How I make mini-films for Instagram Stories
Since I changed how I create my Instagram Stories at the end of August I have had some lovely comments about them both in person, on Instagram and on Twitter.
And one question I keep getting is - how do you make them? What app do you use?
Well, very simply I use my iPhone and iMovie on my computer. I don't use iMovie on my phone or iPad because I find it far too fiddly but I'm sure it's possible. You also don't need an iPhone. You can use a normal camera or an android phone. Just make sure you shoot your video in portrait and not horizontal. (Such a weird thing to do after having it drummed in you that you must film horizontally to avoid the black bars either side of the film!)
Of course there are alternatives to iMovie, too. But this post and the accompanying YouTube video is based on the assumption that you know a little about making movies in some sort of software. I am not explaining the technicalities of using iMovie but rather the creativity behind my Instagram Stories.
That said, if you do have questions on iMovie or recording video on your iPhone then let me know as I'd be happy to answer those queries in a blog post or YouTube video.
The first thing I want to address is that I'm well aware that many people love Instagram Stories because they are in the moment. Unlike a curated feed which sometimes suggests life is perfect.
Even though I'm editing clips together to create a mini-film the clips are still in the moment. I don't stage anything. Oh ok, I lie, I once got my dog to sit in front of the local red phone box as I liked the contrast! But that's probably been the only time and that time was literally a few seconds of the dog sitting before we carried on our walk.
The point of these mini-films - for me at least - is to experiment. It's to be creative for no other reason than the enjoyment of being creative. I'm not doing it to grow followers or to attract brands. I'm doing it purely for the love of storytelling.
So, if you're interested in making mini films then think about your reasons behind it. You have to love the storytelling element, I think, to keep doing it. Otherwise it becomes a chore and something else to add to your busy day.
I can film and edit a film, from start to finish, in about an hour. I often do it whilst having my morning coffee or eating my breakfast. I could lose that time to social media but instead I create. And every day I create a mini-film my days continues, on the whole, to be creative and productive. In fact, I think I've written far more since I started making them. This is probably related to the fact I'm not on social media as much, too!
The YouTube video above shows you visually how I create a mini-film but the following are a few tips and pointers:
- Obviously I start by filming. A dog walk, the early morning, releasing the chickens and ducks. Each clip is only a few seconds long - otherwise it's just a waste of time and storage space.
- I often know what mood I'm in and my mini-films often show how my morning or day has been. Fraught from the school run. A slow Sunday. A misty start. A relaxing dog walk.
- Once I've laid a few clips down in iMovie and get a feel for the story I want to tell I look for music. I subscribe to Soundstripe *. It is, quite frankly, one of the best things (along with Canva) that I subscribe to.
- If you don't want to subscribe to a music subscription service you can go to the free selection on YouTube.
- I've also been know to add a few sound effects, too. Sometimes, for example, I can't hear the rain enough so layer a sound effect over the top.
- Then I lay down all the clips I want to use. I've probably got far too many and they run far too long at this stage.
- Then I go back to the beginning and reduce the clips in line with the beat or changes in the music.
- I'll alter the speed of the clips. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow motion. And I'll alter the sound of the clips. Sometimes muting, sometimes enhancing certain sounds.
- And I'll fade the music towards the end so it doesn't just come to a stop. On that note I'll also make sure the music isn't too loud in the first place. You don't want it blaring out of Instagram.
- Once I'm happy I'll check it through a few times then export as a file.
- If my mini-film is more than 15 seconds I then create a new movie in iMovie and re-import my mini-film in order to divide it up into 15 second increments.
- Each increment has to be 15 seconds or less (I do mine at about 14.7 or 14.8 seconds to be safe).
- When dividing the film don't alter the length either side just simply chop up. When it uploads to Instagram there will be a small jump when it goes to the next clip but otherwise it'll be seamless (as long as you haven't played around and edited the beginning or end).
- Then save each division of the mini film. If mine is in three parts I usually cut the second and third part (saving to my clipboard) and save the first part as a file calling it part A or part 1. Then I delete that one and paste in the second two parts. Deleting the third (again saving it to the clipboard first) and saving the middle section calling it part B. Then I delete that one and paste in the third and call it part C. It can be a bit fiddly but you get used to it.
- Then I export all of these clips back to my iPhone using Airdrop.
- Then I upload to Instagram Stories - in sequence.
And that is pretty much it. Any questions then do let me know.
And come and find me on Instagram. I'm abookishbaker.
* This post contains an affiliate link to Soundstripe. If you join I will get a few pennies which helps in the running of this blog but at no extra cost to yourself.