Instagram videos are key to successful branding. But that also comes with its own challenges. Like … what’s the proper Instagram video size? What’s the best Instagram video format? What are Instagram video dimensions?
In this post, we’ll go through each component of the Instagram video format and explain the best practices for the app. That way, you can avoid common pitfalls of video size for Instagram and use the app to its full potential. If you’re a videographer, photographer, cinematographer, or designer, this post is crucial.
INSTAGRAM VIDEO FORMAT
1. Instagram format file type
The best Instagram video format is MP4. But, you might’ve seen a few people say the best Instagram video format is H.264 codec. That's because both of these files are similar and closely related.
MP4 is short for MPEG-4 Video, which is tied to H.264.
When you export your Instagram video from an editing software (such as Final Cut or Avid) use MP4 as it's file extension, this is the best video format for Instagram based purely on simplicity and accessibility.
The best Instagram video format is MP4, but what about the best audio?
The best audio format is AAC.
AAC has excelled beyond MP3 as far as audio quality goes.
That goes for any video size for Instagram. If you're recording audio separately and splicing the two together on an app or an editing software, be sure to use an AAC audio file.
So to recap, the best Instagram video format? MP4 or H.264.
The best audio for your Instagram video requirements? AAC.
INSTAGRAM VIDEO SIZE
2. Instagram aspect ratios
When someone talks about Instagram video size, what they often mean is actually the video aspect ratio. That refers to the dimensions of the video as they relate to one another. A square aspect ratio would be 2x2 or 3x3.
A rectangular aspect ratio would be something like 16:9, or in the case of Instagram video specs 9:16— an uncommon aspect ratio in popular film and TV.
We recently released a video all about aspect ratios that explains how popular cinema and television use different dimensions when telling different stories, and how it makes a big difference.
Check it out here, and discover where Instagram video specs fit into the mix.
Also, read our definitive guide to aspect ratios. It explains everything you need to know and includes a free, easy-to-use aspect ratio calculator.
The reason you don’t say “video size” and you do say “aspect ratio” is so that you don’t confuse the actual size of the file with the dimensions of the video. Video size makes me think of GBs rather than 16:9.
The right Instagram aspect ratio depends on what you're filming. While there’s no defined Instagram video size limit, certain dimensions and aspect ratios work best for certain types of Instagram videos.
INSTAGRAM VIDEO DIMENSIONS
3. Instagram standard dimensions
If you're posting an Instagram story, your Instagram video dimension should be 1080x1920.
Your smartphone should default to 1080x1920 when you record stories directly through Instagram on your phone.
This is what Instagram video dimensions look like for stories:
If you're using a different camera to record and then post on stories later, that may need some cropping.
If you choose this method for creating an Instagram video, make sure it has a vertical 16:9 aspect ratio to hit the proper video dimensions.
For a landscape picture or video, go with a horizontal 16:9 aspect ratio with a 1920 resolution. This creates a wider image that emphasizes the expanse of land or city you’re showing.
When it comes to the best Instagram video resolution, 1080 is always typically involved in the various formats.
The basic Instagram video resolution can be considered the 1080x1080 square (which we get into in a bit). From there the videos build out to different resolutions. The best resolution for Instagram really depends on your intent.
This is what Instagram video dimensions look like for landscape:
Portraits are best used at 4:5 aspect ratio.
The best Instagram video size for portraiture is 1080x1350.
This is what Instagram video dimensions look like for portraits:
It's a little taller than the largest display size but won't show too far down the subject. And, of course, there's the classic Instagram video size of 1:1. The perfect square that started it all is still a popular video size for Instagram, so don’t count that out either.
This is how classic square Instagram specs of 1:1 appear:
The reason it is so important to understand these aspect ratios for instagram is because your content is essentially wasted if its in the wrong aspect ratio. It does you more harm than good— truly.
Branding Strategies to Get Followers
Now you understand Instagram video specs and the technical aspects of posting in Instagram format. That's only half the battle. You still need to strategize and get more followers. How? Is it an uphill battle?
We've got you covered. Check out our post on the best video branding strategies to find out how branding works with social media and online video platforms. Build your channel and beef up your brand today.