The number of ways people are viewing content are multiplying faster than ever before. From the invention of the TV to shortly after Y2K, TV and the 4:3 format was the only way we saw the world. But in the decade since HD and accelerated by apps like Instagram and Facebook, creators are being demanded to rethink the way they create content. No longer are the conventional ratios acceptable.
We have to think in perfect squares and vertical rectangles now. It’s definitely influenced the way I edit content.
I’ve included this picture of a rain forest to compare the differences in the various Instragram formats.
Format #1: Instagram Square
Instagram has shifted the way I have to edit video. With their three different acceptable aspect ratios, you have to rethink your perspective depending on what you’re filming. You have the standard Instagram square, which is 1:1 or 1080 x 1080, that forces you to think of the center of the frame at all times. The format encourages you to keep your attention on the middle third of the frame, because there is no width to this ratio, and anything on the left or right will be cut off. This is great for displaying products or doing brand ads, but if you want to show off a beautiful environment, you’ll be limited in what you can do.
Format #2: Instagram Landscape
The second video ratio is Landscape, at 1:91:1 or 1800 x 945. With this ratio, Instagram allows you to capture wide angle shots of the beautiful things you see on your vacations or on a hike. Having this aspect ratio allows us to capture the natural beauty or the sense of the environment of where we’re at.
Format #3: Instagram Vertical
The final aspect ratio is Vertical at 4:5 or 864 x 1080. Vertical is great for interviews or up close talks with subjects. It provides a great ratio to get the person fully in frame and allows the viewer to be fully focused on that person for a short soundbyte. It can also be used for concerts and highlighting one-shots of artists on stage. That way, everybody can get their shine.
Instagram (and by virtue, Facebook) has really changed the way we have to think about how we approach the type of videos we want to make. Anything from beauty shots to interviews are allowed to flourish in their own way today. Next time you shoot something for mobile, keep in mind what you want it be, and let Instagram’s capabilities help you achieve your vision.