How to Edit Instagram Reels

Learn editing tricks for how Instagram Reels that will capture a viewer’s attention.

42 min. video

Overall approaches about how to hook an audience, piquing their curiosity, and how to learn editing are discussed.

Techniques for editing that are discussed include transitions, masks, using split screens, adding stickers and text.

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Mia Rozear and Jordan McCracken-Foster.

Instagram, Clara Lieu

Video Walkthrough

  • You have to start out making a ton of bad reels, we all did!
  • Making bad reels is the only way to get started and really learn the media.
  • Video editing is a hard skill that takes a lot of experience and troubleshooting to do well.
  • Being an artist and being an editor are not related in most cases, so don’t expect yourself to be good at editing right away.
  • Good editing takes time, usually more than you think.
  • Even a 1 min. video can be extremely time consuming; our short on our Discord took many hours to edit.
  • We don’t recommend Adobe Premiere or Adobe Premiere Rush for shorts, it’s overkill and lacks many features like stickers and fun transitions that are very easy to do in Video Leap.
  • Our recommendation is Video Leap, it’s very straightforward and has tons of fun features that are easy to use.
  • iMovie is free, but is a big hassle to use and doesn’t edit vertical video, you would have to edit it as a horizontal video, and then change the orientation afterwards in your camera roll.
  • Captions: Speak to the Camera is an easy app to add captions.
  • Captions are especially helpful as many people watch shorts in a situation where they can’t have the sound on.
  • The “hook” is the most critical part of a reel, you have ONE SECOND to convince people to continue watching
  • A good hook piques a viewer’s curiosity, states that it will provide information you need, or mentions a place (like the RISD store) that you may have an association with.
  • Although reels can be up to 1 min., 15-30 seconds is ideal.
  • 1 min. is “too long” for reels.
  • Fast cuts are very important, when there aren’t any cuts, the viewer gets bored very fast.
  • Shooting footage that is varied, and shows different points of view like this one help retain the viewer’s attention.
  • Don’t zoom in too much for too long, it can be confusing what you are drawing if we aren’t reminded of what the entire image looks like.
  • Play with transitions, they can be part of the storytelling and movement of the piece.
  • Masks can be very helpful to show your face talking, overlayed on top of video footage or a skill, making it an efficient way to communicate.
  • Masks can create split screens, so we see your face and your hand drawing at the same time, like this.
  • You can fake the footage! Filming while you are drawing can be super disruptive.
  • This footage of Prof Lieu looks like she is looking and drawing. Actually, this footage was shot after the drawing was finished.
  • Use text in your reels to emphasis important pieces of information and points you want to push.
  • Adding stickers is a fun way to keep the video from being too monontenous.
Mia Digital banner
Mia Rozear

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

I’ve noticed that a lot of artists often don’t align their own Instagram habits with how they run their own Instagram account.

Lauryn Painting MFA banner
Lauryn Welch

I know many artists are very hesitant to show their face. (and of course, that’s a personal decision which I respect) Y

et many people have told me that the first time they visit an artist’s Instagram, the first thing they look for is a photo of the artist.

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