How to Produce Custom Stories for Instagram and Why You Should Be Doing It

Instagram Stories are here and they appear to be doing pretty well. I never really got on board the Snapchat train for various reasons (a main one being that the Android app was poorly optimized), but when Stories on Instagram came around I was still very interested in the possibilities.

This post will walkthrough some basic settings and examples of how to create custom video stories to be used on Instagram. I'll be using Final Cut Pro X and Motion for this post, but if you use Adobe or other software then this post still might be helpful.

First, Why Create Custom Video Stories?

I'm definitely not saying that all of your stories should have custom animations or professional video. There are plenty of ways to engage your audience without putting the extra time into creating more custom stories. However, sometimes you might want to create a story and the built-in tools on the Instagram app simply aren't enough. Or maybe you are like me and you like the idea of practicing your video/editing skills by doing quick projects.

If you are a more established brand, you're obviously going to want to make sure more-produced stories fit your marketing strategy and overall brand aesthetic and voice.

The Settings

Instagram Video Stories are 10 seconds in length and display at portrait (vertical) orientation. When you first create your project in your video editor, you'll want the project resolution to be 1080x1920 or 720x1280.

Be Creative

Now you essentially have a video project that, when exported, will be able to be uploaded to Instagram Stories. That means that there is a lot of creative potential. You're also obviously not limited to filming only your phone, which opens up a lot of room for more produced or higher quality video.

Basic Inspiration

The most basic project is simply to take a video that was shot in landscape and use Final Cut to crop it for a vertical Instagram story. Here's an example of that:

Another basic project that I've done has simply been using Final Cut to compose an Instagram story where I've cute two video clips together to create one story. Instead of tapping to advance to the next shot (which is not necessarily a bad thing), if the user watches the story through, it will simply be like a mini 10-second movie.

Custom Animations

This is where you can get more technical beyond basic video editing techniques. If you have some experience keyframing animations  in Final Cut or using Motion, then you can do some really cool stuff. Here's a pretty basic map animation that I did for an upcoming trip of mine.

Learn how to do this here

Wrapping Up

The basic settings are really all you need to get started. Once I realized that the Instagram app would upload pretty much any project at the right resolution and length, well, you can see that it opens up a lot of possibility for people and brands beyond Boomerangs and selfie vlogs (not that those are bad, at all!).

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some ideas or inspiration. Let me know if you've been doing similar stuff or have ideas for cool custom video stories. I'd love to hear about it.