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Instagram videos –
a how-to guide for UNICEF
Social and Civic Media Section
You’ve decided that you want to record a video loop that showcases UNICEF’s work in your
country, but how? This guide will show you step by step exactly how to do it.
What you will need
1. Smartphone (ideally with internet access ) – If your office doesn’t own one then it is likely that
one of your colleagues may be able to lend you their handset for a short period to record your
video loop. You can create multiple videos without internet access - you’ll just need to upload
them upon returning to somewhere with connection.
2. Instagram Video Mobile Application – The program works on nearly every Smartphone and
can be downloaded at absolutely no cost from iTunes for Apple Smartphones and GooglePlay
for all Smartphones using the Android Operating System.
Download for Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.instagram.android
Download for Apple https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/instagram/id389801252?mt=8
Recording a video
at the bottom of the app
to switch from camera to video
3. Press and hold
to start recording
4. Lift your finger off the button to stop recording
5. Tap Next to add a filter and share your video
Taking multiple video clips
1. Simply lift your finger off
to pause recording. Tap and hold the record button again
when you're ready to record your next clip.
2. You can delete a previous clip in your video by tapping
can to confirm.
3. Keep in mind, the maximum video length is 15 seconds.
and then tapping the trash
Follow the instructions, record a few video clips, and then have a go at stitching them together
using the built in software on the application.
If you have any problems you can refer to Instagram’s official help page.
Developing your ideas
Get a group of your most creative staff together for a quick brainstorming session on what it is
you want to capture and share with the world. Here is what the Pakistan office came up with http://instagram.com/p/eIHku-zE9a/
Example video loops
Capture your journey through difficult conditions and terrain to reach a location
Showcase the reactions of children receiving UNICEF supported school meals
Demonstrate the difference a piece of equipment makes to the lives of your beneficiaries
Show happy, smiling children out playing rather than in domestic servitude
Tell the story of how preventative medicines such as vaccines are delivered
Consider the following questions when thinking about your video loop
What story do you want to tell?
What is your most powerful intervention?
What do people need to understand about your work?
What makes your staff and / or beneficiaries smile and / or laugh?
What don’t people understand about your country situation?
What challenges do your field staff and beneficiaries face?
What is unique about your country situation?
Make notes of your discussion and try to eventually settle on a few of your best ideas to take
Plan your video loop
Know what you want to shoot and how long each segment should be. Be sure each
second is used well and that your video tells a story. Note that the maximum amount of
time for an Instagram video is fifteen seconds, but you can create a shorter video.
Think about whether you want to keep the camera still or not. Are you going to put your
phone in one place and let things move in and out of the frame? Are you going to move
or pan the camera to show the scenery around you?
Think about your surroundings, the sound and the lighting, and make sure that you’re
showcasing your subject in the video.
A basic framework for shooting your video could be starting with an establishing shot
such as the UNICEF logo or a wide shot of the village you are working in. Take a close
up shot of the village sign or a poster that will provide context to where it is and what you
are doing and help to move the story forward. You could then add some righter shots of
a child eagerly awaiting their UNICEF sponsored school meal and their reactions to it.
You could then close with the children actively participating in class or running around
Have a go at quickly storyboarding your concept so that you understand exactly what it
is you want to capture and how it is going to contribute to your video loop. Like any good
story, it needs a beginning, middle and an end. You don’t need to be able to draw, just
note down a quick description of each scene in turn.
Tips for shooting better video loops
Keep your clips to no more 2 or 2.5 seconds each if you can.
If you don’t want sound then hold your finger over your phone’s microphone.
You can record voiceovers separately using your phone or computer.
Record a few reusable clips such as shots of the UNICEF logo or a UNICEF vehicle
driving away from you.
Stop moving. Set the phone down on a steady surface or, even better, mount it on a
If you're holding the phone, lock your arms by extending them straight in front of you to
minimize movement. If you must move while shooting, walk heel to toe, rolling the foot
from back to front, in order to have a smoother shot.
Stay in an area with stable light. Don't move quickly from a dimly lit room to the bright
outdoors -- the phone won't have time to autocorrect for the lighting. Avoid back-lighting
your subjects, unless you're going for the silhouette look.
Planning a shoot
Take each of your strongest video loop concepts and map out what resources you will
need to capture your vision.
People: Who will be involved both in terms of staff and beneficiaries? Who will record
and direct the video? Who will take the lead on the project?
Location: Where will the recording take place?
Date: When will it take place? Does it need to coincide with a particular event or
Logistics: Will you need to arrange travel? Will you be demonstrating an intervention?
Will you require anything else to complete your video? Will any other organisations be
included or will you need permission to film?
Editing your video
The easiest way to edit is to shoot the video directly within the Instagram app. Videos can be up
to 15 seconds long, but must be at least 3 seconds long.
As you’re shooting, you can actually delete segments of your video (represented by the blue
lines underneath the viewfinder). Instagram only allows you to delete the most recent segment,
so if you shoot three segments, and want to delete the one in the middle, you’ll have to delete
what you shot right after it as well.
Once your video is completed, hit the next button, and you can replay the video, apply a filter,
and also see how the video looks without Instagram’s shake-reducing feature.
Once you’ve selected the filter of your choice (or opted for sharing it without a filter), you can
then choose a frame for the cover image that will be viewable in your Instagram gallery.
If you’re recording a video and want to shoot several different locations, you can close
Instagram and your video won’t be lost. When you relaunch Instagram (even if you’ve used
other apps on your iPhone) you’ll be able to resume shooting where you left off.
To delete a shot, go back to video shooting mode; tap the “x” button on the bottom left. It’ll
highlight the last shot in red. Tap the button again to confirm that you want to delete that shot.
Now you can keep adding new shots or leave it as it is!
WeVideo is freevideo editing software and can be used on either Apple or Android operating
systems. If you use an Apple Mac, you can also edit your video using iMovie.
You can download WeVideo from your phone for free from:
Apple - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wevideo-uploader/id615796920?mt=8
Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wevideo.mobile.android&hl=en
Review your video
Once you've taken a video, tap Next to apply a filter and review it before sharing. Simply tap the
play button to view.
Share with us
Upload your video to your Instagram profile using the application and share with your
colleagues and on your social media channels. Let me know about it too by emailing me at
We look forward to seeing what everyone can produce!