22 MAR

Preparing a video for use in Instagram

If you’ve ever wondered how to make the videos companies use to advertise on Instagram, you can use this simple method.

You don’t need to use a complicated video-editing program, Photoshop is a powerful enough tool that can export animated gifs, as well as render video.

For this example, I’ll show you how to create a looping video made from individual frames. You can make whatever you want: a promotional video, a recipe, a before-and-after pic or just pictures of your cat.

I’m using Photoshop CC, but you can use any version.

Preparing a document

Start a new document (let’s call it A), sized 1200px x 1200px with a dpi of 72. Make sure your colour settings are set to RGB.

Now we’re ready to start adding frames.

Preparing the frames

We’ll need to setup frames as individual layers.

Instagram will only let you upload a video longer than 4 seconds so we’ll need a few frames to make this work.

If you’re creating artwork for this video, make sure you’re designing in a separate document, we’ll call this B (shocker). Drag and drop or copy the final frames over from B to A and arrange them into ordered layers.

Make sure your first frame is at the bottom of your layers, and the final is at the top.

All of our images are prepared as layers, so let’s look at turning them into frames.

Up in the ‘Window’ tab there’s a ‘Timeline’ button. Click that and boom, the Timeline should appear in your workspace.

If you’re using CC you might see a ‘Create Video Timeline’ button. Change this to ‘Create Video Timeline’ from the drop down and then click it to create frames.

To change our layers into frames, right click ‘Create New Layers for Each New Frame’

Now all of the frames are in the shot.

There’s a thumbnail for each frame in our timeline. At the moment they’re set to a length of 0. Change the length of time each individual frame appears by clicking the number underneath the thumbnail to 1 or 2 seconds. You can select multiple frames using the shift key.

Generally for a smooth video, it’s best to keep them all consistent. If a frame contains text, think about how long the viewer will need to read it.

Now we need to make sure the animation loops. Beneath the thumbnails in the timeline, change ‘Once’ to ‘Forever’

Play the video a few times and tweak it until you’re happy with it.

Exporting as a video

Time to render this bad boy. When you’re all set to save it go to the ‘File’ dropdown in the top nav, then ‘Export’ and ‘Render to Video’

The popup that follows looks complicated, but we can just use these default settings.

We just need to change the dimensions to ‘Document setting’. Now let’s render that sucker.

The video is saved as an MP4 to our desktop. Feel free to try it out.

Annoyingly, it’s currently only possible to make Instagram posts using a phone or tablet 😫. So, first, we have to get a copy of it over to one of these devices.

Because the movie is on our computer, email the MP4 file to yourself.

Switch over to your phone or tablet and download the MP4 directly onto your device (i.e. save to Camera Roll)

Open up Instagram and now we can add the video. It’s possible to use filters as well.

Make your changes and add your caption. Your video is now posted on Instagram!

Bonus tip

If you want to share the video on Twitter then you reuse our Photoshop file again. Twitter supports video, but it doesn’t loop them.

Animated gifs are ideal for Twitter so hop back into Photoshop and ‘Save for Web’ which is found under the ‘Export’ link in the ‘File’ dropdown (or Cmd+Alt+Shift+S)

In the popup, change the image type (underneath Preset) to GIF. Save the file to your desktop and attach it to your post as you would an image.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Adam Insam

Read more posts by Adam Insam

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