Learn how to upload your professionally-edited videos to Instagram from a desktop computer and mobile device with this simple tutorial.
By now you have probably seen a lot of cinematic videos on your Instagram feed. The majority of these, of course, weren’t shot and edited on a mobile phone. (What gave it away? The drone shots?) In this tutorial, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about uploading videos to Instagram. We’ll cover Instagram video specifications, as well as different methods you can use to upload them to your profile.
How Long Can Instagram Videos Be?
The Instagram videos you post to your feed can be anywhere between 3 seconds and 60 seconds in length. Instagram doesn’t have an official file size limit, but we recommend you keep video file sizes between 50MB to 150MB. The preferred video format is MP4. (H.264 Codec & AAC audio) The maximum frame rate supported is 30 frames per second.
The video bitrate is up to you, again as long as the entire video comes in around 50MB to 150MB. Note that Instagram will likely reduce the video bitrate to around 3.5Mbps once you post the video. My bitrate recommendations for uploading videos to Instagram would be Constant Bitrate Encoding (CBR) at 10Mbps. Uploading at that bitrate should help reduce visible compression from Instagram.
Instagram Video Resolution and Quality
Instagram also doesn’t have an official resolution limit for videos; however, all videos will be downscaled to a width of 1080 pixels. It’s really up to you if you want to upload a video presized at 1080 pixels wide, or upload one that is larger, like 1920 pixels or even 4K. (Some Instagram users swear by uploading 4K videos to get better quality with compression, so you may want to test that out with your own videos to compare the results.)
You can also upload in a variety of different aspect ratios, such as:
- 1:1 Square aspect ratio – standard square format on the Instagram feed
- 1.91:1 Landscape aspect ratio – similar to 16:9 widescreen format
- 4:5 Portrait aspect ratio – a slightly taller format than the standard square
Many content creators prefer the 4:5 Portrait aspect ratio (864 pixel width by 1080 pixel height) because it takes up the most onscreen real estate on the Instagram feed. The larger view also helps the perceived quality of the video.
A couple of quick side notes if you’re uploading edited videos to Instagram Stories:
The Instagram Stories aspect ratio is 9:16 (1080 pixel width by 1920 pixel height). Videos uploaded to Instagram Stories will automatically break into 15 second sections when played back by viewers, and there will be a slight pause between each 15 second section.
How to Upload a Video to Instagram from the App
In order to upload an edited video through the Instagram app, you will first need to transfer the video onto your mobile device. The Dropbox app is the easiest free method available for both PC and Mac users. Alternatively, Mac users can also use the AirDrop feature to transfer files between iOS devices.
First, create a free Dropbox account (if you don’t already have one), then upload your edited video to your online Dropbox folder. You can do this by uploading the file directly to the website or by installing the Dropbox desktop app on your computer. The desktop app is simply a file folder that automatically uploads all content added to the Dropbox platform. Simply drag-and-drop the video file to start transferring. Dropbox will notify you when you file has uploaded (synced) and you should see a small green check mark on the file.
Next, you’ll need to install the Dropbox app on your mobile device. Open the Dropbox app and navigate to the edited video file. Click the three vertical dots to the right of the file name. This will open up the options menu.
Scroll down the options and select “Export.”
You will then be asked where to export the file. Select “Save to device.” Afterwards you might have the option to rename the file. From there the video file should save to the camera gallery or camera roll on your mobile device.
You can now post the video to Instagram, just as you would any other photo or video from your phone. Launch Instagram, and select the add photo icon. You should see your video in the gallery. If you don’t see your video in the gallery, check one of the other folders such as: Video, Instagram, Camera, or Downloaded.
Depending on the aspect ratio of your video, select the crop button to ensure your video is being displayed correctly before posting.
How to Upload a Video to Instagram from a Desktop Computer
While you can browse your feed and watch Stories on a PC, Instagram works as a mobile-only app. That means you can’t upload photos or videos directly to the app on a PC. In order to upload a video directly from your computer to Instagram, you will need a third-party application.
There are a variety of paid applications, but the most popular free application is called Gramblr. Gramblr works on both PC and Mac. You will need to download the Gramblr app from their homepage and then create an account, which will require linking to your Instagram account. From there you will see onscreen instructions for how to post content, which is essentially drag-and-drop.
This method of posting is more of a last resort, if you don’t have access to a mobile device of any kind. A third-party app gives you less control over the process, and many of you might be weary of linking your social accounts to third-party apps.
These workflow tips will have you publishing professionally edited video content to your Instagram feed in no time.
Want to learn more about video production? Check out these articles: