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TikTok has taken the world by storm, since its initial release in September 2016. The Chinese app has quickly become the tool of choice for many and now has millions of monthly active users.
First, the youth adopted the app to make short-form videos like dance videos, but as it so often happens, lately the app has also seen a growth in form of an older audience and companies who want to target the youth demographics where they are.
I can understand why. It’s easy to add and edit videos and add things like background music and visual effects. You can even apply a green screen effect without even owning a green screen. The app is full of in-built powerful features.
TikTok started with short 15-seconds videos but has since expanded into more long-form video content and now offers three-minute videos, 10-minute videos (in some countries), and live feeds.
In this guide, I’ll explain all of these, how, when, and where to use them. I’ll also show you a practical step-by-step guide on how to make TikTok videos longer than fifteen seconds.
You can also see how to combine one video with a second video to create longer videos.
So let’s get started.
What is the maximum length of TikTok videos?
The maximum length of videos on TikTok is 10 minutes in some parts of the world. However, this feature hasn’t been rolled out globally yet.
If you don’t have the option yet, the maximum video length is 3 minutes.
In short, TikTok offers five video lengths:
- 15 seconds video
- 60 seconds video
- 3 minutes video
- 10 minutes video (early access)
- Unlimited (TikTok Live Feed – see below).
TikTok stories are limited to 15 seconds. Stories are automatically deleted after 24-hours.
The other maximum video lengths are for your common videos that pop up in the feed – comparable to Instagram reels.
How to Change the Video to Sixty Seconds or Three Minutes
Changing the video length of TikTok videos is really easy.
Simply follow these simple steps:
- Hit the Post button (+ button) at the bottom of your screen to record a new video
- Swipe and choose Camera (not Story or Templates)
- Swipe and choose your desired maximum video length
- Tap the red record button to start recording
Tip: you can start and stop the recording multiple times within the time limit by simply tapping the red circle. This is a really easy way to change camera angles within the same video, without having to edit the video clips later.
When you have something more complex that you’d like to do in a TikTok video, it makes sense to choose sixty seconds for the recording length.
Many people are now making three minutes videos like this. Depending on what you want to do, it might be a more practical choice to make long-form videos. More on this later.
Also, check out 12 Tips on How To Make a Video go Viral on TikTok.
You can always revert back to fifteen seconds when you want to record a shorter and simpler video.
Trimming and minimum length
Note that the maximum limits don’t mean that your videos have to be exactly these lengths.
If you want a specific length that is less than say 60 seconds, you can just tap the record button at the bottom of the screen a second time to stop recording before the time limit does this for you automatically.
You can also use the TikTok video editor to trim your video for the perfect length.
The technical minimum length of a TikTok video is 1 second, but don’t expect such short content to do well in the feed.
The perfect video length for things like FYP (For You Page videos) is between 10-15 seconds. The FYP is a feed of content that the TikTok algorithm thinks you might like based on your former engagement time with videos.
What about TikTok live?
When you reach 1.000 followers on TikTok you gain access to the TikTok live feed option. This is where you can broadcast a video in real-time, like streaming on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook.
So is there a time limit on TikTok live?
The short answer is no, there isn’t a maximum time limit on TikTok live. Instead, you’re restricted from using this feature, if have less than 1000 followers.
Be Sure to Use the Included Stopwatch Count-down Timer
The stopwatch is a simple tool that helps you to get the timing down. Nothing is worse than mistiming your choreography and having to restart the entire video. So using the included stopwatch icon is a good idea.
You find the stopwatch on the right side of the screen.
Tap it, and you can now choose between a 3-second and 10-second countdown on your camera screen.
It also has a beep sound, so if you turn up the volume, you can use the front camera on your phone and still take advantage of the countdown timer.
This is a handy feature that you’ll want to utilize.
How to Combine Videos On TikTok
It’s also possible to combine two shorter videos into one long TikTok video.
You can do this by uploading videos from your camera roll, i.e. the videos you have on your mobile device:
Here’s an easy guide with step by step instructions:
- Click Post (+ button)
- Tap the Upload button in the bottom right corner of the screen
- Choose the videos you’d like (you can also include photos)
- Click OK
- If you want to add more videos click the square plus icon next to your videos/photos and repeat the process
- Tap next
- Add special effects, sounds, etc.
- Click Next
- Add a description
- Tap Post
It’s possible to trim things down, combine the videos into one, and choose which order the clips play in from the video editor.
How to merge TikTok drafts together
So what if you want to combine draft videos you’ve created in the app with the TikTok camera into a longer video?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy native way to merge TikTok drafts together. Instead, it requires a bit of a workaround.
The first step is to save your drafts to your mobile device. To save your drafts, you need to first publish your drafts. Set the option to “Only me” under “Who can watch this video”.
When you’ve saved every single video you want to combine, then you need to follow the 10 steps mentioned just above, i.e. uploading your drafts and combining them as videos from your camera roll.
If TikTok won’t let you save your videos, read this guide.
It would be nice if there was a way to simply merge drafts from within the app or website, but that isn’t possible at this time of writing in 2023.
I find this is the best way to create a long video from Tik Tok drafts.
Of course, you can also combine videos you’ve created with the TikTok camera and others you’ve created and edited in another third-party app such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
I hope you found this guide to TikTok tips useful? Combining videos from numerous recordings can take your content from a basic video to a high quality perfect TikTok video.
TikTok’s success still amazes me. In a short amount of time, the social media platform has grown and become one of the most used apps.
The TikTok app allows users new ways to create short videos, and it offers TikTok users a lot of creative possibilities when it comes to easily apply things like visual effects, sound effects, an audio track, and more to a video clip.
This, combined with the easy-to-digest short form content in terms of videos that are only around fifteen seconds each helped TikTok quickly gain a massive user base of global users.
The length of your video really depends on the type of video, you want to create. Are you creating a short dance video? Then you can do it with a short 15-second video.
If you are creating long videos with educational content, beauty tutorials, or maybe comedic sketches, then the 60-second options or 3-minute videos are probably better choices.
So the question is now, do we really need 10-minute videos on TikTok? The addition of this expanded video length is probably a strategy to make TikTok compete with YouTube-length videos.
Creating YouTube videos of 10 minutes is a popular choice amongst vloggers. I suspect TikTok wants to tap into this market as well.
About the author:
Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.