For many users, Instagram is all about static image-sharing; uploading pictures from their various lives to share experiences or relevant thoughts to a flock of users. However, Instagram also allows you to cut and share video, which causes people to wonder just what the video length limit is on the popular social media service. If you’re a frequent Instagrammer, you’ve no doubt come upon videos by now, since the overall presence of video media has increased hugely over the past few months. Today, Appamatix is here to give you the details on Instagram video sharing, as well as offer some helpful advice that will allow you to cut better videos for your feed.
As soon as everyone started packing a smartphone in their pocket, the world gained approximately millions of amateur photographers and videographers that it didn’t have before. If you’re snapping shots all over the place, then make no mistake–you definitely qualify under that title and don’t let any snob with a thousand-dollar camera tell you otherwise. (Disclaimer: I am that snob with the thousand dollar camera, and I love that people are shooting video and photos left and right!) Whether you’re shooting as a hobby, or specifically for social media outlets–Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Snapchat–you are part of a phenomenon that has hugely changed the way that we interact with digital media.
Instagram is known for its focus on the visual, and even though it started out with static images and graphics, it shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us that the social media giant has moved on to supporting videos. More than the media that’s hosted on it, Instagram has always been about expression and experience, and as it’s become easier to shoot high-quality, shareable videos from our smartphones, there’s that much more of a compelling reason to bring those videos to our feeds. They can be edited in typical Instagram fashion, too, which is something that we’ll get into later in this guide.
Fortunately, you’re not trapped into only uploading videos that you’ve shot right this second, either. That’s the area of Snapchat and Vine, each app focusing on providing quick, abrupt videos that nevertheless are compelling because of how in the moment they feel. That’s all well and good, but it isn’t Instagram.
Recording Video in Instagram
First, let’s get the major question out of the way right now. The top-end limit for video length on Instagram is 60 seconds, and the bottom is 3 seconds. That means that you have between 3 and 60 seconds to tell the story that you want to tell in video format. No more, no less. All things considered, that’s actually a pretty hefty video length when you compare it to what users are restricted to on Snapchat and Vine.
The recording process itself is actually very easy, and it’s going to feel familiar if you regularly shoot photos while in Instagram (as opposed to importing them from your camera roll.) When you tap the camera button in Instagram, it activates your mobile device’s camera and shows you what’s going on through the viewfinder. However, if you look at the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice an icon that looks like a video camera. Tap that, and you’ll switch to video mode. The button that would normally be responsible for triggering your camera’s capture feature is now your recording button. To record, simply hold it down, and let up whenever it’s time to stop recording.
Out of the many social media apps that allow some form of video recording, I actually find Instagram’s to be one of the fastest and most intuitive. With that one button, you can stop and start your video recording at will, without having to wait a hefty amount of time for the video to save or be posted to your feed. If you want to capture a scene in bursts rather than in an entire, continuous shot, this style of doing so is especially ideal.
After recording your video, you can either save it, edit it and/or post it to your Instagram feed. Don’t be too hasty, though! We have some extra tips that will show you how to truly liberate your Instagram video experience, so you can make some truly expressive stuff.
Recording on your Smartphone
In addition to the video recording functions within Instagram itself, your smartphone most certainly has the ability to shoot video from a native (or downloaded) camera app. Rest assured that you can definitely use this to shoot video and edit it in creative ways before ever bringing it to Instagram. As ever, the app gives you a huge amount of freedom in what you choose to post, whereas some of its competitors do not (I’m looking at you, Snapchat.)
As long as a video is on your mobile device’s library or camera roll, you can absolutely share it on Instagram (as long as it’s 3 to 60 seconds in length!) From the main Instagram screen, where you have the available options for posting and uploading content, simply tap Library to peek into what’s currently available on your device and import it to Instagram. Yep! It’s that simple. No workarounds or “hacks” necessary.
Importing Video from your PC
However, I’m sure that you’ll occasionally want to upload a video that’s stuck on your computer, rather than your smartphone. A dilemma, right? What’s a person to do?
Fortunately, we’re not going to send you off to chase your tail through online video uploaders or emulators. Instead, I’m going to make a few recommendations that will hugely liberate your ability to move media between your smartphone (or tablet) and your computer. I usually don’t like to push people too quickly towards third-party application, so for this little nugget of advice, I’ll be half-and-half; part proprietary, party third-party.
If you need a service to transfer videos (or anything else) between your devices, then I highly recommend signing up for a free service such as Dropbox. It supports instant syncing across multiple devices (including your smartphone and tablet), and is also free! Additionally, if you’d rather use something that’s in line with the operating system that your mobile device is running on, you can use Google Photos or iCloud in order to upload videos to the cloud, and then pull them down onto our mobile device. All have free entry-level options, none of them require extra cables, and they’re all ridiculously easy to use.
As soon as you have the videos that you want to use safely in your mobile device’s library, just import them into Instagram and you are golden!
Tips for Better Instagram Videos
In the same way that there’s a lot you can do to spruce up your images before sharing them on Instagram, so too can you edit videos to make them more appealing, stylistic, and digestible on social media. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to cost you anything, either, and there’s a good chance that your smartphone already has software in place that will let you cut and sequence your videos however you’d like to.
On iOS enabled devices, you already have iMovie at your disposal. From my experience, this is one of the best tools that you can use to edit video while you’re on the go, and stuff shot with Instagram is no exception to that rule. Want to cut your video apart, shorten it, rearrange it, or add music? Then iMovie is your girl Friday.
If you’re on an Android device, an app like WeVideo (or a similar third-party offering; there are many available) can help you to achieve the same effects, though it won’t be as streamlined as you’ll achieve with Apple’s proprietary software.
Of course, you don’t have to go running off towards the nearest video editor, chopping up each and everything you shoot in the hopes of making a masterpiece. You can do quite a few things within Instagram itself that will add a bit of substance to your creation. Try adjusting the exposure of your shot by tapping on different parts of the screen before you start shooting. It works just as if you were shooting photos!
Additionally, Instagram’s extended video update came with 15 brand spankin’ new filters that you can apply to your video creations. Even though a handful of them are glaringly obvious, pseudo-artsy filters that Instagram has a bit of a reputation for, others are actually quite good! Your mileage may vary, based on the video content that you’re sharing.
As Instagram continues to evolve and update, going into the future, look forward to the eventual changes and upgrades to the way that the social media giant allows you to use video. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, we can look forward to seeing this particular part of the platform develop over time. Instagram videos already have a fairly forgiving length limit, so if you’re a regular Instagrammer, give it a shot (no pun intended) and upload some video to your feed! If you have any remaining questions about Instagram videos or ways to get video onto your mobile device, let us know in the comments!