Instagram launched IGTV for iOS in June 2018, and it's grown steadily in popularity. IGTV supports videos between 1 and 15 minutes long, and any user can add a video to the platform. It makes it easy to watch popular video content from the people you follow and explore new content in your areas of interest.

If you want your IGTV content to take off, you might not know where to start. The top IGTV creators know the platform well, and know how users engage with their content. So a lot of the most popular IGTV channels add Subtitles to all their videos – after all, most video content on social media is viewed with no audio.

Share an un-cropped video to IGTV – with custom subtitles!

Since Instagram, the IGTV creator app, and all of Instagram's external editing apps don't allow you to add captions or subtitles, you need to go elsewhere. I recommend using Kapwing to add your subtitles, for several reasons:
• It's free to use nearly all of its products
• It's easy to learn
• It doesn't require you to download any apps
• It works on computers, phones, and tablets
• You can upload videos from any source

To add subtitles to an IGTV video, you'll need to know 5 steps:

  1. Upload your video to Kapwing's Subtitler tool
  2. Add your subtitles
  3. Publish & download
  4. Share it on IGTV

Step 1: Upload Your Video to Kapwing's Subtitler Tool

Uploading your content to Kapwing takes just a few seconds. Go to Kapwing.com in your browser, click on the Menu icon in the top left corner, and select "Products" from the list. From the Products page, scroll down and choose "Subtitler."

Now you're in the Kapwing Subtitler tool, where you can use add, generate, and customize subtitles for your video. To upload a video that you have on your phone, just click the button that says "Upload." This will let you record a video or search through your camera roll to find the video that you want to subtitle. Once you select your video, it could take a while to upload to the Subtitler, depending on the file size.

Just copy the link and your video is ready to caption

If you want to caption a video that you found online, or one of your own videos in an online storage site, copy a shareable link to the video and paste it in the Subtitler's URL field. Most web locations allow you tap twice on the URL and select "Copy." In apps like YouTube, you can find the Share button and choose "Copy Link." In some online storage locations like Google Drive, you'll need to make sure your video's link is shareable by adjusting your sharing settings.

Step 2: Add Your Subtitles

Now you're ready to add subtitles to your video! You have a few options for this step. The easiest, most convenient way to subtitle your video is to scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the Auto-Generate tool. This feature is still in beta testing, but its auto-generated captions tend to be highly accurate, and can be translated to for nearly any language. This is the best way to generate captions for videos with clear speech and minimal background noise, but if your video contains especially muffled speech or other loud noises, the auto-subtitler's error rate may increase.

If you want to translate your captions to another language, check out this tutorial.

Adjust the timing of your captions by moving the sliders

To add captions manually, scroll down and enter your first subtitle. With each new caption, click the "Add Subtitle" button and enter the next line of text. Each new line will automatically begin where the previous one ends, but you can edit your subtitle timings by sliding the start & end buttons below each line. Scroll up to the Text Options menu to fully customize your captions' font, size, color, style, and arrangement.

You can even select "Move Up" and "Move Down" to change the precise position of your subtitles – this is especially useful, since IGTV's format will block the top and bottom of your video with channel info and description bars. By repositioning your captions, you can make sure your audience doesn't miss a word.

IGTV Captions Spacing

On IGTV, the video's description and action menu cover content at the bottom 100 pixels of the frame. If the user has their "watch next" reel open, it covers the bottom 200 pixels. Get maximum engagement by moving your subtitle up above the "watch next" fold so that viewers see your caption text.

Complete all other edits:

There are a couple other very important things to consider in preparing a video for IGTV. Since neither the Instagram app nor the IGTV app allows you to make any edits to your IGTV videos (unlike other posts), all of your edits need to be finalized before you upload a video to IGTV. Some of these are highly important – IGTV only shares videos in a 9:16 aspect ratio, so any videos wider than this (i.e. 5:4, square, and all horizontal videos) will be cropped, and the app doesn't allow you to move the cropped frame, zoom in, or add top & bottom padding.

Change your video's aspect ratio to optimize it for IGTV

Especially if you've added captions to a video wider than 9:16, it's important to add top & bottom padding to your video, or your captions will be cut off on both sides. To do this, simply click "9:16 Story" under "Video Options" and select "Fit" in the next field, instead of "Zoom  & Crop." Now your subtitles will appear fully on your IGTV video, even if your video has a wide aspect ratio.

Step 3: Publish & Download

Once your video has been subtitled and edited to perfection, you're ready to publish it! Just tap the red "Publish" button in the upper right-hand corner of the Studio window. Kapwing will automatically start processing your video, which could take up to a few minutes for larger video files.

Your video is just a click away!

Once your video is finished processing, save the video to your camera roll to post on IGTV. If you have iOS 13 or above, you can long-press on the video then find the video in the Downloads tab of the Safari app. If you're using Android, Windows, or Mac, you can download the video directly to your device. Now your video is ready for you to share on IGTV.

If you're not already signed in, there will be a small Kapwing watermark on your video. Remove the watermark for free by signing in!

Optional: IGTV allows publishers to upload a custom thumbnail image. Read this guide on creating an IGTV thumbnail using Kapwing's IGTV thumbnail template.

Step 4: Share It on IGTV

You can add videos to IGTV quickly using either the Instagram app, IGTV app, or Instagram website. To share your video to IGTV using the Instagram app, open up the app and select the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen – it looks like a small TV with a bolt on the screen. Now, tap the "+" button in the upper right-hand corner. This will automatically open the videos from your camera roll, only highlighting the ones that fit the 1-15 minute IGTV time range.

The IGTV app makes it easy to join the platform

Now, simply choose the video with your added subtitles – it should be the most recent video in your camera roll, so it will be the first one on the video grid. Just select your subtitled video, choose its thumbnail frame, write a description, and it's ready to share.


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