TikTok For Dummies
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Creating TikTok videos is easy. Maybe you already created a video when TikTok prompted you to try after you set up your account. There are many things you can do with TikTok, like adding sounds and music, photos and other videos, but for this article, here are the basics:
  • Tap the plus (+) icon. The plus icon appears at the bottom of the screen after you log in. If this is your first time using the app or opening the recording screen, give the app permission to access your camera, audio, and photo library.
  • Look over the recording page, which is shown below. The recording page is what I call a “movie studio in your pocket. For now, become familiar with the following elements:
    • The big red record button near the bottom
    • The Effects icon, to the left of the red record button
    • The 60s (60-second) and 15s (15-second) video length options at the bottom of the screen
Screenshot on cell phone showing the TikTok recording screen ©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The recording page has everything you need to create content.
  • Select your video length. Tap 60s for anything greater than 15 seconds (to a maximum of 60 seconds), or leave this option at the default 15s for videos up to 15 seconds.
  • (Optional) Choose an effect. Effects are optional, but I wanted to include a description to show you how fun TikTok can be:
    • (a) Tap Effects to the left of the red record button and browse through the effects, as shown below. TikTok, similar to apps such as Snapchat, usually provides instructions on how to use the effect.
    • (b) Tap an effect you like and try it out by following the instructions on the screen. Select another effect if you don’t like that one. Feel free to scroll through and try them all.
    • (c) Tap anywhere outside the Effects dialog to return to the recording screen. Or tap the circle with a line in the upper left of the Effects dialog if you decide you don’t want to use any effects. The effect begins when you start recording, as discussed in Step 6.
Screenshot on cell phone of some TikTok effects options ©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Scroll through the many effects available on TikTok.
  • Place what you want to record inside the frame. Choose what you want to record, and place that person or thing inside the camera frame. Note that you can tap the Flip icon or double-tap anywhere on the screen to flip the camera view.
  • Tap the red record button. If you tap the button once, TikTok will record automatically until you either tap the button briefly again or your 15-second or 60-second time is up. You can also long-press (press and hold down) the record button, and the TikTok app will record for as long as you hold down that button or your time is up.

Long-pressing the record button can be useful for — wait for it (you’re about to be smarter than 80 percent of TikTok users) — zooming! To try it, long-press the record button and, with your finger still down, slide the button up to zoom in and down to zoom out. Boom! Instant zoom as you’re recording. When you release the button, TikTok stops recording.

  • If you finish filming before reaching the time limit (15 or 60 seconds) click the red check mark in the bottom-right corner. When you finish recording your video, the page shown below appears — either automatically or after you tap the check mark.
Screenshot on a cell phone showing editing on TikTok ©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Editing your newly recorded video
  • (Optional) Add sounds or additional effects. Then tap Next. You can choose sounds and other effects to add to your video.
  • Add a description and configure sharing options. On the next page, shown in the image below, add a description about your video (150 characters or less). I usually tap the #Hashtags button and select a popular hashtag or two to add to the video. (If you used an effect in your video, TikTok may automatically add a hashtag for that effect in the description; you can keep it or delete it.)I also suggest turning on the "Allow Duet" and "Allow Stitch" options to allow others to share your video. Just tap each slider and it will move to the on position and turn green.
TikTok screenshot on cell phone showing the final recording page ©John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Your final recording page
  • To post your video, tap the "Post" button.
If this is your first time posting a video, you're asked to verify that it’s okay to publish the video publicly. If you want your creation to be seen by the world, tap "Post Now." If you would rather it remain private, select "Me Only" under "Who Can Watch This Video." The For You page will appear, with the video you just created uploading in the upper-left corner, along with videos from other recommended video creators, which TikTok selects for you, if you’re not following anyone yet.

When the video has finished uploading, it will play automatically on the For You or Following page as long as you keep the app open, repeating itself over and over unless you tap the screen to pause. Congratulations! You just created your first TikTok video.

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