Whether it’s IGTV, Reels, Live, or right to your feed, here’s how you can upload your professionally-edited videos to Instagram.
It’s no secret that Instagram is one of if not the most wildly used social media platform in the world. It’s not hard to understand why either, there are several different ways to share and create content all through this one app. So, let’s talk about what is offered, and how you can use it yourself with what you have available to you.
How Long Can Instagram Videos Be?
The Instagram videos you post to your feed can be anywhere between three seconds and sixty 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 thirty 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, the platform downscales all videos to a width of 1080 pixels. It’s really up to you if you want to upload a video pre-sized 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.
Instagram Reels is the app’s latest and most popular feature. Think of it as their own version of TikTok. You can record, edit, and add effects to your video right within the app. It’s a fantastic inclusion to the already growing platform. At the moment, you can’t to upload a “reel” from your PC, so you’ll be limited to using this feature on your phone.
The idea is simple though. Record bite-size clips within the app, then add music, stickers, overlays, and titles to make whatever you want in thirty seconds.
Going live on Instagram is a simple, straight-forward process. By going to the “plus” sign at the bottom of your screen, just like normal uploading practices, you’ll find the option to go “Live.”
One of Instagram’s newer features allows other users or “friends” to join in on the live stream with you. You can use this for interviews or conversations for your followers to watch. You can also title the Live stream so your audience knows what they’re getting into before they tune in.
So can you go live on your computer? Yes! But first you will need to download two apps. The first is called Yellow Duck. Once you download this free software, it essentially produces a RTMP URL that you can enter into your encoding software, in this case, OBS. Also download OBS if you haven’t already. So really, this process is as simple as entering in your Instagram account into Yellow Duck, then taking that RTMP URL and copy and pasting into OBS. This will allow you to use your laptop or webcam to stream from your computer directly to Instagram!
IGTV is Instagrams long form content feature. This will be where you post an edited video that is longer than sixty seconds. So if you’re on your phone, you can upload straight to IGTV. However, if you’re working with a file on your desktop, here’s what you can expect to find within Instagram’s interface.
This is pretty standard. You can add a title, a description, as well as a cover image. As you’ll see in the requirements list I’ve included below, if you’re planning on uploading longer content, you’ll need to do it via desktop instead of on your phone.
Requirements for IGTV Upload
- Video must be at least one minute long
- The max length you’re able to upload on mobile is fifteen minutes
- The max length you’re able to upload on desktop is sixty minutes
- Videos must be in MP4 file format
- Vertical Videos should have an aspect ratio of 9:16
- Horizontal Videos should have an aspect ratio of 16:9
- Minimum resolution of 720p
- Minimum frame rate of 30fps
- The recommended size for cover photos is 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio).
Click here for Instagram’s detailed list of requirements.
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 fifteen second sections when played back by viewers, and there will be a slight pause between each section.
If you’re looking to upload stories from your PC, as of right now you’re only able to do so through third-party apps. These apps are both paid and free, and they are primarily for scheduling and managing your account. Be sure to look through their features to make sure they have everything you need before you give them your money.
Third-Party Upload & Scheduling Apps:
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 your 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 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 wary 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.
Top image by AngieYeoh.
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