How to make a video on Instagram:
posts, Stories, Reels, IGTV and Lives

Julia Moore
You can record short videos using the app camera to share short announcements and jokes. You can also record long videos with interviews and master classes. In the article we will tell you how to make a video on Instagram for any purpose.
Reading time — 11 minutes

Instagram camera

You can make an Instagram video via the app camera.

How to open camera

The camera is opened from your home or profile page. 

On the home page, swipe to the left or tap the plus icon. You’ll get to the Instagram camera interface. Here you can switch between the video types:

  • Post.
  • Story.
  • Reel.
  • Live.

On your profile page, tap the plus icon and choose a video you want to create. Choose Post, Reel, Story, or Live to go to the Instagram camera. You can’t record an IGTV using the app camera, so choosing it you will get to the page with files that are in your phone gallery. 

How to record videos

Here is how the camera interface looks.

  1. There is a camera icon at the bottom right. Tap it if you want to switch from the front camera to the back-facing, or vice versa. 
  2. On the left of the camera icon, you can check the chosen video. If you’ve opened the camera from the home page, you can scroll the list to the left or right to switch to Post, Story, Reel, or start a Live. 
  3. Above the list, a big white button is placed. It turns the recording on and off. 

To make a video on Instagram, you should choose the content type first:

  • For recording a Story or Reel, tap the button and keep it pressed. Release the button to stop the recording. 
  • When you choose Post, the interface changes. You are offered to choose a file from your phone gallery by default. To make a video on Instagram from scratch, tap the camera icon. Parts of the screen darken. Only what’s on the light part will be in the video clips. The screen is cropped due to the post size parameters. Tap and hold the button to record a video, release the button to finish the recording.

  • Live is at the end of the list. Tap the button to start the recording, you don’t need to hold it. 
You can’t record an IGTV from the Instagram app camera. But you can save a Live stream after it’s finished as an IGTV. Bear in mind, comments, views, and likes are not saved.

Move the finger you hold the recording button up the screen to zoom in the picture. Move it down to zoom out back. 

Using the app camera, you can also upload files from your phone. Swipe up the screen or tap the camera roll icon at the bottom left to do it. Tap the squares at the top right to select several files. 

The uploading file size can be up to 4 GB. The clip should be MP4 or MOV video format. IGTV is an exception. Its size is limited to 3.6 GB and MP4 video format.

Now let's see how to make a video on Instagram more detailed. Each of the videos has its specifications. 

What videos can you create in the Instagram app

There are 5 kinds of video on Instagram. Below you can find their characteristics and distinctions, and, what's more important, how to make Instagram videos.


  • Duration: up to 15 seconds.
  • Shown: for 24 hours on the followers’ home page and your profile page.

How to make a Story: 

  1. Tap the button at the center. Hold it while the video is recording. Release the button to end the recording. 
  2. Edit the video you've got, if needed, and tap the arrow to post the video to Story. More about video editing and posting to Instagram Stories is here.

What’s interesting about making a Story is the variety of the features.

Under the recording button, you can find the filters and masks. They will make your Instagram video more interesting and appealing. The effect you choose will be displayed in the center of the white round. Use this button to create a Story. 


On the left you can see some tools for recording a Story. Disclose the full menu by the arrow. Choose the tool you need and record a video. 

  • Create allows you to make a Story without a photo or video. You can publish some text on a colorful background. 
  • Boomerang. Your video will be played as usual and then backwards. All these will be repeated 3 times in one Story. Keep in mind, video in the Boomerang mode is recorded for up to 5 seconds, not 15 as regular Instagram Stories. 
  • Layout. There will be several photos and videos. You can make only a photo collage using the app camera. You need to upload videos from the phone to add them to the collage. 
  • Multi Capture. Choose the feature to make several videos at a time. They will be added to your profile as a succession of individual Stories. The mode works as Layout in regard to adding video content. You can add several videos only by uploading them from the phone gallery. 
  • Level helps you to keep the horizon line straight when you make a video on Instagram. With this mode you see a screen grid, there are a circle and a line inside. When you hold your phone straight, the circle disappears and the line turns orange. You can use Level with other Story tools concurrently. 
  • Hands-Free spares you from holding the button pressed during the recording. Tap the button once to start making a video, tap it again to end. 


  • Duration: up to 30 seconds.
  • Shown: to any user watching Reels. You can also post a Reel to the posts tab in your profile, then the followers will see it in their feed. 

How to make a Reel:

  1. Record a Reel by tapping and holding the white button in the center. Release it to end the recording. 
  2. Tap the white Preview button to continue. 
  3. Tap Next to post your Reel. 

Like Instagram Stories, Reels have their features. 


The Reel features are placed on the left. Choose one, if you want, and then make a video.

  • Audio. One of the Reels characteristics is the feature to put other’s audio tracks on your videos. It may be not only a part of a song but also a part of a dialogue, or just sounds. First you choose an audio and then a fragment on the timeline. 
  • Length of a Reel can be up to 30 seconds. You can set the limit to 15 or 30 seconds. This will be useful when you use Hands-Free mode, more about it further. 
  • Speed. You can speed up or slow down Instagram Stories. Tap the "1x" icon to see the options. 
  • Reels effects are opened by the icon on the left. Here you can see the same filters and masks you saw in Stories. Choose what you like and tap the screen above to go back to the camera interface.
  • Touch up makes your skin smooth, you become more beautiful thanks to that. Tap the icon and you’ll see a scale. Run your finger up along it to enhance the effect. Run your finger down if you are beautiful enough and don’t need the filter :) 
  • Video Layout makes it possible to fit several videos in a Reel. You can record video clips for the collage from the Instagram camera. Tap the appeared below icon to choose the videos’ disposition options.
  • Timer. Tap the icon and set parameters in the opened window, You can set a 3 or 10-second countdown. You can also change the duration of the video, the recording will be stopped automatically. The maximum length depends on what you chose in the Length.

You can choose several features at a time when making an Instagram Reel. 


  • Duration: up to 60 seconds.
  • Shown: on your profile page and the followers feed. 

The interface changes when you choose posts in the Instagram camera. It differs from what you see choosing Stories and Reels. 

Scroll to the post recording. In the opened interface:

  1. Tap the camera icon. 
  2. Hold the button to make a video. 
  3. Tap the arrow at the top to move to the video editing and publishing.

The interface is a bit different when you make a video post from your profile page. But the main idea is the same. 

  1. Switch to the video tab.
  2. Hold the button. Release the button to finish recording. 
  3. Tap the arrow to continue.


  • Duration: from 60 seconds to 60 minutes.
  • Shown: in the IGTV tab in your profile, previews are available in your posts tab and in followers feed.

The easiest way to make this Instagram video is to save a Live stream after it ends as an IGTV video. More about it below.

We remind you, IGTV videos can be uploaded from your phone gallery. To do it, you need to tap the plus at the top of your Instagram profile page. 


  • Duration: up to 4 hours.
  • Shown: in the followers feed and on your profile page, the same place users can see your Stories. Your followers also get notifications about you starting a live stream. The video is available while you are streaming.

You can’t upload a Live to your Instagram account. But you can save your streaming as an IGTV video. 

  1. Before you go live, you better specify the title. Thus, users can know what your Live is about. If they are interested, they can join. 
  2. Tap the button to start a Live. 
  3. Tap the cross to end the streaming. 
  4. You will see an option to save to IGTV. This is the quickest way to save an Instagram Live to your profile. 
Use screen recording or download a Live after it ends. Then you can upload it as an IGTV from your phone. 

Here we wrote more about going Live and watching it from a computer.

Choose a video for yourself

Instagram videos have different durations, and they are displayed on different pages. Choose what serves your purpose best. We will give you a couple of examples. 

You want to widen your audience. Then, you create a video post and add hashtags when you publish it. Even those who are not subscribed to you will see the videos on the tags pages. Here is our complete guide How to Hashtag on Instagram.

Assume, you want to tell your audience that the shop you run is closed today due to technical failures. In this case you add a Story. Tomorrow the video message will be not relevant, that’s why disappearing video content is the best option here. 

If you have a private Instagram account, any of your videos will be visible only for your followers. 

The bottom line

You can make a video on Instagram, then edit and post it. The social media frees users from working in multiple video makers to create and share the content. Everything that you may need is already here in the Instagram app.

But remember you may also upload a video from your phone. You can even upload the content from a computer, read how to do it here.

Tell us in the comments what type of Instagram video do you use most often?