It happens to the best of us. You put all that effort into editing a stunning video, but when you upload it on social media, the results are really disappointing. 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 have a good idea on the right framing and duration, among many other things.
Table of Contents
- First things first: the correct sizes
- The second thought: edit the sequence
- Last but not least: from the computer to the uncompressed smartphone
- One more thing
First things first: the correct sizes
On Instagram there are several ways to publish your content: stories, posts, IGTV, and reels. In each instance, you can upload your video in high quality. To achieve this, you simply have to create a project for editing — in Final Cut, Premiere, or any video editing program that you use regularly — with the correct size for each case. These are the main Instagram formats:
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 have to adapt to the formats in order to create a pleasant viewing experience.
If you’re going to force viewers to turn their smartphone to the side, you better have a good reason. If you don’t, then NEXT! Get with the program.
For normal posts there are two versions and the maximum duration in both cases is one minute. The best sizes for Instagram post videos are:
- Post 1: the traditional square format with a 1:1 ratio, we’ll do it in 1080×1080.
- Post 2: 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 simply click on the button that allows you to keep the proportions, or edit directly in square format. If you do the above, be sure to 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 personally 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).
The best sizes IGTV videos are:
- Vertical IGTV: 1080×1920 (same as stories)
- Horizontal IGTV: 1920×1080
IGTVs are ideal when you want to share content that is longer than one minute. If you want to make a short documentary, upload your band’s music video, or post a makeup tutorial, this is the format for you. This is usually content that is produced with some kind of educational value.
Here it’s really important to always 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 also use slugs, or black bars at the top.
The best size for Reels videos is 1080x1920px.
You might have heard that Instagram created this format to reconquer the market niche that TikTok had taken from it. It’s short content that’s 3 to 30 seconds in length with a general focus on humor and repetition.
The tool was mainly developed to create content within the application, but you can also make the videos, edit them on your computer, and upload them from the reel.
The second thought: edit the sequence
Once you know the formats, the rest should be child’s play. You simply have to create a project in your editing program with the correct dimensions, adjust the video’s framing to keep the most attractive or interesting content in 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.
Both Premiere Pro and Final Cut have incorporated a new feature in their latest updates that automates this procedure, saving you many hours of work.
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, 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 a quick check to make sure it’s correct.
The same goes for Premiere. Instead of creating a new sequence and adjusting it manually, you just 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.
Last but not least: from the computer to the uncompressed smartphone
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.
What I do NOT recommend is 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 that you like for the post and that’s it!
One more thing
The Instagram app 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.
In order to do this, go to the settings menu, then to account, data usage and there activate the option of High-quality uploads. It may take a little longer to upload your videos, but it will be worth it.
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.