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.

306 Comments
  1. hey i have the newest addition of premiere and i dont have the DSLR option.. just DC-24P, DV-NTSC, DV-PAL, DVCPRO5-, DVCPROHD, Mobile & Devices. What alternative one can i choose?

  2. in the third step can not select "Digital SLR> 1080P> DSLR 1080p 30" in my list because it isn't present, how can I replace it?
    Who can help me?

  3. Thank you so much for this, I've been trying different settings and it never worked until now! 😀

  4. Hey Matt, so when I upload video to my instagram through an Android, the video comes out reddish and there's screeches in the audio. Any advice?

    • Hey Lambert,

      Did you follow the tutorial exactly? Some of the settings, such as switching the rendering level to 3.1, it will change some of the previous settings. So I would go through the tutorial once all the way up to where you export. Then re-check all your steps to make sure you followed them exactly. Let me know if you missed a step and this helped you. 🙂

  5. Hey Matt, thanks for the tutorial but I need help I used Camtasia Studio to edit my video, I followed your guidelines and the video come out perfect but at 37.7 MB (not sure if it's to big for instagram). I continued to follow the steps, uploaded the video to Dropbox then downloaded to my iPhone 5s (Device I used to record the video clips). Then I open instagram select my edited video, preview of video is how I want it, then when the video is finished being uploaded I notice straight away that it lost it's quality, it's not terrible but it's not what I want. Oh and another thing the thumbnail which I selected did not lose quality and is how I wanted the whole video to look. When I look at your instagram videos they're high quality, so instagram either has a bug or I missed a step. If you could get back to me that would be awesome!

    • Hey John,

      That's a huge file size! You want your video to be only a few megabytes. This is due to Instagram not converting the video to a smaller format. Most people's phones won't want to load a 37MB file. That may be why your quality is suffering. Let me know if you can get the file size down and that helps you! Sorry I don't have Camtasia, so I'm not able to help on the technical side.

      • Hey Matt,

        Fixed the large file size problem , I had my Bitrate set to automatic and I changed it to 5,000 kbps now my video comes out at 9.41 MB. I hope that is a good size, all I need to do now is see if it loses quality once I have uploaded it to instagram. Thanks for the help

  6. Thank you very much for doing this. It helped me tremendously. Your time, skill and informative displays are very much appreciated!

  7. NO matter how I adjust my target or max bitrate, the video still comes out pix elated. All my other setting are just as mentioned in all steps, but I dont know what the problem is. Any help?

  8. I have an iPhone, and I'm stuck on step number 11. I'm trying to chose H.264 for the Video Codec and that option isn't there. Therefore, I can't do any of the other adjustments on that step. What do I do? I'd really like some help.

    Thank you

    • Hi Jenna,

      Which version of Premiere Pro are you using? Creative Cloud CS6 CS5 etc.? I'm not sure why it wouldn't have an option to select h.264. Are you using the Creative Cloud trial from Adobe's website? It should include H.264 as a codec.

      • I'm having the exact same problem. And if I try to chose a preset that has H.264 I get a message saying: Incompatible Video Codec found in the preset. Preset load failed.
        Just downloaded Premiere Pro today, apparently it's the latest version.
        What can it be?

        Thank you

  9. when I upload my video to instagram the picture becomes over exposed and too high contrast, have you had this problem at all?

  10. This is a great guide to using Instagram and getting all of my photos uploaded from my smart phone. I recently bought a new iPhone and I am not used to using Instagram. All of the pictures and screenshots in your article certainly helped me get it.

  11. Thanks, this was a great help! Just uploaded a vid with this help to my ig @reallysortofamazing

    Appreciate the tutorial!

  12. Hey Matt! I went through your steps on sony vegas 11. The only problem i ran into was that i couldnt set the video codec to H.264. It wasnt there. So i just rendered it with whatever the default setting was and the video looked great. But when i tried to download it onto my iphone from dropbox, it said the phone doesn't support this file… I need your help!!

    • Hey Ricky! You could also try MP4 and see if there is an h.264 preset option under that. Most phones only support H.264. If not, I would recommend downloading the Adobe trial and doing it that way.

  13. this was so useful. rarely does everything matchup on tutorials. awesome awesome awesome

  14. Hey Matt the above tutorial worked great for me… but im still having a major issue with the quality after posting to instagram. Im using an Android Samsung Galaxy S5 after i render my video from premiere pro or after effects the quality is great after that i post to instagram the quality is still great. Then i close and re-open instagram and BOOM the quality for the video is distorted. i used the exact same settings in the tutorial i even tried on an iphone with .mov ext and settings and still no luck on this. Please if there is anyway i could post high quality videos cuz i see other users do it will be much appreciated. Thanks.

    Note: My file size after exporting from Premiere Pro was around 5.5mb i tried target bitrate 2 and max bitrate 3 also tried target bitrate 3 and max bitrate 5 still same bad quality after posting to instagram.

    You can check my Instagram account @kariim33

  15. @whoismatt thank you sooo much for this tutorial … super clear … I have been working sooo hard trying to find the best settings to export from Premiere into IG!!! I was really close … but I was still missing a few points.

    Now my question is since the iPhone 6 is out … all hell break loose and the new super high deff screen make my videos looks sooo fusy!!! Do you think some of the settings should be modified now? or do you think that would not affect the final product?

    Please let me know as soon as you can … I got this awesome job filming my Yoga teacher doing the January Challenge … she has half a million of fallowers … I want my work yo look at his best on my phone!!! and not only in my computer … her name is kinoyoga and mine is ifilmyoga … can you take a look at the last couple of once she posted?

    Thank you sooo much!!!

    • Hey Agathe! I wouldn't modify the settings, because Instagram hasn't increased their resolution so it won't matter. Until Instagram increases the app's resolution for photos and videos it won't matter if you try to increase the resolution while editing. I would wait until Instagram updates their app.

  16. Hey Matt,

    Great tutorial and it taught me a great deal of things that I've managed to use. I do have one problem though hoping you can maybe analyze it. The quality, frames per second and audio are all perfect after following your guidelines. The only thing I am having problems with is the screen ratio of my video, launching onto instagram's video feed. My video is cut on the side making it look to big for instagram's video screen.

    Anything we can do about this ??

    Thanks in advance

    • Hey Johnny, glad to help you! Your final exported video should be 640×640 square. Is your video rendering at that resolution? If you do that it should be the perfect size for Instagram.

  17. Great tutorial Matt !! Thanks! I uploaded my first timelapse video to instagram with your tutorial

  18. Hi Matt – thanks for the awesome tutorial! How do you save the render settings as a preset?? Thanks!

  19. why video of gopro always broken by setting you, video from dslr.iphone etc. perfect. please find the setting of gopro 3+ .. thanks matt !!

    Instagram : @labayd

  20. Just an FYI: I spent hours looking at different ways to import video and everything I did, including Matt's instructions above, did not seem to work when I got to the preview part in Instagram. The video, no matter what I did, looked pixelated. HOWEVER, after sending what I thought was the very blurry video to my friend via a direct message (and saying, I give up!), I realized the video was NOT PIXELATED! It just appeared to be in the preview. So, if you are having issues, save yourself hours of headaches and send it to a friend via direct message and see how it looks. Sigh…

  21. I used to be able to do this, but now I suddenly can't. It only plays the audio and it says "video codec not compatible". Please, I need help 🙁

  22. I'm getting warnings about needing to be in a different level because of the frame size requirements. Is 3.1 still the correct one?

  23. everybody should note that the new instagram resolution update (1080p) is only for pictures not for videos as mentioned above. videos are still 640×640 if posted as square video and the quality is still bad.

  24. Thank you for this amazing tutorial this worked for me both on ios and android super high quality. But now that IG has updated there platform and there’s a toggle button to post wide format videos isnt there a way we can post high quality letter-box format videos without the top/bottom border? Thanks. Check me out @kariim33

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