The whole truth about Instagram videos

The article has been updated. First published: July 13, 2016

The evangelist of the SMMplanner.com service, Borisov Pavel, spent a week in an embrace with a video editor, and figured out how best to save a video so that it could be published on Instagram from a computer.

SMMplanner was one of the first deferred posting services to post videos to Instagram. Our users asked very much to increase the video size and we did it in May 2020 – now you can upload videos up to 125 MB. By the way, SMMplanner now has a cool built-in video editor for Stories, where you can also upload videos – do not forget to read about all our updates in the blog.

The plans are to continue and further expand the video space.

Specifications

Before reading the article, you need to familiarize yourself with the terminology:

  • Codec is the method by which your video file will be compressed.
  • Bitrate is the number of bits that are stored in 1 second of the media file.
  • Frame frequency – the number of frames per second. We are already moving away from the usual 24 frames per second to 30 or 60 frames per second.
  • Resolution – the number of pixels in the height and width of the video.
Instagram video sizes
Characteristic For horizontal videos in the feed For square videos in tape For videos in the Stories section
resolution not less than 600 × 315 px not less than 600 × 315 px from 600 × 1067 to 1080 × 1920 px
recommended aspect ratio 1.9: 1 1: 1 9:16
“the weight” no more than 4 GB
duration no more than 1 min no more than 15 seconds (it is possible to download longer videos, which the system will automatically divide into parts of 15 seconds each

Let’s take a look at the requirements for uploading videos to a relatively recent section of Instagram – IGTV:

Video length: at least 1 minute. Maximum duration:

  • 15 minutes for videos downloaded from a mobile device.
  • 60 minutes for videos downloaded from a computer.

Videos must be in MP4 format.

  • The aspect ratio for vertical videos is 9:16 and for horizontal videos it is 16: 9.
  • The minimum frame rate is 30 frames / s. The minimum resolution is 720 pixels.
  • The maximum video size for videos shorter than 10 minutes is 650 MB. The maximum size for videos shorter than 60 minutes is 3.6 GB.

Video codecs:

  • Progressive scan (no interleaving).
  • High profile.
  • 2 consecutive B-frames.
  • Closed group of frames (GOP) structure. GOP at half frame rate.
  • CABAC coding.
  • Color subsampling: 4: 2: 0.

Audio codecs:

  • Channels: stereo or stereo + 5.1.
  • Sampling rate: 96 kHz or 48 kHz.

IG-TV video cover photo file format – PNG or JPG

In SMMplanner, you can easily publish a video to the IG-TV section, for this you need to check the corresponding menu item.

Our Instagram video experiment: exploring the specs

Let’s try to download a video from Instagram itself and see what quality it will be. We did so and at the same time recorded a video: https://goo.gl/CIEWmi

From the video we see the following numbers:

Resolution: 640×360 and 640×420
YouTube recommends using a bitrate of 750 Kbps at 360p, which does not coincide with our bitrate.

Video bitrate: ~ 600 Kbps
600 kbps is roughly what YouTube uses between 240p and 360p videos using the H.264 codec.

Audio – 65 Kbps
The 65 kbps audio intrigued me. You are unlikely to listen to songs in this quality in our time, even in the recommended Instagram 128Kbps. We uploaded a few videos with a bit rate higher, but when downloading it was always about 65 Kbps.

Frame rate – 29 fps.
Wikipedia says that 29 and 30 frames are different standards, but Instagram has made it clear that it will not use videos above 30 frames per second for advertising purposes. Accordingly, I assume that it makes no sense to load video with a frame rate higher than 30 frames per second.

We decided to try uploading the video to Instagram ourselves and see what happens to it after being compressed by Instagram itself. We were not surprised by the results.

Before uploading to Instagram After uploading to Instagram
Resolution: 1280×720
Frame rate: 25 fps
Audio: 96 Kbps
Video: 3511 Kbps
Size 24.1 Mb
Resolution: 640×360
Frame rate: 29 fps
Audio: 64 kbps
Video: 444 Kbps
Size 3.45 Mb

We tried different compression formats and found the following characteristics:

  • H.264 codec
  • Resolution 1080p
  • Bitrate 4.5 Mbps
  • Audio: 128 kbps

After compression, we did not come across videos heavier than 32MB, and 1080p is enough for a mobile application.

Rather register in SMMplanner and schedule Instagram videos using SMMplanner

Visual part

It is worth noting that apart from horizontal and square, there is vertical. I wonder why Instagram didn’t write about the third version of the video at home?

posts on instagram

posts on instagram

fig. 1 fig. 2 fig. 3

Thanks to the screenshots, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • With horizontal video, part of the screen is occupied by the text in the post, respectively, a person can read the text and watch the video without making unnecessary movements. This will help to best reflect the essence of the video or text, and thus earn a like.
  • With a square video, the text is no longer visible, but the like button is visible.
  • With a vertical video, neither text, nor the like button, nor the number of video views is visible. There is a chance that such videos will be less liked than square or horizontal videos.

Unfortunately, this is only a theoretical conclusion, since in practice we did not conduct any research. It is just as interesting how most users like to double-tap on a video / photo or on the button with a heart?

And don’t forget the video cover. Moreover, with the help of SMMplanner, you can publish a video with uploading your own cover. That is, the cover will not necessarily be a frame of your video. If, when viewing the feed, the video starts automatically, then when people go to the profile to the account, they see only pictures

posts on instagram

You can set a goal to increase the click-through rate when viewing profile videos by creating more attractive covers. The experience of YouTube will help us here.

YouTube has already proven that cover art is effective and to make it more attractive, they recommend adding elements of your brand and words that call to action on the cover. Keep in mind that the cover should be in the same general style with your other photos or videos.

The finer details on your cover won’t be noticed. And if the cover does not reflect the essence of the video, then the viewer may also be disappointed and leave your account.

Rather register in SMMplanner and schedule scheduled video output to your Instagram account

Read also:   Instagram returned a map and calendar of stories

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