Move over photos, make some room for video! Instagram is embracing video in a big way, allowing users to post up to 60 second videos to their feed. Creators can also share pictures and videos in a slideshow format via Instagram stories (read Instagram Stories: How to Create Engaging Content). So, let’s make your account stand out. Here are five simple steps to create videos for Instagram.
STEP ONE: CHOOSE YOUR CAMERA.
The easiest way to shoot a video for Instagram is with your smartphone, simply because everything is in one device. Instagram has a video mode which makes filming as simple as holding the digital shutter button to record, and lifting your finger to stop. You can add multiple clips to the sequence (and delete them too) to create a video 60 seconds or less. Use the main camera or the front-facing camera, or switch between the two.
Of course, if you want to take your production up a notch, Manfrotto makes a handful of smartphone accessories to offer extra support. The Manfrotto TwistGrip (VIDEO) paired with the Compact Xtreme 2-in-1 Photo Monopod and Pole (VIDEO), PIXI Mini Tripod, or the Befree Live Tripod (with a special fluid video head) (VIDEO) all offer options to shoot video in a variety of situations.
Recording videos outside of the Instagram app is also an option. I like to use the camera app on my iPhone7, because I have access to advanced features like slo-mo and timelapse mode. Boomerang is another popular app which allows users to create short photo bursts that play forwards and backwards repeatedly—lots of fun to watch over and over.
Of course, many top Instagrammers create content using traditional cameras and professional workflows. It’s handy that many newer cameras allow creators to send files directly from the camera to the phone via wifi. At the same time, polished videos that have been edited on your computer can also be published on Instagram, just as long as the file is transferred to the phone first. It’s not possible upload to Instagram from your desktop. I usually share files between my computer and phone via AirDrop, Dropbox, or, the Photos app, which syncs my Mac to iCloud, and then downloads to my phone automatically.
No matter how you choose to record your videos, the Library tab in Instagram will allow you to publish your videos easily.
STEP TWO: RECORD YOUR STORY. Now that we’ve got the technical stuff sorted, let’s focus on the story.
FIND YOUR STORY
First things first, find something video-worthy to film! Be picky! Not everything deserves to be filmed. Choose moments that tell a story. Capture events that offer a unique insight, or find things that are interesting to watch. Focus on the action. Things that are moving are so much more interesting to watch than things that are still. People dancing, trains chugging along, and snow falling are fun things to watch because they involve movement. Things that are still, like statues, signs, or even beautiful plates of food, might make better photographs. Unless of course you are capturing a cool timelapse of the clouds passing behind a statue, or filming a chef putting food on a plate. These moments involve action, so film away!
So, what makes Instagram video different than other video?
Different than the standard HD video shot in a rectangular 16:9 aspect ratio, Instagram videos are square. So, shoot your videos with the end in mind, and focus on square framing. Capturing your video in the Instagram app only allows you to record square video, while movies shot outside of the app will require cropping later.
Currently, Instagram allows creators to post stories of up to 60 seconds, a far cry from the original 15 second limit. Still, that creates a unique challenge for storytellers who are used to platforms like YouTube and Facebook, which offer much longer video uploads. In 60 seconds, it’s possible to tell a complex story, or a very simple one. Up to you! Here are a few examples:
STEP FOUR: EDIT YOUR VIDEO
Now that my video has been captured, it’s time to make a few quick adjustments before posting.
FILTER: Give your story a special look or mood, and see how you video looks with a filter. There are 24 filters to give your story a unique style, and you can change the intensity of the effect as well.
TRIM: If you shoot your video outside of the Instagram app, you can trim your video to any length between 3 and 60 seconds. If you shoot your video within the Instagram app, you’ll skip this section.
COVER: Pick your favorite frame as the cover photo, so people can easily see what your video is about before they play it. This is an easy step to skip by accident—but it’s really important not to miss this!
SOUND: Turn the sound on or off by tapping the speaker icon at the top. One rule to keep in mind for any video recording—audio is just as important as the what you see on the screen. When a video has bad audio (ie. so loud it hurts your ears, or so quiet you can’t hear what someone is saying), people will turn the video off. They will stop watching! So pay attention to the audio, and decide if it’s important to include in your post before you move on to the next step.
STEP FIVE: ADD A CAPTION + SHARE
The final step to post a video to Instagram is adding a caption. It’s the same step as posting a photo to Instagram. Think of something clever and descriptive. Include relevant hashtags, add some emojis, and tag friends using the “@” symbol before typing their user name. Since Instagram doesn’t allow hyperlinks in the caption, drive traffic to your full length video on YouTube or point people to your website by stashing a link in your Instagram profile. Just mention “LINK IN PROFILE” in your caption.
Next, add your location. Finally, connect to Facebook, Twitter or other accounts to Instagram to share your video post with multiple platforms, all at once.
Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Go ahead and hit the SHARE button and let it rip! Encourage your followers to watch, LIKE and comment on your story, and give yourself a big pat on the back for bringing your stories to life through video.
If you found this article useful and want to see some more videos, look for me @TravelingJules on Instagram. Happy filming!