view and create Reels, TikTok on the other hand permits voyeurs to browse clips without signing up.
The Reels toolkit on is nigh-on identical to TikTok. Users can speed up or slow down videos, add AR effects, and of course apply audio tracks… that includes the ability to overlay audio from other uploads. After all, this option inspired huge traffic on TikTok following the release of Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’, and Instagram would love to boast similar success stories down the line with Reels.
People have noted the lack of a ‘Duet’ function, which allows TikTokers to create split-screen videos from multiple sources and is mostly used for goofy parodies.
All week we’re sharing tips on how to make reels with different features. 💫
Reels is a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.
First up: how to use green screen ✅ pic.twitter.com/Nc1Y5zKoPv
— Instagram (@instagram) August 5, 2020