Vertical video skeptics now have a reason to flip their editing timeline. Instagram’s new IGTV (Instagram TV) allows users to upload up to one hour of vertical video content. This is a direct move to compete with YouTube, which remains the world’s most popular long-form video creator platform.
Of course, users have become accustomed to vertical video through Instagram stories, Snapchat, and the ability to record vertically on phones for the past several years. But the idea of creating well-edited and polished vertical videos is new to many. In fact, many companies are now creating new devices for vertical video.
However, you don’t need to shoot with a smartphone to create vertical video. And if you are still shooting in a landscape format, you can certainly adapt it to fit in the vertical frame. There are many techniques.
Video Resolution and Frame Size
Just like Instagram stories, vertical videos take up the full screen when you hold the phone vertically. This means that videos should be in a vertical aspect ratio of 9:16, which is the opposite of the traditional landscape aspect ratio (16:9).
Recommended frame sizes:
→ 540 (w) x 960 (h) – This size is best for adapting HD 1920×1080 landscape footage
→ 1080 (w) x1920 (h) – This size is best for adapting 4k 3,840×2160 landscape footage
You can create custom video editing sequences to match these resolutions — watch this tutorial to learn how to create a vertical sequence in Premiere Pro.
IGTV Cropping and Title Safe
When you upload to IGTV, it crops the sides of your videos slightly. Because of that, it’s important to not place any important information on or near the edge of the video frame. Just like the concept of “title safe” for TV, try and place all titles near the center of the frame.
There are two duration guidelines for IGTV depending on the type of Instagram account you have:
→ If you are unverified and have a smaller Instagram account, your videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long.
→ If you are verified, you can upload videos up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.
Export Settings and File Size
According to Instagram’s video requirement guidelines, your final exported video must be in the MP4 file format, and the maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650MB. The maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB.
For Premiere Pro users, I recommend exporting your videos in H.264 format and choosing the “Match Source – High Bitrate.”
If you need to adjust the size of your final video, you can lower the target bitrate to 6 or 8 to achieve a lower file size.
Video Upload & Description
You can upload to IGTV from the mobile app or using the desktop version. Just go to instagram.com, log in into your account, go to the IGTV tab, and select “Upload.”
IGTV, unlike Instagram’s main feed, recognizes links, so you can add direct links to your website or other content in your video description.
IGTV Thumbnails: The “Cover Photo”
Just like on YouTube, you can create a custom thumbnail for your videos on IGTV, but they are called Cover Photos. At this time, you cannot edit your cover photo after you’ve uploaded it, so make sure you select the right photo!
→ Cover Photo Size: 420 x 654px
→ JPG format only
Here is an IGTV cover-photo title-safe area:
If you want to learn more about how to work with vertical video in Adobe Premiere Pro, you can watch my full tutorial on YouTube, and if you have any questions about editing for IGTV, ask away in the comments below!