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Video on Instagram - how to get it right on a budget


Instagram Video

Video is the fastest growing content format online. Last year Instagram recognised this trend by increasing video lengths from 15 to 60 seconds. It’s a great tool if you know how to use it, so here are our top tips on producing an Instagram video on a budget.

1. Use your phone or separate camera

Instagram allows you to shoot video inside the app, but it means that you are limited by the platform and its capabilities. Always use the camera app on your phone or a proper camera to shoot your video. That way it will be easier to repurpose your video across other platforms like YouTube or Twitter.

2. Use third party editing software

Instagram lets you edit video within the app, but it has very limited functionality. For example, it just let you trim the video at the beginning and the end, which means you can’t cut sequences within your shot. If you have and iPhone or Android phone there are a plethora of native and third party apps which are intuitive and easy to use. Some examples are iMovie, PowerDirector, Kinemaster, Magisto, Splice. If you are a little bit more ambitious you can use desktop applications like iMovie (comes free with your Mac), Movavi or Windows Movie Maker – all of which are free or cheap to buy.

3. Think ‘no sound’

When producing your Instagram video keep in mind that most of your audience will have the sound switched off whilst watching your video. This is particularly true for the beginning of the video as users will have to tap the audio button to switch the sound on. As your video is on so-called ‘auto-play’ – meaning it plays automatically when users scroll down their Instagram feed – this means that nobody will get the sound at the beginning of your video. As a general thumb of rule it’s best to design it for silent viewing, ie. with sufficient subtitles or overlayed text to support the visuals.

4. Keep it simple and experiment

Don’t set yourself up for failure by being too overambitious. Keep your first videos simple. Good examples are product shots of new arrivals or a simple talking head shot into the camera. These are easy to set up and easy to edit. Once you have gained a bit more confidence with the shooting and editing you can experiment with different text styles and overlays or edit multiple shots into one video.

5. First impressions matter

It really pays off to spend a little more time on selecting your thumbnail. Ask yourself: does it reveal the story, is it engaging or funny or beautiful and does it entice you to watch the video. Autoplay has made this slightly less important than it used to be, but it’s still worth getting it right.

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