Video for Instagram: How to Create Effective Content

Do you want to impress your Instagram followers with high-quality video content? Creating video for Instagram doesn’t have to be complicated – but there’s a bit of a learning curve. Although some video editing programs have preset resolutions and aspect ratios for sharing to Facebook, Twitter and other sites, they may not provide automatic settings for Instagram. You might also have trouble uploading or exporting video directly to Instagram from your photo editing program.

Get Familiar with Instagram

Take some time to become familiar with the different kinds of posts within Instagram. You can feature your video in your regular feed, which will be accessible forever, or you can post it to your Instagram Story, which will disappear within 24 hours. While you might think it’s a waste of time to post videos that will disappear, Instagram Stories can help you reach more people; back in November 2017, Instagram Stories already boasted 300 million daily users. Instagram has said that Stories resulted in users visiting the platform more often and staying on it longer. According to Ad Week, users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram.

Aspect Ratio, Resolution and Bitrate

Be sure to choose the right aspect ratio for your video, depending on whether it’ll go in the regular feed (square or landscape) or Instagram Story (vertical).
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change a video’s aspect ratio within the Instagram app – you need to take care of this before you open up the video in Instagram. Here are the maximum aspect ratios for Instagram: landscape (1.91:1), square (1:1), vertical (4:5).
Use the following maximums for resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape), 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square), 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical).
Instagram supports video codecs H.264 and VP8 and audio codecs AAC and Vorbis. Its maximum file size is 4GB and its maximum frame rate is 30fps. It has no bitrate limit if you are using two pass encoding with files under 1GB, but for 1080p, its bitrate limit is 8 megabits per second. For 720p, its bitrate limit is 4 megabits per second.

Export Presets

One way you can ensure that your video for Instagram has the right aspect ratio is by downloading export presets, such as these ones from Boone Loves Video. These presets will give you the option to use four different aspect ratios: stories, square, landscape and vertical.
After you download them, open the export settings dialogue box and save them to your computer by clicking the Install Presets button. Then change the format to H.264, select the Instagram preset you want and then go ahead and export your video. Make sure your video is under 60 seconds, Instagram’s current maximum run time.
editing video Instagram

Organizing Videos Across Your Devices

Another problem filmmakers face in exporting video for Instagram is figuring out where to organize or store their videos. This really comes down to personal preference, your phone/operating system and whether you’re willing to pay for additional space and features. Here are some options for video cloud storage:
Google Drive – If you’re an avid Google products user, Google Drive may be the easiest organizational option for your videos. You can save videos to Google Drive on your desktop, then access them on your smartphone with the Google Drive app. Google Drive is available for both Apple and Android Devices.
Dropbox – similarly, you can save videos to Dropbox on your desktop, then access them on your Apple or Android smartphone with the Dropbox app.
Apple Airdrop – for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches only, you can share video content across your devices as long as you’re signed in with the same Apple ID.
pCloud – This cloud storage device works the same way as the others. Some users prefer it because it does not automatically use your computer’s storage by default.  If your computer has limited storage, this could be the right option for you.
Box – Although Box is mostly used by businesses, it offers personal storage options as well. It doesn’t give you as much space as some other platforms, but users enjoy its slick interface.
Microsoft OneDrive – If you use a lot of Microsoft products, it might be easier to use OneDrive over the other options. In fact, if you’re using a Windows 10 computer, you already have OneDrive installed.

Uploading to Instagram

Once your video is saved in a cloud storage system you can access on your mobile device, you can upload it to Instagram. Note that you might have to actually download it to your phone’s storage first. Once you do that, you’re good to go! The final step is to choose a thumbnail that will entice users to watch! And remember that Instagram will auto-play your video, but play it on mute – so make sure your initial image won’t keep users scrolling past it. The video will also loop, so make sure the end of your video won’t create a weird transition when it starts over again.

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