Recently, I had to create a series of videos for National Student Pride 2020. They had to capture peoples thoughts and opinions about student pride, their personal identity and what they think about having a student pride. The videos also had to be vertical because they were for Instagram TV (IGTV) and Instagram stories.
Here's the thing, IG stories and IGTV are relatively new ways of sharing content. It was released in June 2018, letting users upload content of up to 10 minutes (60 mins if you have a large base of followers) which at the time was a big deal for this popular picture-focused platform.
Just to give a bit of perspective on how this could be great for businesses:
200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.
500 million people use Instagram Stories every day.
62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.
And these are just a few stats that I have found! It's obvious that in 2020, traditional means of advertising now have serious competition.
So how do you go about creating bespoke content for IGTV & Stories?
Let's start with my camera set-up.
Normally, I would set my camera up horizontally on either a tripod or on a shoulder rig. This would also be kitted with a 1TB Hard drive, a Røde NGT2 Shotgun microphone, high-quality lens and external batteries for longevity.
However, due to the fact that I wanted to create bespoke verticle content, I decided to flip the camera on its side so it would look like this.
Having a metal cage on your camera means that it is easy to flip it around and rig it vertically. Using the camera in this way makes it easier for me to frame each shot naturally without the need of doing it all in post-production, making my workflow easier and quicker.
My camera settings were unchanged from a normal shoot. I shot in Blackmagic RAW, 24FPS and in 4k resolution.
The filming was simple. For most of the day, I had to get vox pops of people who attended, getting their opinions on why they came to the event, what they liked about it and if they thought that student pride was important in this day and age.
Keeping the questions relatively open was key in this video. I wanted everyone to be able to say something meaningful without scaring them and making sure that they looked natural on camera.
I shot many people, all with different thoughts about the event and how they were enjoying themselves. These vox pops would be the base of around 20 stories, all 15 seconds or under. This was an exciting prospect. I loved the challenge of cutting down a one minute interview to fifteen seconds. In the end, it boiled down to a brief intro and their most memorable sentence.
After flipping the footage from horizontal to vertical in Premiere Pro, I had to find out how to get the best quality for this mobile-focused software.
IGTV & Stories don't yet showcase content in HD. To be precise, they show content at 640 x 1136 which means that uploading a 4k video or even a 1080p video will add unwanted compression to your content.
I also went to Instagrams help page to find out how big the file size should be...this is what I found.
As stated in their help page, IG requires all footage to be 30FPS or higher. This may scare some people but don't worry! When you upload your content, IG will just convert your videos to 30fps and you won't be able to tell.
What you do have to worry about is the file size of the video and the compression/artefacts IG will apply to your videos. This can easily be soothed by lowering the bit rate in your export settings.
I found that when exporting you should change the encoding to CBR (Constant Bit Rate) and move the target bit rate to 7.5.
Doing this keeps the video size low while keeping the quality high enough that the video looks smooth and professional. Obviously, this won't be as crisp as uploading to Vimeo or Youtube, but it's so much better than uploading any version of the video just for IG to compress it a tonne and make the end product look like a pixelated bag of sand.
Here is the end result. Bespoke vertical content.
If you are interested in bespoke videos for IGTV or Facebook stories, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk!