The Ultimate Guide to Uploading High-Quality Videos on Instagram

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It happens to the best of us. You put all that effort into editing a stunning video, but the results are disappointing when you upload it on social media. The video has lost quality, the image is cropped in unexpected places, and the end of the story is no longer there. A total fail.

It’s super stressful, for sure. But don’t worry — you’re not alone.

In this post, I’ll show you how to upload videos on Instagram in the highest quality by following these simple steps. Different formats, stories, posts, IGTV, or reels, no matter — we’ve got it covered.

Ready? Let’s go!

First and foremost, keep these two questions in mind when you’re out recording: What story do I want to tell? Where am I going to show it? If you follow these two maxims before starting a shoot, you’ll already know the proper framing and duration, among many other things.

The correct sizes

On Instagram, there are several ways to publish your content: Stories, Posts, Instagram videos, and Reels. In each instance, you can upload your video in high quality. To achieve this, you must create a project for editing — in Final Cut, Premiere, or any video editing program that you regularly use — with the correct size for each case. These are the main Instagram formats:

Instagram Stories

For Instagram Stories best video size is 1080x1920px.

Instagram stories have a duration of 15 seconds, and everything you’re going to do must be in 1080 x 1920 format. Many purists insist on putting 1920×1080 content in stories, but that’s very pretentious. As creators, we must adapt to the formats to create a pleasant viewing experience.

You better have a good reason if you’re forcing viewers to turn their smartphones to the side. If you don’t, then NEXT! Get with the program.

Instagram Post (Feed)

For regular posts, there are two versions, and the maximum duration in both cases is one minute. The best sizes for Instagram post videos are:

  • Square: the traditional square format with a 1:1 ratio, we’ll do it in 1080×1080.
  • Vertical: the vertical format that takes up the entire Instagram screen, its ratio is 4:5, and we’ll do it in 1080×1350.

Within this format, you can either put your video in 1920×1080 and click on the button that allows you to keep the proportions or edit directly in square format. If you do the above, choose the frame for your thumbnail wisely because the image will have a square crop. If you make a bad choice, it’ll end up looking ugly.

In addition to the traditional square format, we have the portrait option, which I like a lot because the information in your photo fills the entire screen, and you don’t have to compete for people’s attention in the feed (#win).

Instagram Video (IGTV)

Infographic: Instagram formats for video, reel, and stories

The best sizes of Instagram videos are:

  • Vertical Video: 1080×1920 (same as stories)
  • Horizontal Video: 1920×1080

IGTVs are ideal when you want to share longer than one-minute content. This is the format for you if you want to make a short documentary, upload your band’s music video, or post a makeup tutorial. This is usually content that is produced with some educational value.

Here it’s essential always to try to adapt to the format. Elongated is the way to go, I insist. If you don’t want to shoot vertically because it doesn’t work for your story, you can use slugs or black bars at the top.

Instagram Reels

The best size for Reels videos is 1080x1920px.

It’s short content, 3 to 30 seconds long, with a general focus on humor and repetition.

The tool was mainly developed to create content within the application, but you can also make videos, edit them on your computer, and upload them from the reel.

Instagram Video Specs

Here are all the video sizes and ratios you can upload to Instagram:

Video Orientation
Vertical9:161080×1920Instagram Video, Story, and Reel
Square1:11080×1080Post (Feed)
Post-Vertical4:51080×1350Post (Feed)
Horizontal16:91920×1080Instagram Video

Video Guidelines

  • The minimum resolution for all formats is 1080 x 1080
  • Recommended horizontal pixel resolution is 1920
  • Multiple aspect ratios are supported: The landscape aspect ratio is 16:9, the square aspect ratio is 1:1, and the vertical aspect ratio is 4:5. (Calculate aspect ratio from width and height on my online aspect ratio calculator)
  • Max file size for all formats is 4GB.
  • Recommended video formats are .MP4 and .MOV.
  • The video length is 3 to 60 seconds.
  • Recommended frame rate is 23 to 60 FPS.
  • Recommended data rate/bitrate for posting through Sprout: 5 Mbps (Megabytes per second)

Character Limits

  • Primary text recommendation: 125 characters.
  • Maximum number of hashtags: 30

Edit the sequence

Once you know the formats, the rest should be child’s play. You have to create a project in your editing program with the correct dimensions, adjust the video’s framing to keep the most attractive or exciting content in the shot, and export in high quality, usually with the H.264 video codec.

In my video How to Upload Videos on Instagram in the Highest Quality (Stories, Posts, and IGTV), you can follow the step-by-step guide for making the sequence and adjusting the sizes in Final Cut.

Premiere Pro and Final Cut have incorporated a new feature in their latest updates that automate this procedure, saving you many work hours.

In the latest version of Final Cut, it’s as simple as right-clicking on the sequence, selecting “Duplicate Project As,” renaming the project, selecting either vertical or square, and choosing the correct resolution. For example, the vertical needs to be 1080×1920, as we mentioned earlier. Voilà, the program has taken care of everything in just a few seconds, so all you have to do is a quick check to ensure it’s correct.

The same goes for Premiere. Instead of creating a new sequence and adjusting it manually, you have to right-click, click on “Auto Frame,” choose the aspect ratio (1:1, 4:5, 9:16, 16:9), and the program will adapt your video just as you want it.

Transferring HD Video To Your Phone Without Losing Quality

Once exported, you have to send your video to your phone. If you have a Mac and iPhone, I recommend using AirDrop because it won’t compress the files. If you have other devices, you can use Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, and even WeTransfer, which allows you to send up to 2GB of content for free.

Once exported, you have to send your video to your phone. If you have a Mac and iPhone, I recommend using AirDrop because it won’t compress the files. If you have other devices, you can use Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, and even WeTransfer, which allows you to send up to 2GB of content for free.

I do NOT recommend using WhatsApp or Facebook because they compress the file, and you’ll be back to square one: a horrible-looking video! Don’t be that person.

If you follow these recommendations, the resolution of the video will be maintained. You can then admire how great it looks on your Instagram. Remember to choose a thumbnail you like for the post, and that’s it!

Upload HQ Videos using iPhone and Android App

The Instagram app on your iPhone or Android smartphone device is set to save data when uploading videos; for that reason, Instagram lowers the quality. The way to avoid this is by activating the high-quality upload option.

To do this, go to the settings menu, then to account, data usage, and activate the option of High-quality uploads. It may take a little longer to upload your videos, but it will be worth it.

Instagram settings high quality video

It’s pretty simple, right? The trick is to use the correct sizes, quality, and duration to get the right results. So now you know how to post awesome videos on Instagram.

Upload Videos To INSTAGRAM without losing QUALITY in 2022