Creating High Quality Instagram Videos Using Adobe Premiere Pro CC // Tutorial

When Instagram enabled video sharing, uploading videos became way more addictive than photos.  After shooting several films on my iPhone, I really wanted to upload previously shot videos.  I did some research and created a tutorial of how to upload videos shot with any camera at any time to Instagram.  Earlier this week, Instagram enabled uploading directly from your camera roll, making my tutorial unnecessary.

I realized that while Instagram now lets you crop and upload videos in the app, it really is still lacking the finer control that you can get by editing a video in a traditional NLE such as Premiere Pro CC.  By editing a video before copying it to your camera roll for uploading to Instagram, you can perfectly control the quality, framing, and get a much higher quality than just shooting and uploading.  This tutorial will show you the export settings for the highest render quality for Instagram, and even show you how to upload widescreen videos. These steps also work for uploading to Instagram from both iOS and Android.

Step One

Open Adobe Premiere Pro (you can download a trial for free here) and choose to create a New Video Project.  I find it best to create a folder to keep all the project files inside.  Then select “OK”.

 

Step Two

If you are using CS6, a “New Sequence” Dialogue box should appear.  If you are using Premiere CC, then you will need to select File > New > Sequence.

 

Step Three

From the Twirly arrow drop down menu, select Digital SLR > 1080P > DSLR 1080p24.

 

Step Four

Now select the “Settings” tab at the top, and choose the following options.

  • Editing Mode: DSLR
  • Timebase: 23.976 Frames/Second
  • Frame Size: 640 Horizontal 360 vertical 16:9
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels (1.0)
  • Fields: No Fields (Progressive Scan)
  • Display Frame: 23.976fps Drop-Frame Timecode
  • Audio Sample Rate: 44100 Hz
  • Display Format: Audio Samples
  • Video Previews: Width 640 Height 360

Then choose to save the preset so you can use it again later.

 

Step Five

Import your video files into the project.

 

Step Six

Drag your videos to the timeline.  A “Clip Mismatch” warning might come up but you can ignore it and tell it to “Keep Existing Settings.”

 

Step Seven

If you are using a 4K video file, you will notice that it is far bigger than the 640 x 360 clip size that Instagram allows.  Select your custom video clip in the timeline and choose “Effect Controls”.  So you can adjust the Position and Scale of your custom clip.

 

Step Eight

Adjust the Scale and Position of your clip so it fits nicely into the 640 x 360 window. For a 4K video clip, the scale can be set to 15.5.

 

Step Nine

Select File > Export >Media, or select your timeline and hit CTRL + M.  This will bring up the export dialogue box.

 

Step Ten

Choose the video format “h.264” and choose any preset from the preset dropdown menu (we are going to customize one).  Make sure “Export video and “Export Audio” are checked, and select the file name and choose where you want the file to be saved to.

 

Step Eleven

Select the “Video” tab below.  Choose the following settings:

  • TV Standard: NTSC
  • Frame Width: 640
  • Frame Height: 360
  • Frame Rate: 23.976
  • Field Order: None (Progressive)
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels
  • Profile: Main
  • Level: 3.1
  • Check the Render at Maximum Depth Box

 

Step Twelve

Choose the following Bitrate settings:

  • Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 2 Pass
  • Target Bitrate: 3Mbps
  • Maximum Bitrate: 4Mbps

Experiment with these Mbps settings if your video ends up looking pixelated.  For a 15 second video, your clip should be approximately 5 Megabytes. For a 1 minute video clip, it should be around 20 Megabytes. Your video clip shouldn’t be larger than 25 Megabytes for a 1 minute video. Make sure you check the “Use Maximum Render Quality” box.

 

Step Thirteen

Click the “Audio” tab and choose:

  • Audio Codec: AAC
  • Sample Rate 44100 Hz
  • Channels: Mono

 

Step Fourteen

You’re done editing!  Now save these render settings as a preset and click Export.

Encoding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Fifteen

It’s time to copy your new Instagram video to your iPhone.  You have several different options for how to do this.  You can use iTunes or you can use Dropbox.  I personally use Dropbox because it is the simple, fast, and above all, FREE.  Here is how you can copy your video files using Dropbox.

First, signup for a free Dropbox account and download the software.

dropbox

 

 

 

 

Step Sixteen

Once you have Dropbox installed and setup, create a new folder in your Dropbox folder and call it “Instagram Video” (or whatever you want to call it, just remember what it is and where it is on your computer).

Instagram Video

 

 

Step Seventeen

Copy your rendered video from where you exported it to the “Instagram Video” folder in Dropbox.

Instagram Video In Dropbox

 

 

 

Step Eighteen

Download the Dropbox iOS app and sign in to your account.

Dropbox iOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Nineteen

Navigate to the “Instagram Video” folder in the app and as long as you have given your video enough time to upload from your computer to Dropbox, it should be there.

Instagram Video iOS Folder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Twenty

You will notice if you try save your video file to your Camera Roll, Dropbox will not let you.  You must first favorite the video by selecting the star icon.  This will download the video to your Dropbox app.

Dropbox Cannot Save

 

 

 

 

Dropbox Favorited

 

 

 

 

 

Step Twenty One

Navigate to the favorites tab in Dropbox and select your video.  You will then be able to view your video and save it to your camera roll.

Dropbox Favorites Tab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Twenty Two

iOS: Open Instagram, select upload, and choose your video from your camera roll.  You’ve done it!  Welcome to the world of custom edited Instagram videos that you uploaded from your camera roll.

Android: In the event that you cannot select your video from within the Instagram App to upload it, instead open the video file in your gallery app and use the share button to share the video file with the Instagram app.  It should then work!  Welcome to the world of custom edited Instagram videos!

Instagram Camera Roll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Twenty Three

Follow me on Instagram to see more timelapse videos like that one I you see in this tutorial!  (This step is optional)

Instagram

Thanks for reading this tutorial.  I hope it helps you make great things to post to Instagram.  If you enjoyed this tutorial, you may also enjoy some of my other tutorials for video editing.  If you have any questions about the tutorial, or about video editing in general, please leave me a comment or send me a message.

299 Comments
  1. I am very happy to be here because this is a very good site that provides lots of information about the topics covered in depth. Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it. Please keep it up. I cant wait to read whats next.

  2. when Instagram finishes uploading the in the audio seems really also slow/distorted and out of sync. It plays fine on the phone, and on Instagram preview/editing stage ok you are saying Right but if you want any Android goods then you can visit our website bestandroidtvbox

    • Hey! I would set the sequence to whatever frame rate you shot it at. So if you shot it in 24, set the sequence to 24. If you shot in 30, set the sequence to 30. 🙂

  3. You are totally wrong. Instagram videos are still 640×640. the 1080 update is for pictures only.

      • When we uploaded a 1080×1080 video the result was quite obviously downsampled to 640×640. Can I ask why you think Mohammad is wrong? If there is a way to upload higher than SD video without it being reencoded to 640 by Instagram's servers, we'd love to use it!

  4. I am able to get seamless video loops and I wasn't even using the appropriate framerate (thank you for that). I was doing them at 30 fps. However, the audio always has a dropout at the end before it loops. I am trying to make beats that will loop with my seamlessly looping video so they can just play indefinitely and still be pleasurable to listen to (although repetitive yes). Any pointers on this? Or idea why this is happening?

  5. Hi Matt. Thanks for the tut bro but I have spent weeks trying to fine tune this process to get HD vids up on IG and for the love of me I can not. There must be a video file size limit for uploading? I have my videos down to 8MB and still, they are getting compressed on upload. if I use handbrake to compress down to 6MB I loose my sharp video. I thought maybe I am being too fussy but then I see other users vids that appear noticeably clearer. I have followed your tut above to a T and many others on youtube and the world wide web to no avail. Somebody help me out here I'm loosing my mind lol. My IG name is Mistah_tattoo, see for your self the quality of my vids is submax at best. Filmed on either sony FDR-X1000V in 4K, I have tried lower quality recording also, it doesn't seem to make any difference or iPhone 6.

    • Hey Jay,

      Thanks for getting in touch! I would try to keep your file size below 5mb if you can, that seems to be about the sweet spot for Instagram videos. If you can't get them to work in HD, try them again at 640×640 and try to keep the file size down. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for replying Matt I only just saw this. I’ve had no luck getting it perfectly clear 🙁 I found a tip today from a @jakobowens, exporting it through preview for iPhone. I got my vid down from 17mb to 5mb and was still sweet quality. I posted it and same old blurry crap quality. It’s doing my head in lol. Thanks for the help Matt.

  6. great information! i am using cs5. is there a way to clear up old sequences? with different settings for a new sequence and after editing is done.

    • Hey, I hope you are using a legit version of Premiere! Most often, the reason there isn't a H.264 in the codec options is because the software has been pirated and it doesn't include all the codecs. I would recommend re-downloading and installing the software from Adobe. They have a free trial linked in my post. Hope that helps!

  7. Hey I filmed my clips in 4K 30fps. Would I apply the same settings as described above? If not what would I change? Thx!

  8. Great tutorial best I've seen. But Instagram still encodes video down. If you record a vid with instagram and look at video specs you will see,640:640,around 2 bitrate, around 4mb file. (MY SETTINGS,H.264, 1080:1080, 29.97fps or 30, progressive, 44.1k audio, render at max, even tried limiting various bitrates. Recorded with Gopro at 1080 30fps) Thanks Matt.

  9. Thanks a lot for this great tutorial !

    I am looking for the right project and export settings for Final Cut Pro. Can you help me ?

    I have been experimenting with many settings with no success. Audio was going out of sync with video after a couple of loop. Export settings are pretty weird in FCP.

  10. Hello, i am pretty new in the video editting world, but i made a video flyer on photoshop cc and i was wondering if the steps would be simmilar to save the video from photoshop. I made it as if i was goin to print it its 2×2.5 inches 300dpi and its too big i cant even download it on my phone. How would i be able to sabe it for instagram from photoshop. Thank you so much in advanced!

    • Hey Kevin! Unfortunately, I've never exported a video from Photoshop so I don't believe I'll be able to be much help to you. If you can apply the same export settings to your video in Photoshop then you should be good.

    • Hey Dylan! Make sure you are trying to copy your exported video file. The .prproj file is Premiere's Project file for your video, not the video itself.

  11. Hi thanks you so mucho for the tutorial, im having a little bit a loss of quality, i would like to know how i can preserve the hd video please i did everything like tutorials says? I work with jewelry videos so i need very cristal videos

  12. If you get a "Clip Mismatch” warning but you use “Keep Existing Settings," won't that worsen (although small) the export of your video? Since, say your sequence is set to 30 FPS, but the camera is actually 29.97 FPS; it'll export a video that's at a higher FPS than it was recorded at?

  13. Thanks for this tutorial, very informative & resourceful. If I shot in in 1080pi/60fps on my iPhone, do I double the 72 frame rate to 144? Perhaps move the move the kbps to 10K? Thank you & please help

  14. Is there anyway to do this editing on your phone rather than a pc? I shoot all of my videos at 60fps but they look like garbage when I put them on instagram. I really have no idea what I'm doing. Thanks for any help

  15. This article was unbelievable helpful and exactly what I needed. The perfect amount of detail and screenshots without being overkill. Thank you so much!

  16. after i finally export the file and save it it comes only as a audio file without the video. Plus on Step Eleven there isnt H.264 option for the Video Codec so i chose a random one is that why?

  17. Hey Matt, I've watched this amazing tutorial, but I realize your Instagram videos are all widescreen 16:9 ratio without white-bar (i.e. it looks like you are using instagram widescreen feature when uploaded.). This tutorial only covers for 1:1 ratio. Can you please explain how you achieve lossless 16:9 ?

  18. Hey ! I’ve got a problem like some of people here.
    Everytime i upload something the quallity is absolute garbage.
    I shot HD at 50frames per second (yes changed sequence frame to 50fps) and i did everything as tutorial said.
    Any idea what can i do?

    Great tutorial tho thank you

  19. For 16:9 I simply used the size 1138×640. Incase you use a 1st frame still, make sure that looks good 640×640 tho, it will be cropped in the Grid page.

  20. I’ve always used Airdrop to get my videos from my MacBook to my iPhone for instagram. Any reason to not to do it this way? It seems to me to be easier if you’re using all Mac products.

  21. Thanks so much for posting this. It was so detailed and easy to follow with screenshots. I also had to speed up the video to make it fit and did it using the Speed/Duration settings. I didn’t do it at first so it took me 2 two tries but I got it to work. This post was amazing. Thank you!

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