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Tutorial: How to Create Epic Instagram Drone Videos

Want to create epic drone video for Instagram? We often get asked what is the best way to take footage from your quadcopter (such as Inspire 1 of DJI Phantom) and turn it in to a slick 15 second drone video for Instagram.

Will from ManAndDrone has put together a detailed video tutorial on how to achieve epic Instagram videos using Adobe Premiere CC. Supporting files for this tutorial are available here.

This follows on from the previous video, Best Export Settings for Drone Footage for YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram.

Editors Note : Will, the man behind ‘ManAndDrone‘ has created some great guides for flying and filming with drones. We feel they have some invaluable lessons on how to get the most out of your kit. He has kindly let us reproduce versions of them on our blog, this is part four of a series.

Quality Control for the Epic Instagram Drone Edit

epic instagram videos - flightlines

For our videos to be of high, professional quality. We should aim to have all of our drone footage as smooth as we can, have a rough idea of exactly where you want to fly beforehand. If your flying from one point to the next, try your best to keep the drone in a straight line with the camera and gimbal in a fixed position.

It’s always worth doing a test flight beforehand so you can make the necessary adjustments on the camera before recording. Intelligent flight modes can help a-lot here as we are able to program routes and as the flights are automated our speed should be constant, resulting in smoother video footage.

Know the Limitations

epic instagram videos - white scope

Instagram only allows for 15 seconds worth of video, so we have to keep this in mind. Make sure you record several minutes of footage for editing purposes.

The maximum resolution for video on Instagram is currently 1080×1080, we will need to shrink our footage down in order to obtain a 16:9 Widescreen as opposed to square. 4k footage works great here as we have more video to work with and crop as necessary. I’ve included some black and white scopes depending on your preference for your videos. Scopes make it easier for us to achieve a 16:9 look. They can be downloaded here.

Know your Score

epic instagram videos - music

Try to keep your music selection professional. Your choice will depend on what style your clip your aiming for.

Popular music is generally not a good idea as technically it is copyright. Have a look at some of the stock music websites below, use keywords to filter your style i.e. “Ambient”, “Cinematic” for an epic Instagram soundtrack. Another idea is to checkout many of the unsigned artists on ‘SoundCloud’ and ask them if you can use 15 seconds of their track in return for a link or mention to their page. Below are some of my favourite stock sound & music websites :

Paid License

Free with Permission

Using Your 15 Seconds Wisely

Consider some of the following methods for using Instagram video to it’s full potential :

  • Speed Ramps / Time-ReMapping – A perfect way to increase the speed of one clip. In example 2 of the video tutorial I explain how this is achieved.
  • Stabs – A nice way of cutting footage usually to drumbeats. See “Example 1” and “Example 2”.
  • TimeLapses – Using another camera, taking 1 photo every 10 seconds, working towards 30 frames a second. 120 photos = 20 minutes. I stitch all my timelapses within After-Effects. I will cover TimeLapses on a future tutorial.
  • Text – Add a text or a Logo layer for that added touch. It’s a great way to advertise too.
  • Colour Grade – No need to go overboard here as it’s such a short clip, subtle adjustments as required. Look for “ProcAMP” and “RGB Curves” in the effects panel.

Exporting within Adobe Premiere CC

Epic Instagram Videos - Exporting

If you want a white Background for your videos, create a blank text layer with just a white background. Drag it to the V1 Layer ( You may have to move all your footage up a layer ). The same principal applies if you want a black background.

Our Export settings will be the same as mentioned in the previous tutorial, again if you wish to send a higher bitrate to instagram as bandwidth isn’t an issue, this is fine.

  • Video Size : 1080 x 1080
  • Aspect : Square pixels (1.0)
  • Frame Rate : 29.97fps / 30fps NTSC Progressive
Profile: High, Level 5.1
VBR 2 Pass
  • Bitrate Target 5 Mbps, Maximum 7 Mbps
Render at Maximum Depth Box Ticked, Use Maximum Render Quality Box Ticked
  • Audio Format : AAC
  • Sample Rate : 48,000 Hz
  • Channels : Mono or Stereo
  • Bitrate : 128 Kbps

RC Geeks & ManAndDrone

To see more ManAndDrone videos, checkout the ManAndDrone YouTube channel. If you do not currently own a Phantom 3 of Inspire 1 and need some advice on which model would suit your needs, please get in touch with RC Geeks at or by phone at 01737 457404.

Question or comment?