Instagram video was first introduced back in June 2013. And if you’re an OG, you’ll know that it’s come a whole long way since then. For starters, you could only film through the app. There was no uploading pre-existing footage and videos were capped at a mere 15 seconds. 

Today, there are five formats for video: in-feed, IGTV, Reels, Stories, and Live. Within this guide, we’ll be looking at each of these in-depth. And it’s not just the fun features we shine a light on, but the techy bits too — read on.

DIY VS PROFESSIONAL

First things first, you’ll need to decide whether you’re keeping content creation in-house or if you’ll be bringing in the professionals. And the decision you make usually depends on the type of content and where it’ll be uploaded.

Creating for Reels, Stories or Live? These don’t need to be perfectly polished, so we’d recommend getting hands on. Whereas for in-feed video and IGTV, you should consider outsourcing to a video production company for a more visually striking result.

IN-FEED VIDEO

The Instagram OG. We’re all familiar with the videos, Boomerangs, and GIFs that feature on both your feed and profile. But what sort of content actually deserves the mainstage spot? 

The answer: anything that’s on-brand, visually creative, and looks professional. Brands are already uploading teaser trailers, product launches, and films that show off their HQ and facilities. So if you want to stand out — take a risk and post something different. 

Hit up a creative video agency to produce visually mesmerising content that cuts through the noise. Something that’s impossible to be replicated by any old Joe. And if you have to keep it in-house, jazz up your videos by experimenting with apps such as InShot and Filto. Just make sure to grab attention within the first 3-5 seconds.

INSTAGRAM FOR IPHONE

TECH SPEC

Length: 3 to 60 seconds
Orientation: Square, portrait or landscape
Aspect ratio: Minimum of 1.91:1 (1080 x 608px) and maximum of 4:5 (1080 x 1350px)
File size: There’s no limit, but we recommend sticking below 50MB

IGTV

60 second vids not quite cutting it? Then this one’s for you. IGTV’s are much more substantial and give you the chance to offer your viewers a greater insight into your business. Imagine the platform as a TV series for your brand, filled with ‘a day in the life’, ‘meet the team’, and Q&As. 

Since these have a permanent home on your profile, we’d recommend investing in professional video production. Not only will your visuals look slick, but the quality will be on another level. However, if you do decide on DIYing it, invest in a ring light with attached tripod. It’ll be a gamechanger.

Looking to the future, we expect to see many more mini-documentary series and podcasts migrating over to IGTV.

TECH SPEC

Length: 60 seconds to 60 minutes
Orientation: Portrait or landscape
Aspect ratio: 9:16 (1080 x 1920px) or 16:9 (1920 x 1080x)
File size: 3.6GB maximum

REELS

TikTok 2.0? We reckon so. Reels are Instagram’s latest video feature, where creators share short clips using a whole host of effects, filters, and sounds.

You’ve probably seen a bunch of businesses using the feature, with trends such as what people think you do vs what you actually do, before and after of work you’ve produced for clients, and a day in the life of your job role. 

One of the perks of Reels is that your videos don’t need to be super polished; save your more professional content for in-feed or IGTV. They’re designed to be short, fun, and snappy, so don’t take yourself too seriously when creating content. Instead, show off the personality behind your brand, hop on trends, and take part in challenges.

Reels are still yet to really take off. In the near future, we expect to see a 60 second video limit (rather than the current 30), along with new and improved editing tools that match up to their competitors’.

TECH SPEC

Length: 15 to 30 seconds
Orientation: Portrait
Aspect ratio: 9:16 (1080 x 1920px)

STORIES

Stories are more of a day-to-day insight into behind the scenes of your business. Individual takeovers, brand collaborations, Q&As, and product showcases all have a place here. It’s also worth making use of the interactive elements, such as questions, polls, and quizzes, to boost engagement and interaction.

Just like Reels, your content doesn’t need to look completely clean. Since Stories don’t have a permanent place on your profile (unless added to your highlights), you can forget about the aesthetic pressures of the feed. Although, if you did want to spice them up a little, we’d recommend using Unfold — an app with over 200 templates.

UNFOLD FOR INSTAGRAM

TECH SPEC

Length: 1 to 15 seconds
Orientation: Portrait only for recording in the moment. Square, portrait or landscape for pre recorded content.
Aspect ratio: Minimum of 1.01:1 (1080 x 608px) and maximum of 9:16 (1080 x 1920px)

LIVE

As it says on the tin, Live is Instagram’s in-app video streaming platform where up to four personal, creator, and business accounts can jump on together. Topic talks, Q&As, virtual events, you name it. They’re all happening here. 

Once you have the camera rolling, you can share images and videos from your camera roll with your viewers. Or if you’re an e-commerce biz, you can tag relevant products shown within the video and they’ll appear at the bottom of the screen. After the live’s ended, you’ll be given the option to save it to IGTV, giving the people who missed out a chance to watch.

The future? With the recent rise in popularity of social network newcomer, Clubhouse, we expect Instagram to take Live Rooms to the next level. Perhaps they’ll increase the number of users that can go live together, or maybe even create an audio only option.

TECH SPEC

Length: Up to four hours
Orientation: Portrait
Aspect ratio: 9:16 (1080 x 1920px)

Ready to get tech savvy with Instagram video? Shoot us a message if you need a hand.