Uploading external video files to Instagram

UPDATE: Here are steps to upload an existing video in iOS.

Instagram just announced their support for 15 second video files, but unlike photos you can not upload material that isn’t captured with the app.

As an animator this is a little bit frustrating, as animation exists in files created with the use of other tools.

You can obviously shoot video material off another screen, but this isn’t an ideal solution.

So how can we upload an external video file from a phone or computer to instagram without using the in app camera?

I plan on updating this posting as I go along, please post a comment below if you’ve figured it out.


First off I tried the basic direct approach.  Using the free iphone explorer app i-Funbox I connected an iphone to my computer and navigated into the User Applications / Instagram / Library / Application Support / Instagram / Videos directory.  I then captured a brief video with the phone and refreshed the directory listing.

Sure enough, there’s video there!  But something odd happens. When you capture a single clip you get two MOV files showing up in the directory. One is an actual movie file you can open in quicktime and view.  It’s 480×640 h.264 with a mono 16bit 44k pcm audio track.  The other MOV file is zero bytes.

Replacing the movie file with a different video file of the same format and then continuing with the instagram upload does not work.  There must me something in the app that is tracking metadata in the video file and sees the swap.

That’s what I’ve tried so far.  Anyone else looked at the video files the new instagram app in working with and tried a swap to upload external footage?

Post your comments below and if we figure this out this posting will be updated.
UPDATE: something that worked! If you look at this video the thumbnail is a rainy street, but playing it gets you something very different.  I shot a multivideo sequence, applied a filter, but didn’t let it upload the video file.  Then using i-Funbox I was able to navigate in and find the video file.  Replacing that one with the same settings worked!  ..unfortunately I haven’t been able to replicate the success.  Anyone else?

You can always follow me on instagram to see if I can do it again.

UPDATE 2: If you’re using Instagram on Android check out anons process posted in the comments below.  And let us know if that works for you!

IT WORKS! Following those instructions I just uploaded this clip on an android tablet: http://instagram.com/p/a999A1ThTv/

Here are anons steps I followed, but I used the wonderful wifi file manager AirDroid to get the original video and replace it with the new one and I only saw the one video, not the second zero k file I was seeing on iOS:

1. Open instagram

2. Tap the camera icon

3. Tap video icon

4. tap & hold the video icon (16 secs is the max)*Note: your custom video should be around 16 secs.

5. Once done minimize Instagram6. Open File Expert App (file manager)

7. navigate to SD Card/Android/data/com.instagram.android/files/videos

8. Under the videos folder– check the latest folderEg. VID_20130623_165601_session_0It should contain two (2) video clips that you took earlier on Instagram.*Note: two (2) clips but are actually the same but with a 2 different file names.Eg. VID_20130623_165601-stitched.mp4VID_20130623_165601. mp4

9. copy the filename (VID_20130623_165601-stitched)

10. Go to your custom video and rename it to the filename that we copied earlier. (VID_20130623_165601-stitched)

11. Copy & paste the custom video that we renamed to the videos folder on Instagram (refer to step 7) using file Expert (file manager) & overwrite the instagram clip (VID_20130623_165601-stitched.mp4)

12. Do the same on the 2nd clip (VID_20130623_165601.mp4)– steps 9, 10 & 11.

13. Minimize file Expert (file manager)

14. Open back Instagram and viola, your custom video is there. Continue to edit, cover and UPLOAD.

One more note: so far this has only worked for me if the replacement video is EXACTLY the same length as the placeholder video.


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