Before we get started, we need to define some terms! You may already know some of these, but if you’re not technically inclined, the rest of the blog may be a bit confusing without knowing these terms.
Aspect ratio – The ratio is the height and width of an image or video. 16:9 is the most common aspect ratio, and the aspect ratio of most screens.
Resolution – The number of pixels in both the vertical and horizontal direction of an image or video. Most screens are 1080p, which means 1080 pixels wide (it also assumes a 16:9 aspect ratio, so a 1080p resolution is 1920 x 1080 total). Common resolutions are 240p. 360p, 480p. 720p. 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
Format – Video is not just video. There are different file formats a video can be in that determine what programs can play it, and how it interacts with your device. You can choose the file format when producing a video with a video editor.
Facebook is actually pretty wide open as far as video goes but we prefer recording Facebook videos horizontally for the best look in the feed. You should aim for at least 720p resolution (although 1080p is preferred), and the minimum width is 600 pixels. Your maximum file size is 4GB, and the maximum length is 120 minutes for uploaded and live videos. For Facebook stories you should record in vertical format and are capped at 20 seconds in length. Facebook supports several file formats, but .mp4 or .mov are recommended.
Instagram prefers square images and videos which means vertical video is their jam. For Instagram stories, Instagram TV and Instagram posts, just do yourself a favor and record it all vertically. They need to have a minimum resolution of 600 x 600, and can have a file size of up to 4GB. Videos in the Instagram feed are capped at 60 seconds or less, 15 seconds for Instagram stories and 1 minute-10 minutes for Instagram TV unless you have a huge following, you may then be allowed to record up to 60 minute videos on IGTV.
While many formats are supported, .mp4 and .mov will be the easiest, especially since you will probably need to upload the video from a mobile device.
Twitter’s minimum resolution requirements shouldn’t be a problem, but they do have a rather strict maximum requirement, which is 1280 x 1024. Be careful when exporting your videos! The maximum file size is only 512MB, and your video can be 140 seconds long. Interestingly, you can have a 40fps video, but this is not a common frame rate. Once again, .mp4 and .mov are recommended.
YouTube is probably the most open-ended in terms of available video formats. Almost any video file type will work, and depending on your account features, you can upload up to 12 hours, or up to 128GB. Using the 16:9 aspect ratio is recommended, but YouTube can usually adapt to unusual resolutions. You should aim for at least 720p resolution (although 1080p is, again, preferred), but YouTube does support up to 4K videos.
Snapchat wants vertical videos in the 9:16 aspect ratio, at 1080p, although less quality is acceptable. You can only upload a 32MB video, but you are also limited to a video length between 3 and 10 seconds. Snapchat only supports .mp4 and .mov formats.
LinkedIn has pretty lax restrictions on file format and aspect ratio. As usual, you should aim for 1080p. You can even upload video with up to 60fps, but you are limited to 5GB and 10 minutes.
Now that you know the recommendations and restrictions for each major social media platform, you can effectively create video for each! Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all for social media video, so it is important to be aware of how many versions of a social media video you will need. Your life will be easier knowing the rules of the different sites!
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