Heard the buzz about Instagram TV?
If so, you may have a few questions about the vertical-only format.
In this article, I’ll take you through a rundown of what Instagram TV is and how you can format your videos to fit it.
What We’ll Cover:
- Major differences between IGTV and other video platforms
- Getting started
- Video specs
- How to reformat your videos:
- Filming videos specifically for IGTV
Instagram TV (IGTV) may not be new anymore, but it’s still an incredibly under-used feature in the Instagram family.
Let’s face it, video has exploded, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
It makes sense, then, to begin incorporating IGTV — Instagram’s answer to YouTube — into your social strategy.
But one of the bigger barriers for many brands may be in something as simple as its formatting. See, unlike traditional video platforms like YouTube, Instagram TV uses a vertical format. This makes it difficult to use videos you shoot in a cross-channel strategy.
Good news: there are ways to reformat your existing videos for Instagram TV.
How is IGTV Different Than Stories and Other Video Platforms?
The biggest difference between Instagram TV and Stories is the time limit.
As we covered before, Stories allow only 15 seconds, while IGTV allows up to 10 minutes.
Because of that pretty significant time difference, the way the two are used will differ as well, especially for brands.
While Stories are great for content you want to get out very quickly, IGTV will prove very useful for things like product videos, how-to videos, Q&A sessions, etc.
It will also give influencers a more suitable place for product recommendations and reviews, which could make the already thriving influencer marketing strategies even more appealing to brands.
As far as what it means for platforms like YouTube, it’s a bit soon to tell. Obviously, for most users, IGTV will provide a more restrictive time limit than other video platforms.
Another aspect that may change the game is a bit is the vertical format of IGTV videos. Because they’re shot vertically (usually from a phone camera), the videos are extremely easy to upload and share, and don’t require much equipment to put together.
Because it doesn’t require the forethought and editing process most put into YouTube videos, we could see a rise in quick, on-the-go videos from brands. In turn, the more conversational focus could lead to better engagement from fans.
Before getting started, keep these best practices in mind:
- Don’t assume people will switch orientation just for you. Remember, IGTV is still designed for vertical video. Make sure you cut your videos accordingly. If you produce videos in landscape orientation and expect people to turn their mobile phones sideways just so they can watch them, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Folks will bail before they’ll do that.
- Keep it short. People are busy. They often don’t have time to watch entire productions of well-written novels that are trying to sell them something. That’s why you should keep your videos short and sweet. Begin with something that captures their attention so they watch the rest of the video. Then, bring the video to a conclusion as soon as you’ve made your point.
To upload a video to IGTV, you’ll need to create a channel. You can do this one of three ways: through the Instagram app, the IGTV app, or the Instagram website.
Once set up (easily done through Instagram’s prompting) you can upload videos either from the app or the website.
So, you probably didn’t miss the part where I mentioned IGTV videos are all vertically-formatted, right?
While that’s cool for mobile shots and uploads, it may leave you wondering if it’s possible to use other, traditionally shot videos for the new TV feature.
The answer is yes, it is. But it will require some reformatting.
IGTV Video Specs
Before we get into the actual process of converting your video, here are the specs you need to keep in mind when uploading or editing a video:
- IGTV settings run at 1080×1350 (whereas a horizontal video will run closer to 1920×1080).
- Video Length:
- Small accounts: 15 seconds – 10 minutes
- Large accounts: 15 seconds – 60 minutes
- Format: MP4
- Aspect ratio:
- Minimum: 4:5
- Maximum: 9:16
- File size:
- Max for videos less than 10 minutes: 650MB
- Max for videos up to 60 minutes: 5.4GB
Now, onto the tools that will let you transform your video to IGTV-ready. Keep in mind, because it’s still relatively new, there aren’t many tools that designed support the format.
How to Reformat Your Videos:
FinalCut Pro X is an extremely popular editing tool that will let you easily resize your video.
To get started, launch FinalCut Pro and create an Event to hold all your IGTV videos. To do so, navigate to File>New>Event. Enter the name you’d like and click save.
Then, you’ll import your video by going to File>Import>Media. In the Devices section on the left side of the Media Import window, select your computer or the connected external storage device from which you want to import media. Use list view at the bottom of the window to navigate to a file or folder and select it.
Next, select “Add to Existing Event” and choose the IGTV event from the pop-up window.
Once you’ve uploaded your video and are in your timeline view, you can convert the video to the correct specs.
To do so, go to Window>Project Properties (or Command J on the keyboard). On the right side of the screen, your video specs will appear. Click “Modify.”
This will cause a pop-up to appear where you can edit your video properties.
You want to work in the Video row, third from the top. There, you’ll see the video format, resolution, and rate.
Click Format and select Custom from the dropdown. Then, edit the resolution to 1080×1920. The rate will stay the same. Click Ok.
Now, you’ll probably see a smaller video surrounded by black on the top and bottom.
Lots of black, little video. You can use it as is, or edit it by clicking on the Transform tool (second icon from the left in the bottom left corner).
Select Crop from the dropdown, and select Crop again when it appears overlayed on the video. Then move the box to the portion of the video you want displayed in the middle of the frame.
Click Done, and your video will look like this:
If the video’s to your liking, you’re ready to export. To do so, click the export button located at the top right of the screen and select Master File. Name your video and go to settings. Under the format dropdown, select Computer to export it as an MP4.
The cool thing about this software? You can crop your videos for free.
The downside? It comes with a watermark that will cover your video. To avoid any branding confusion, it’s best to go with the paid version.
The process is similar to what you’ll find in FinalCut Pro. First, upload your video by clicking Import>Import Media Files. Select your video.
Select the crop tool and drag the box around the area of the video you would like to focus on. Then, click Export.
Since our purposes are solely for Instagram TV, it might be handy to have a tool created solely for the purpose of converting and resizing, without all the added editing option.
Good news: Movavi is that tool.
This one’s another free download with a one-click setup. Once installed, simply add your video to the program, select the desired output (MP4).
Then, click the cogwheel button next to the Output format field. Here, you can specify the resolution you would like your video to be (1080×1920), and start the conversion.
Keep in mind, it’s a far less robust tool, and if you do plan on editing your video it might be best to use one of the other tools listed above.
To many marketers’ relief, Kapwing keeps things simple.
It’s not a downloadable software or an all-encompassing editor. Instead, it’s a website that automatically resizes videos for you.
Just navigate to Kapwing.com. On the homepage, you’ll be able to copy and paste the URL of a video. Because it works with URLs, it’s especially useful for repurposing YouTube videos for IGTV.
Once you paste the URL, the video will appear on a new screen with the option to resize it to fit various social channels. One of those options is to resize it for Story (Snap/Insta) or IGTV. That’s the one you want to select.
Your video will appear vertically, with black above and below. You do have the option to crop the video, but you won’t be able to crop to your choosing. It will be automatically done for you – which may not produce the results you want, or focus on the right part of the video.
But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to convert a video from YouTube fast, Kapwing’s the way to do it.
Kapwing’s tools are free to use, requiring only a login. Keep in mind, if you don’t sign in before using the software your videos will come with a watermark. You can remove the watermark for free after signing in.
5. Convert Facebook Videos to MP4
Here’s a likely scenario: say you hosted a great Facebook Live video on the platform. It had high viewership and great engagement, and it’s only natural that you’d want to capitalize on it as much as possible.
It’s perfect for repurposing on IGTV, especially given the fact that many Facebook Live videos are shot right from mobile devices, eliminating the need to resize it for IGTV.
And using Facebook Live, you can download videos right to your computer.
First, log into your Facebook page and click on Publishing Tools. In the left hand column, click on Videos and find the Live video you would like to download.
You’ll see a Post Details pop-up appear; find the Edit Post button and click on it. Above the top right of your image, a gear icon will appear. Click it, and then click the Download HD button.
6. The Best Way to Produce IGTV Videos? Film Them Yourself
While many of the tools above will produce great videos, you can’t beat something tailor-made.
IGTV’s vertical format will likely be a big asset for the platform. After all, it’s how most people view content on their phone, making it more natural and easy for them to view and content on the go (and more likely they’ll actually watch it).
But it doesn’t come without its drawbacks, the biggest being that it will be harder to convert older videos to the platform.
And really, that’s okay. Instagram is a different platform, and its content should be different as well.
Here are a few tips for your IGTV videos:
- Keep framing in mind. That means when possible, film your video vertically (even if you aren’t using your phone). If you don’t, you’ll have to go through the process of cropping the video
- Pan your video length carefully. While the time limit allows up to 10 minutes (and in some cases, an hour), that doesn’t mean you have to use it. As a rule of thumb, videos between 2-3 minutes tend to get the most engagement
Instagram TV is still in its early stages. And while it represents some exciting opportunities for brands, it’s too soon to tell what its effect will be on the marketing world overall.
Either way, it’s something worth exploring, and using the software and tips above you can make any videos ready for IGTV.