How to Edit Vertical Video for Instagram and IGTV

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Pete Davis

CEO, Ampjar

7 Jun, 2019

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Video is not new to Instagram – with Stories being released in 2016, most users are familiar with creating longer-form content to engage with their followers.

However, with the introduction of IGTV in 2018, users can now upload even longer videos (up to 60 minutes!) that really do well with a bit of editing and touch-ups.

As with most content driven by mobile devices, vertical videos are the format of choice in order to capitalize on screen space and it’s become more important than ever to learn how to edit these vertical videos to maximize their appeal.

While it’s still possible to film and upload video on the fly using IGTV, this post focuses on some free and paid apps that will take your vertical video editing to the next level using your phone and desktop.

Also, because more and more businesses and users are capturing video on multiple devices, we’re going to explore some tips that will help you get the most from your camera, drone, and GoPro.

Let’s get started!

Want more from your Instagram content?  Ampjar finds your best performing content and automatically shares it with the audiences of other brands – learn how it works.

First things first: vertical video dimensions

Before we dive into the creative stuff, let’s break down IGTV’s technical dimensions and specs.

  • Video format: MP4
  • Length: 15 seconds to 10 minutes for smaller accounts; 15 seconds to 60 minutes for larger and verified accounts
  • Size: 650MB for videos less than 10 minutes; 3.6GB for videos up to 60 minutes
  • Orientation: vertical (or portrait)
  • Vertical Video Aspect ratio: a minimum of 4:5 and a maximum of 9:16. This is often the hardest thing to get right – if you aren’t shooting on a smartphone (which usually records in 9:16 if shot vertically) you may need to edit or crop your video in post-production

Creating vertical videos for Instagram

Now for the fun part – switch on your right brain and start shooting content!

With the option to upload videos up to 10 minutes in length, the world really is your oyster. Just be mindful of what your followers want and keep it relevant so they don’t drop off mid video (you can track retention rates from within the IGTV app).

You can even utilize a test-and-learn approach via Insta Story to see which of your videos get more views and then create an IGTV content strategy accordingly.

Related: How to Track Instagram Metrics

Once you know what you want to capture it’s time to start shooting!  Capturing video on a smartphone, camera or drone really means you can shoot videos anytime and anywhere. You’ve always got your phone in your pocket so, if a moment of inspiration arises, you’ll be ready to click record and get the content that you need.

Here’s what you need to know to capture the perfect content:


Most smartphones made in the last 5-6 years have an aspect ratio of 16:9 with larger models such as the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 delivering a ratio of 18:9.

The easiest way to shoot vertical video for IGTV is to record a video with your smartphone while holding it vertically. If your smartphone has an aspect ratio of 16:9, you’ll be set to go. If not, you can use desktop editing software to transform it into IGTV’s specs.


Alternatively, if you like to take your camera out and about, rotate it by 90 degrees so that it shoots vertical video instead of horizontal.

Bear in mind that most DSLRs today use an aspect ratio of 3:2, while most compact digital cameras use 4:3. So, even though rotating your camera in this way will produce a vertical video, you might have to edit the aspect ratio in post-production to fit IGTV’s specs (see our favorite vertical video editing apps below!).


Footage from a drone can be absolutely stunning and can really take your IGTV videos to the next level.

Most drones capture video in 16:9 and 4:3 formats – upload them to your desktop and use editing software to make sure they are IGTV spec friendly.


GoPros continue to be one of the easiest (and most resilient) ways to capture video as they can fit almost anywhere and withstand all sorts of weather, extreme sports, and underwater adventures.

The sensor in your GoPro uses a 4:3 aspect ratio which means you’ll be shooting video in more of a square shape. Be mindful of this whilst capturing your footage as you might have to crop off some of your video in the editing suite, to get your video ready for your IGTV channel.

A note on cropping

In all instances, you can shoot horizontal video and then edit the aspect ratio afterward using the software. However, remember to be more mindful when framing your shot if you choose this option as converting a horizontal video into a vertical one will mean that you need to crop the left and right side of the frame – keep the subject of your film centered the entire time to make sure it doesn’t get cut out in editing.

Become an IGTV editing pro

After shooting your beautiful content, it’s time to hit the editing suite or, more likely, your laptop in the comfort of your own home. With a whole host of vertical video editors available on both mobile and desktop, you’ll be a pro editor in no time.

The following is a list of some of the best editing apps (both paid and free) for your computer and smartphone – we’ve done the hard work for you and provided steps on how to edit on each one.

Editing your vertical video on desktop

STEP 1: Download iMovie onto your Mac (don’t worry, it’s free!).

STEP 2: Create a new project in iMovie and upload your vertical video.

STEP 3: Rotate your clip 90 degrees so that it’s horizontal (if you don’t do this, iMovie will add black borders to the sides of your video). Click the crop button and then rotate either left or right.

STEP 4: Time to get editing. Add titles, backgrounds, transitions, or anything else you fancy, to get your video looking slick!

STEP 5: Once you’re done editing your vertical video in iMovie, click the export button in the top-right corner of the screen, and save as a file.

STEP 6: Open the video in QuickTime, click Edit in the menu bar at the top of your screen, and rotate either left or right so your video is vertical once again.

STEP 7: You’re all done! You can now upload your vertical video to your smartphone and share it with the IGTV app, or use the desktop version of IGTV to share your vertical video.

For a more detailed look at editing with iMovie check out this guide.

Side note: If you’re using a Windows computer and can’t use iMovie, some options for you include OpenShot, VideoPad, and Movie Maker.

Editing your vertical video on mobile

You have a few different options (depending on your device) when it comes to editing vertical video on mobile. The following looks at how to edit on iOS (with Rotate & Flip Video or iMovie mobile) but, if you’re an Android user, you can achieve the same results with Google’s Photo app and PerfectVideo or VideoShow.

STEP 1: Download Rotate & Flip Video via the App Store.

STEP 2: Once the app has downloaded, open your vertical video and rotate it 90 degrees.

STEP 3: Tap ‘Save’ and your new rotated video should save to your Camera Roll (this can be done on Android by using Google’s Photo app).

STEP 4: Open, or download iMovie, create a project and upload your video clip. In iMovie, you can trim your video, add filters, slow it down or speed it up, plus a plethora of other features that will get your video looking fabulous.

Note: Titles can’t be rotated on the mobile version of iMovie. If you want to add any text to your vertical video you can use Canva or different software to create stills and then attach these to your clip.

STEP 5: Once you’re done editing, export the video to your camera roll and re-open it with Rotate and Flip Video and rotate it back to vertical.

STEP 6: Voila! Upload your edited vertical video to your IGTV channel.

Top editing apps

We’ve hunted high and low to find you the best editing apps for producing vertical video. See our summary of each below to find one that’s right for you.

Related: Top 10 Instagram Edit Apps for Posts and Stories

GoPro Quik app

This app was initially designed for the daredevils out there looking to capture their action sports. The app uses data from your GoPros such as speed, altitude, and G-force to pull together what it deems to be the highlights of your clips creating something that’s really quite unique and shareable.

Whether you’re using a GoPro to create content or just importing clips that you’ve shot on your phone, Quik is ideal for creating IGTV content because imported video doesn’t have to be in a vertical orientation to start with – you can change the orientation while you edit.

The app also has a variety of preset themes and filters that are actually pretty sleek – plus it’s free regardless of whether you’re editing on mobile or desktop!


This one’s a real gem and offers a beautiful interface that is simple and easy to navigate. You can shoot video within the app or import videos you’ve shot on your phone or camera for editing.

If you opt to shoot video using Vue (in portrait orientation) you’ll have access to a range of fun filters. From super quirky to gorgeously cinematic, you’ll find one that’s right for you. The only caveat is that you can only shoot up to 180 seconds with the app.

Luckily, there’s no limit on the length of video that you import. Choose the film you want to edit from your gallery with a tap of the ‘+’ symbol in the lower left corner of the app and get editing.

Arguably Vue doesn’t have as many features as some of its rival apps, but it’s definitely worth a try – it’s also free!

Adobe Premiere Pro

If you’re a professional video editor or a YouTuber, it’s likely you’ve already come across this desktop editing software. Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most popular editing options out there favored by plenty of video pros.

It’s definitely an investment, but you can download a free trial to get the lay of the land before you purchase. The only other downside is that you’ll need to trick the program into exporting a vertical video as there aren’t any presets for this (yet).

When importing video from your DSLR or another camera, the software will automatically recognize it as a horizontal video. You’ll need to rotate the whole video 90º and when exporting by making sure the ‘width’ and ‘height’ are swapped around. The general resolution will be preset on 1920 wide by 1080 high, so just make sure to switch those and the video should export in portrait orientation.

Final Cut Pro

Another piece of editing software that the pros tend to like is Final Cut Pro. If you’re unsure if it’s right for you, you can try it out via a free trial before committing to purchase.

Much the same as Adobe Premiere Pro, you’ll have to turn your video upright and export with the correct resolution before editing.

Whose IGTV channel is spot on?

It’ll be a labor of love to get your vertical video looking good when you start out – to help provide some inspiration we’ve explored some brands who are crushing it with IGTV and creating engaging content for their followers.


Netflix received a positive response to their first IGTV upload. The video features Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse eating a burger for an hour – a little weird but somehow entertaining! The video has had over 950,000 views and hundreds of comments.

Clearly, experimenting with content and producing something different can get the views rolling in. Be brave and play around with your content to see what sticks.


Most of Buzzfeed’s followers are millennials and they definitely cater to them with their IGTV content.  Almost all of their videos are funny, informative and entertaining.

They’ve followed a similar approach to the content they post on their other social media channels – sticking to posts that they already know their target audience wants. This is a smart move to ensure you stay on brand with a consistent tone of voice to ensure that you’ll get the reactions that you want.  

Food Network

Food Network has created videos that are truly optimized for the vertical platform. They’ve made it super easy for viewers to buffer through sections of their videos, screenshot steps or even watch without volume. They include numbered video markers and engaging captions to help viewers follow along and ensure that people can still tune in when they’re on the go.

Ready to try for yourself?

We know this is a lot of information to take in, but hopefully, you’ve finished this article feeling more confident and inspired to get out there and start utilizing this great new Instagram feature. Make sure to follow the steps and you’ll have your followers hooked in no time.

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Pete Davis