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How to Edit Video on Instagram
It’s no secret that Instagram is the best place to promote yourself as a dancer. You probably already follow your favorite performers, choreographers, and companies. It’s inspiring, informative, and who doesn’t want more dance in their feed? But as you transition from student to professional (and even before then!), Instagram becomes not just a place to watch and learn, but a place to get people watching you.
I’ve heard it from countless podcasts, articles, interviews, and advice from big names in the industry. Social media matters when you’re a professional dancer. Having a quality feed and a big following can actually help you land jobs. Your 1000 followers are 1000 potential audience members for whatever show you’re cast in, so you can see why a casting director might take that into consideration. Your 1000 followers are also 1000 connections, and I don’t need to tell you the importance of networking!
So. How do you get that top-notch Instagram feed of awesome dance videos?
This article is a technical how-to for those who need guidance navigating the Instagram app and its editing features. For tips on how to make your feed look more professional, you’ll have to wait for a future post! (Subscribe to our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss anything!)
How to Crop Your Video (Square or Rectangle)
You have two options for cropping your Instagram video: square or rectangle. This is both freeing and frustrating to me. Freeing because I don’t need to think too hard about my options, frustrating because you can’t choose how the rectangle gets cropped. Instagram just chops the same amount of screen off each side, so if your videographer didn’t keep you exactly in the center of the frame, you’ll likely go off-screen when the video’s cropped.
Keep that in mind when you’re choosing how to crop your video. A square puts more focus on you (because it’s zoomed in and you take up more of the frame), but one chassé to the side and all of a sudden it’s a video of the girl next to you.
In your profile grid, Instagram will automatically crop your video to a square, but you can choose whether the post shows up cropped or full-width when your followers scroll past.
After selecting your video, before you click “next”, simply tap this icon to toggle between square and rectangle crops. It’s that simple!
Whichever crop you choose, make sure to preview the whole video (it should play on a loop automatically) to make sure it looks good!
How to Adjust the Start and Stop Time
Instagram video posts (not IGTV) can be a maximum of 60 seconds long. If your video is longer than this, Instagram will post the first 60 seconds by default. However, adjusting the start and stop time allows you to choose which 60 seconds (or fewer) will be posted.
After selecting your video, cropping, and clicking “next,” you have three options at the bottom of the screen. Click on “trim” in the middle.
Drag the timeline left and right to move the whole 60-second chunk. Drag the white dots to choose specific start and end times.
Play the video start to finish to make sure your cuts came out correctly.
How to Mute the Sound
Tap the megaphone icon to toggle sound on and off. When the sound is off, the icon will be blue. When the sound is on, the icon will be black.
Unfortunately, you cannot adjust the volume of your video’s sound in the Instagram app. You can only turn the sound on or off.
How to Change the Cover (The Still Image Before “Play” is Pressed)
Instagram chooses a random frame from your video to be the cover, unless you tell it otherwise. This, of course, runs the risk of Instagram choosing a very awkward picture. Especially with dance videos. Halfway into a leap with both legs still bent? Not that cute.
It might seem like the cover image isn’t that important. After all, when you’re scrolling through Instagram, videos play automatically. However, if you or anyone else shares the post to their story (not the same as adding the video to your story directly), the video will not play automatically. The cover image will be shown. The same will happen if someone’s scrolling through your profile.
Luckily, changing the cover of your video is really easy!
After selecting your video, cropping, and clicking “next,” tap the “cover” option in the lower right.
Drag the box to choose a frame for your cover.
How to Add a Filter
From the same screen where you trimmed your video and added a cover, tap “filter” in the lower left corner.
You can choose from any of Instagram’s preset filters. Unfortunately, you cannot use Instagram’s built-in editing features like brightness, highlights/shadows, saturation, etc.
One way to get around the 60-second limit is to post your video in multiple parts. Since Instagram allows you to include up to 10 images or videos in one post, you could theoretically post up to 10 minutes of video at once. People would just have to swipe every minute to see the next part.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to do this in the Instagram app itself. You would need to trim your video through a third-party app, save each part to your phone as a separate video, then upload them to Instagram just like you would to add multiple photos.
Editing your videos with third-party apps opens boundless possibilities that I’m not going to cover here. They’re definitely worth looking into if you run the Instagram account for a brand, or if you just want a seriously professional feed of your own. However, I find my phone’s built-in photos app to be sufficient for almost everything I need that Instagram can’t do.
Posting Videos on Your Story
Videos posted on your story will be automatically broken up into smaller parts. Whatever edits you make, you have to make on each part individually.
Press and hold your profile picture, then tap “add to story.”
Tap the photo thumbnail to choose from your gallery.
“Pinch” with two fingers to zoom in or out. You can also use two fingers to rotate the video.
Swipe to apply built-in filters. To go back to having no filter, just keep swiping in the same direction until you get to the end of the list.
Tap the megaphone icon to toggle sound on or off.
You can also add text, stickers, questions, hashtags, @mentions, and more. The process for all these extras is the same as for regular photo stories, so I won’t cover it here.
Remember to edit the individual parts of your story by tapping the thumbnails at the bottom!
This article was last updated in October 2019. I will do my best to update as the Instagram app changes!