Creating High Quality Instagram Videos Using Premiere Pro

Instagram Video Sharing

Instagram video sharing (follow me here) is a great way to get any message out and uploading videos are becoming as addictive as uploading photos.  I have shoot many films on both my Sony and Canon DSLR and my iPhone, and I really wanted to upload previously shot videos.  While Instagram lets you crop and upload videos in the app, it still lacks the finer control that you can get by editing a video in a traditional NLE such as Adobe Premiere Pro. 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.  You can also upload high quality advertisements. This tutorial will show you the export settings for the highest render quality for Instagram, and even show you how to upload widescreen videos.

[Don’t Have Adobe Premiere Pro? Get It Now!]

Step One:

Open Adobe Premiere Pro and choose to create a New Video Project.  I find it best to name your project something relative for future use.  Then select “OK”.

Premiere Pro CS6[Learn Adobe Premiere Pro CC]

Step Two:

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

Premiere Pro New Sequence[Lessons In Adobe Premiere Pro]

Step Three:

From the Twirly arrow drop down menu, select Digital SLR > 1080P > DSLR 1080p 30.

Premiere Pro Sequence Settings

Step Four:

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

  • Editing Mode: DSLR
  • Timebase: 29.97 Frames/Second
  • Frame Size: 1080 Horizontal 1080 Vertical 1:1
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels (1.0)
  • Fields: No Fields (Progressive Scan)
  • Display Frame: 30fps Drop-Frame Timecode
  • Audio Sample Rate: 44100 Hz
  • Display Format: Audio Samples
  • Video Previews: Width 1080 Height 1080

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

Sequence Settings


Step Five:

Import your video files into the project.

Import Video Files
Import Video Files

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 1080p video file, it should fit perfectly in the 1080 x 1080 clip size that Instagram allows. If the edges are cut off, don’t worry, we’ll fix that in the next step. If you are not using a 1080p video file,  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 1080 x 1080 window.  If you are using footage that is 16:9, the sides will be cropped off.  For a 1080p video clip, the Scale can be set to 60 to make the clip fit vertically in the frame.

If you want to set the scale lower you can, but be prepared for black bars at the top and bottom of the clip.  You could remove the bars by placing a white color matte below the clip on the timeline.

With Instagram’s updated resolution, you will still have the edges of your wide video cut-off. You can either scale down the video using the technique above, or you can adjust the “Position” control number in the “Video Effects” window to move the frame from left to right.


Step Nine:

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

Export Dialogue Box


Step Ten:

iOS: Choose the video format “Quicktime” 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.

Android: 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.

Export Settings

Step Eleven:

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

  • Video Codec: H.264
  • Quality 100
  • Width 1080
  • Height 1080 (Make sure the little chain link box is unselected)
  • Frame Rate: 29.97
  • Field Order: Progressive
  • Aspect: Square Pixels (1.0)
  • Check the Render at Maximum Depth Box

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

  • TV Standard: NTSC
  • Frame Width: 1080
  • Frame Height: 1080
  • Frame Rate: 29.97
  • Field Order: None (Progressive)
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels
  • Profile: Main
  • Level: 3.1
  • Check the Render at Maximum Depth Box


Step Twelve:

iOS: Under “Bitrate Settings” check the box and choose the limit the data rate to “8,000 kbps” and check the “Use Maximum Render Quality” box.  The 8,000 kbps is a good setting for the size, quality, and length of the videos I upload to Instagram.  If your video has a lot of movement, you may want to increase this.  Experiment with it and find what works best for your videos. Note: Also, If you rendered the video previously, checking “Use Previews” will speed up the export time.

Android: Choose the following Bitrate settings:

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

Experiment with these Mbps settings if your video ends up looking pixelated.  Raise them to 3Mbps target and 5Mbps Maximum.  Check the “Use Maximum Render Quality” box.

Now that Instagram uses a higher resolution, it would make sense to try using higher bitrates if your video is blurry. Feel free to experiment with them, or comment if you find good settings. Once I experiment with this a bit I will update it.

Bit rate

Step Thirteen:

iOS: Click the “Audio” tab and choose:

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

Android: Keep the same settings as the iOS settings above, but choose a bitrate of 64kbps and give a precedence to bitrate.

Audio Settings

Step Fourteen:

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

Now that the hard part is over, you’ll want to get your new video uploaded to your iphone so you can upload it to instagram. We’ll show you how to do that in the next tutorial.


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