It’s been nearly nine months since Instagram added the ability to add pre-recorded video to it’s website. In that time people and organisations have extensively explored the creative possibilities that this has allowed.
If you haven’t yet seen them, Instagram videos are the same size as Instagram pictures (640 x 640px) restricted to 15 seconds in length. This is roughly about a third of the space commonly used in standard HD video (1920 x 1080). For those that have grown used to editing in wider and longer formats this has meant a degree of re-adjustment in order to squeeze content in.
Third Lens Films are keen to explore what can be done with these pocket-sized videos. A look at our Instagram channel shows that we have played about this with this new medium extensively – in fact at the time of writing we haven’t yet uploaded a single Instagram picture.
Certainly at present pictures greatly outnumber videos on Instagram and perhaps the majority of users still prefer to use it as a kind of photography forum rather than anything else. However we think that video has an important role to play.
One such area (for us at least) is as support material for film projects – be it behind the scenes (BTS), outtakes or trailers. We have supplemented, for example our film for Siren Craft Brew with Instagram material – where alternate edits and additional material were used to publicise its release.
Another is use of Instagram video as an Advocacy tool – a pocket ‘video flyer’ for awareness raising or event publicising. Recently we teamed up with the Homeless charity Emmaus in Brighton and Hove and made an Instagram ‘advert’ for an event they were staging at Jubilee Square in Brighton.
For the purposes of the Emmaus event (the aim of which was to raise awareness by asking people to pledge to ‘An act of kindness’) we had to appeal to the viewer directly, then describe the purpose and the location/time and date of the event. We also wanted to link to the Twitter campaign they were running so we included the #UpRisingofKindness hash-tag created for the day to the video. Suitable music (for which copyright must not be an issue) that suits the video and it’s short length must be found and Emmaus Brighton’s logo and some contact information – in this case their Twitter handle were also included. In all the 15 seconds time limit forces you to be concise and creative remembering that you must get across the crucial information clearly.
Encouraging people to download the file themselves and then post the same video on their Instagram feeds would dramatically boost awareness of the event. It would be very easy for an organisation in preparation for an event to have as part of their social media campaign a download page for a Instagram materials where people would be able to select pictures or videos to share themselves.
An excellent video of the event was made by Jonathan Shipley. With his permission we took shots from it and created three further Instagram videos for Emmaus – using the animated logo we had made for the original video.
We’re keen to keep experimenting with Instagram video – it certainly offers lots of possibilities for filmmakers in a way perhaps Vine and other ‘micro’ film sharing platforms don’t. We’d also be keen to hear your thoughts on whether this is a viable method as an Advocacy tool too.
Who is Matt – This handy guide by Matthew Johnson shows the best settings for converting your video (Using Adobe Premiere Pro) to work with Instagram.
Mashable – This guide shows you how embed your Instagram videos onto your website – we followed it’s instructions to embed the videos above.
econsultancy – An interesting overview of what some famous brands have done with Instagram videos last month.