How Do I Get DSLR Video on Instagram?
November 23, 2014 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I just made an Instagram, and want to post some of my previously non-smartphone-shot-video on Instagram. I tried many different things and followed a bunch of guides on how to do this, but nothing worked. How do I do this? [Technical Details Inside]

My process which so far has not worked: shoot 1080p video with my DSLR, crop & resize to 640x640px, re-encode, upload to Google Drive, download onto my phone, and then use the Instagram app to select the video. Invariably I get an error about how the app cannot process the video.

I'm using a Canon DSLR, a Windows 8.1 computer, and a Nexus 5 running Lollipop.

Bonus points if you can show me how to do this with FFmpeg, but I have Adobe Premier handy.
posted by gregr to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What format are you trying to upload? From memory Instagram likes .mov and not windows movie formats so perhaps try that.
posted by teststrip at 10:41 AM on November 23, 2014

I've tried both mov & mp4 with a variety of encoding settings using both FFmpeg & Adobe Premier.
posted by gregr at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2014

Could you post a screenshot of your encoding settings (from either FFmpeg or Premiere)? Also, do the videos post-upload preview successfully in Google Drive?
posted by sidi hamet at 10:48 AM on November 23, 2014

My FFmpeg looks like this:
ffmpeg -i insta.mp4 -s 640x640 -t 00:00:13 -q:v 10 -ac 1 -c:v libx264 -c:alibvo_aacenc -q:a 128k test_output_6.mp4

Premiere looks like this.

The files seem to play fine on my phone from Google Drive, and on my computer before I upload to Google Drive.
posted by gregr at 10:58 AM on November 23, 2014

I wonder if Instagram's encoder requires at least 1 track of audio... I know it's asinine, but perhaps adding a single audio track to your initial export (or dramatically reducing the audio levels from the source clip) would satisfy their requirements and permit upload?
posted by sidi hamet at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2014

I tried that on FFmpeg by slipping in a silent wav file, but it didn't seem to make any difference.

I really wish Instagram published the requirements for uploading video.
posted by gregr at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2014

Is it possible to shoot a video within the instagram app, save that file to your phone, and then compare the settings (codec, frame rate, resolution, audio channels, etc.)? I know when I do a photo from within Instagram on my iPhone, it saves it to the camera roll, but I haven't tried it with video.
posted by primethyme at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2014

The free Handbrake app may have a preset that gets you what you need. Look at some of its mobile output options. I'm betting that the bitrate has to be very low and/or that Instagram requires a very high level of compression.
posted by mtphoto at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2014

primethyme, I went and shot a video with the instagram app, it saved a file to the phone, I pulled the file to my computer, and this is what FFmpeg says about the file. The videos I've generated don't match this exactly, but I'm not sure what FFmpeg options to use to get to this:

Input #0, mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2, from 'VID_56681212_200722.mp4':
major_brand : mp42
minor_version : 0
compatible_brands: isommp42
creation_time : 2014-11-23 20:03:12
Duration: 00:00:11.71, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 3538 kb/s
Stream #0:0(eng): Video: h264 (Baseline) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuv420p, 640x640, 3436 kb/s, SAR 65536:65536 DAR 1:1, 29.88 fps, 29.83 tbr, 90k tbn, 180k tbc
creation_time : 2014-11-23 20:03:12
handler_name : VideoHandle
Stream #0:1(eng): Audio: aac (mp4a / 0x6134706D), 48000 Hz, mono, fltp, 96 kb/s
creation_time : 2014-11-23 20:03:12
handler_name : SoundHandle
posted by gregr at 12:22 PM on November 23, 2014

mtphoto, Handbrake doesn't seem to have Instagram presets. I couldn't find any downloadable presets for Handbrake to make Instagram videos.
posted by gregr at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2014

You should be able to throw any .mp4 file you have at Instagram. If it plays in Android, it should pull into Instagram without a problem. I wonder if there's something up with your particular installation of Instagram? Maybe clear data/cache for the app?

I say this only because I've taken DSLR and other clips as .mp4 files (some of which are pretty large), and have successfully shared them on Instagram. Looking through them, I see that they're all .mp4, all encoded with h264, have either mono or stereo audio @ VBR, and run at either 24 or 30fps (rounded).

The way I typically do this is go to the gallery, press/hold/select the video clip in question, click the "share" icon (that looks like, you know, the "<>
I'm running Android 4.4.4.

Maybe what we could try to trouble shoot this is this:
I'll send you a link to a video file through MeMail. The file is ~74mb in size, and I know it works for Instagram (I just tried). If it works for you, great. Means something is definitely up with your files. If it doesn't, ok, it might mean something else is wrong with your phone or app or process.

You could also try sending me an .mp4 file. If I'm able to share it via Instagram, again, it might mean that something other than the file itself is wrong (phone/app/process). If I can't get it to work, then, again, it might be your encode or the file itself.

Check MeMail.
posted by herrdoktor at 1:28 PM on November 23, 2014

The thing is, you don't need to do any of that. It's possible to take an uncropped/non-square, >15s long video clip and send it to Instagram. From within Instagram, you can select which 15 seconds to use, and what the crop.

I've done this on a Nexus 5, an M7 HTC One, and a 2013 Moto X, running 4.4.1 or 4.4.4.
posted by herrdoktor at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2014

Thanks everyone! I'm not sure what's going on, but selecting videos through the Instagram app does not work. Browsing to the video using ES File Explorer and sharing does work!

herrdoktor sent me a video to test with, and it did not work through the Instagram app, but did work when browsed to and shared.

Who knows what's going on; maybe a bug with Android Lollipop?!
posted by gregr at 2:02 PM on November 23, 2014

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