Instagram is set to roll out a new feature called ‘Reels’, which allows users to create short, 15-second clips. The feature is poised to rival Chinese app TikTok which caught the world by surprise back in 2018.
The feature can be found by swiping to the right on Instagram, next to Boomerang and Super-Zoom modes. With ‘Reels’ you can record short clips, in silence or you can add a song from Instagram’s music library. Users can also import audio from other public Reels. With Facebook’s large collection of music from popular labels at Reels service, the feature will offer a lot of music options.
However, based on the demo video, Reels’ editing tools look very limited. You can only change the speed of your videos, add timed captions, and overlay scenes for smoother transitions. Once your Reel is ready, you can upload it to Stories, add it to Highlights or share through direct messages. If users share their Reels publically they have a chance for them to be showcased in the Top Reels section of the Explore tab.
Despite the video editing tools, Reels still lacks video filters and special effects that TikTok has to offer, but those are on the way, says Robby Stein, director of product at Instagram.
Speaking to Mashable Stein said: ‘Instagram Stories has always been a home for expression and we believe this new format has huge potential to enable more creativity for people.’
Reels’ announcement comes just months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s censorship concerns over TikTok. It also comes just over a year after Facebook dropped its project Lasso, an attempt at trying to clone TikTok.
The feature is available on iOS and Android but there is a catch, it is only available in Brazil where the feature is being tested for now. Stein said Brazil is the perfect place to test the new feature since the South American country has a big Instagram population and a strong music culture.
‘We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big,’ said Stein.