Heard the buzz about Instagram TV?
If so, you may have a few questions about the new 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 is Instagram TV (IGTV)?
If you’re a regular user of Instagram, you may have noticed a little difference in its appearance lately.
That change is the addition of the little TV icon next to the direct messages arrow in the top right of the screen.
That little icon is the gateway to Instagram’s latest feature: Instagram TV (IGTV).
IGTV represents the platform’s new foray into long-form video. While in the past you could post videos to Instagram, they were limited to 15 seconds.
Now, users can upload up to 10 minutes (and one hour for select accounts!)
The new feature also comes with its very own app, available on both Android and iOS. Of course, you can also access the feature through the usual Instagram app.
Once you open the app (or navigate to it in the Instagram app), you’ll be presented with a format you’re likely used to if you’ve used or watched Instagram Stories.
You’ll see a carousel of videos from those you follow, and when clicked on will start playing on a loop. You can swipe to the left if you wish to skip any video and move on to the next.
You can search for videos, see popular videos, and continue watching videos you hadn’t finished previously.
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 IGTV 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.
Getting Started With Videos For IGTV
To upload a video to IGTV, you’ll need to create an IGTV 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.
If that’s not your usual jam, don’t worry. I’m about to go over a few ways you can easily resize your existing videos to fit the new IGTV specs.
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 for IGTV:
- 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 IGTV is so new, there aren’t many tools that designed support the format.
But, because the dimensions and vertical layout is similar to Instagram Stories, we can assume that many of the same tools apply.
Use Software Like FinalCut Pro X to Resize for IGTV
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 (for example, IGTV) 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 IGTV 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.
Click Save, and you’re done.
The cool thing about this software? You can crop your videos for free.
Just download the free version here, and you’re good to go.
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.
Make sure MP4 is selected, and then click Settings. Select Resolution, and Click custom. Then, enter in 1080×1920.
Movavi for IGTV
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.
But for quick video converting, it’s one of the best of the bunch.
Resize a YouTube Video for IGTV Using Kapwing
To many marketers’ relief, Kapwing keeps things simple.
It’s not a downloadable software or 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.
Keep in mind, Kapwing only accepts videos under eight minutes long. So if you’re trying to use the full ten IGTV allows, you’ll have to use one of the other softwares on the list.
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.
If the video was shot on your phone, you won’t need to any further editing. Simply upload from your computer straight to the desktop version of IGTV.
The Best Way to Produce IGTV? Film it 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.