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IGTV - Vertical Video Done Right by Instagram

I am not a huge fan of vertical videos because they are reduced down when played in a standard horizontal format player, so it can be hard to see the detail. Usually vertical videos have black blocks on either side. It feels a lot like your watching the video from a neighbouring dark room through a narrow door frame. Also you don't get as much width in your shots making it hard to frame all of the action.

Instagram TV (IGTV) basically says 'so what' to all of the above. You can access IGTV through an icon menu item on the Instagram app (or I think you can install it separately).
Access IGTV from Instagram
via the IGTV icon.
You'll be taken directly to the IGTV app where the first video in your stream will automatically start playing (usually with the sound off) after first seeing some old style TV static to give that authentic 'television' like experience.



The IGTV app is designed so well you can easily browse videos on your mobile phone with just your thumb. Swipe left to play the next video, swipe up to browse thumbnails of videos in either your stream or other typical categories like 'For You' or 'Popular'.

A testament to how well the interface is designed is that I find myself being annoyed with people uploading horizontal video to the platform... stop making me turn my phone sideways (even though I turn my phone with every other video platform).

IGTV is meant to be viewed on a mobile phone in portrait/vertical format, just like the original Instagram Photo app... and it actually works. It's a great first try for the platform.

Not so great is a lot of the content being uploaded. People tend to be using IGTV as a way to post longer 'stories' videos. I have never been a fan of Instagram stories. Every time I watch those one minute or less videos/slide shows (or whatever they happen to be) I feel I got nothing out of them. It's a feature that should have stayed, in my opinion, with Snap Chat, rather than being integrated into Facebook and Instagram.

That aside, IGTV is new. I'm sure the content will improve. With the ability to upload up to an hour per video, people are going to start experimenting with creating content especially for the vertical format - I think those who do will have the most success with it.

This is what happens when you want to take a
quick image of yourself on IGTV and
you only have a webcam handy.
I recently set up my own IGTV channel - which is easy to do if you have your own Instagram account already (mine's @etourist.tet). At the time of writing I have only one video uploaded, a short 2 minute talk to camera, introducing myself and my content, shot in vertical format.

One issue I had immediately was finding an app that can edit vertical video right on my phone, so I could edit out my mistakes, and add title overlays and an end screen. It makes sense to edit on your phone so you're not messing around transferring files between devices. Film, edit, and upload, all from the same device.

Movavi Clips for Android.
I use Movavi Video Suite on my desktop for editing my YouTube content. I knew they had a free mobile app so I decided to check it out. Thankfully it delivered with built in settings for vertical, square, and horizontal formats. Their app is really easy to use on a touch screen phone, even for trying to get accurate video cut points. Unfortunately the free version does watermark your video but I was so happy with it, I'm planning to upgrade to the paid version.

I'm not sure how much content I'll be making for IGTV but being able to do everything on my phone is a huge advantage, and I'm sure a good start for the platform in terms of future support. I'm actually excited to try creating content exclusively for IGTV and their vertical format, rather than just re-purposing the content I make for YouTube.

You currently can't access IGTV from your PC or the desktop version of the Instagram site. If you want to see what it's all about you'll need the Instagram Phone app (or maybe just the IGTV standalone app), then just tap the IGTV icon to get started.

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