Instagram Reels now 90 seconds long with new editing tools

A photo of someone logging into Instagram
PHOTO: Unsplash

Reels, the short-form video feature on Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, is getting new content editing features to help it compete against TikTok, one of the world's fastest-growing social media platforms.

Some of the reasons TikTok took off were how easy it was to use and how easy the content can be discovered and monetised. Taking a page out of that playbook, Facebook and Instagram Reels are rolling out these new features over the next few weeks.

What's new in Facebook Reels

Create and schedule Facebook Reels on the desktop. Previously, you can only create Facebook Reels on iOS and Android. Now, you can also create, edit, and publish (or schedule) Facebook Reels from your desktop's web browser via Creator Studio.

Clip to Reels. Over the next weeks, you can start to create Reels from your published long videos or live content via the Creator Studio. Gaming video creators can directly clip a 60-second, vertical-friendly video with both gameplay and creator views from their live content.

New audio tools. Like the function in TikTok, Reels will finally let you create voiceovers and narrate your videos. There's also Sound Sync that automatically syncs your video to the beat of your favourite song, as well as a text-to-speech feature that lets a digital voice read out on-screen text.

Instagram stickers and ‘use template’ features.
PHOTO: Meta

What's new in Instagram Reels

  • Longer Reels. It can now go up to 90 seconds.
  • Stickers. Instagram Stories stickers are making their debut on Reels. You can poll, quiz or emoji slider sticker your audience.
  • Import your own audio. The Import Audio feature lets you add a commentary or background sound from any video that's at least five seconds long on your camera roll.
  • Templates. Imitation is the best form of flattery. You can grab the structure, audio and clip sequence of a Reel you've watched with 'Use Template', which you can then customise with your own content by adding and trimming.

Discovery enhanced

Reels are getting pushed onto Facebook's Feed, Groups, and Watch as suggested content, making it reach potentially more users. Creators on Instagram can also cross-recommend their Reels on Facebook to expand their reach. This can help since the number of eyeballs is how most content creators are monetising their content.

ALSO READ: Instagram pushes youths to use safety initiatives, to avoid hacks, scams and cyberbullying

These features will likely be welcomed by content creators on both platforms. However, this is still just Meta playing catch up. If Meta hopes to steal the lead from TikTok's commanding head start in short-form videos, it will need to come up with some revolutionary ideas and tools, and fast. After all, once people are stuck on one platform, it is hard to move them to another unless it's a new audience altogether. Meta should know that best.

This article was first published in Geek Culture.