How to Create Professional-Looking Video Previews Specifically for Instagram

With more and more people sharing videos on Instagram, it's important to find a way to add it to your toolbox. Since Instagram is a square format, it's a little bit more complicated to create something that looks professional if you're shooting videos in 16:9 (as pretty much everyone is), but Kraig Adams from Wedding Film School shows us how (while FCP X is shown, you can use any editor for final product):

Here are Kraig's steps for this:

How to create your own advanced Instagram video preview with text/images/motion:

  1. Edit together your 14 second sequence on a custom 640x640 timeline.
  2. Add text, photos or a video wrapper to your timeline.
  3. Export the video at 640x640 resolution, .MOV file format and H.264 compression.
  4. Place the video file in your dropbox folder or email yourself the file.
  5. Save the video file inside dropbox or your Mail app to your camera roll.
  6. Upload video to Instagram.

How to create your own basic Instagram video preview with simple white/black bars:

  1. Edit together your 14 second sequence on a 16x9 aspect ratio timeline.
  2. Export the video at native resolution, .MOV file format and H.264 compression.
  3. Place the video file in your dropbox folder or email yourself the file.
  4. Save the video file inside dropbox or your Mail app to your camera roll.
  5. Edit video within SquareadyV app (iOS) or Video Squarer (Android)

While weddings are the subject of the video, this sort of thing can really be used for anything from films to music videos to corporate videos. You may have your own workflow to accomplish the same thing, so feel free to share below.      

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Your Comment


I'm confused. Why bother doing all that extra work in Photoshop and AE to make the "white background" with the logo animation and such when it can all be done easily and with less steps in FCPX?

October 19, 2014 at 7:30AM


Not sure if you watched the video all the way through but I can always make things simpler and less confusing, true. The reason for the AE and photoshop is so that you can make "wrapper" that you can just place into FCPX above your content. That way you don't have re-do the edit every time in FCPX, saving time. Thanks for the feedback!

October 20, 2014 at 6:05PM


This is interesting, because I tend to think the instagram science, or "essence", is heavily offset when you introduce letter boxing of any color, even on pictures.

The square will always be the most beautiful on there. It's the hard rules of the medium.

October 20, 2014 at 2:22AM


Instagram is interesting. I'm currently making an instagram-centric cartoon series. Basically using the medium to provide hard guidelines with the size, and 15-sec max length in order to force not only faster work-flow but more content without overthinking. Its been an interesting experiment thus far. Only released a trailer at this point, but I'm interested to see in the long run how many episodes I can unleash and in what time frame.

October 20, 2014 at 7:22AM

Seth Evans

Nice tips... Will be interesting make something for facebook or youtube.

October 20, 2014 at 7:42AM, Edited October 20, 7:42AM

Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director

If you have iMessage, a iPhone and a Mac you can also text your film in iMessage on your computer and then just download it on the phone. My girlfriend has gotten tons of these kind of text messages from me saying... "I just need to download this to my phone".

October 20, 2014 at 8:07AM

Viktor Ragnemar

This article reminded me of a comment I saw on a show recently.
Instagram is twitter for illiterates.
I just don't remember what show it was.
Has anyone seen or heard it?
This is not an attack on this article just thought it was funny.

October 22, 2014 at 6:06PM