August 12, 2013

Last week, Instagram announced some new features with their 4.1 update. While all of these are good news for both iOS and Android users, iOS once again got more new features than the Android platform. So, let's break down the new features!

All users can now import video from an existing library! This is great news for marketers who already have videos produced. You'll remember that previous to the 4.1 update, you could only upload videos taken using the Instagram app. But now, you can go through your gallery or library and upload any compatible videos.

A few notes to be aware of though. If your videos were taken in a portrait (versus landscape) orientation, Instagram still requires you to fit the video into their square screen size. They do allow you to select how you want to the video to crop into this format. Once you upload the video, just click and drag the actual video vertically to get the best fit in the screen. Beware that you might lose valuable footage though by having to crop to fit this size. Comparatively, if your videos were taken in a landscape mode, you won't have to do any cropping.

You can also choose to crop the length of the video to fit within the 15 seconds allowed by Instagram. Just click and drag the frames along the bottom of your viewer to fit in the time bar (anything shadowed is not viewable). Also related to cropping length, you can shorten the length of the video to less than 15 seconds by dragging the blue slider (above the video frames) to the desired time length.

Once video cropping has been completed, you can proceed as usual to edit the video with filters and select a cover photo before uploading.

The other exciting new release with this update is only currently available for iOS users. (Yes, this leaves me annoyed and slightly mad at Instagram.) For iOS users, you can now straighten (or rotate) images. Now, when you are in the edit phase of your photo upload, you'll notice a new icon that looks like a level.

(Photo credit: Instagram blog)

You can use this tool to rotate your images in whichever direction suits your creative style. While Instagram promotes this as a means to straighten your images, I can see plenty of creative ways to actually rotate images off the level for a more artistic image.

I hope all you iOS users enjoy this new feature... I will be waiting somewhat impatiently for Instagram to launch the next update and give me access to this feature.

In the meantime, I hope everyone finds ways to take advantage of the new video upload feature. Once again, Instagram seems to be finding ways to really cater to marketers!

Don't forget to join me on Instagram!

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