On my podcast RUN THE LAYERS with Creative Bobbie, I ask my guests six questions surrounding the topic of creativity. One episode featured my friend Torrence, who described creativity as a way of solving a problem or providing a service. His response inspired me to write this blog post about seeing creativity as an act of service for the greater good of others.
The year of our Lord 2020 was a year of…events. Events that have left us forever changed and our worldview challenged. I never thought I would live through a time as challenging as those in the history books from school but there we were and here we are. Despite (or probably because of) the challenges of 2020, I found myself learning a lot and even having successes worthy of celebration.
On this episode of Run The Layers, I give you the mission and vision of the pod and what I believe creatively. I firmly believe that each of us were put onto this Earth to deposit something into this world that will improve it. We each have the potential to do something, create something for the betterment of others. Let’s explore that and act on it.
Follow the pod: instagram.com/runthelayers
I firmly believe that each of us were put onto this Earth to deposit something into this world that will improve it. We each have the potential to do something, create something for the betterment of others. The indescribable uniqueness of you is the special sauce, that secret ingredient that we all benefit from seeing expressed. This is your mission. This is our mission.
The Power of Video
Recently, Instagram announced their new feature, IGTV. When initially announced, I thought it would be like Facebook Watch where only the most popular & well-known creators would be able to create programming for the platform. Imagine my surprise when my Instagram app updated and I found out everyone on IG could now create long-form video content. At launch, some well-known creators and personalities had content populating IGTV, showing us what was possible. Days before the launch, I had been thinking about making more videos for Instagram and possibly making an “Instagram show” of sorts so this development pleased me.
Instagram has evolved from just photos to allowing 15 second video (which I experimented with) to allowing up to 60 second videos. Now, with IGTV, creators can upload videos up to 15 minutes with some creators being able to upload up to 1 hour. I’ve written about the power of video before and the power only increases with each new advance in tech. So, with each new advance, comes new opportunities to experiment and attempt to master.
The Process of Making IG Video
The process of designing anything for any platform or purpose begins with setting up the file. I edit all my videos in Adobe Premiere Pro. So, when I create a new sequence in Premiere, I have to make sure of two things in particular: the frame size and the pixel aspect ratio. For square Instagram video that I’d post on my regular feed, I use a 1080 x 1080 frame size. For IGTV, I use a 1080 x 1920 frame size for the vertical video format. With any video I am posting on the Instagram, I always have the pixel aspect ratio at 1.0 (square pixels).
According to Instagram’s website on IGTV:
Videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload videos up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.
Videos must be in MP4 file format. Videos should be vertical (not landscape) with a minimum aspect ratio of 4:5 and maximum of 9:16. The maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650MB. The maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes is 5.4GB.
As far as filming (or using) content for IGTV specifically, I try to keep in mind the vertical video format. I either just try to keep the main content centered when filming so I can maneuver while editing in Premiere or just film vertical, which you can do naturally on your phone. I have attempted to translate some videos I already created into IGTV format from my YouTube channel. The challenge there is to not assume all the content will be seen in a vertical format. I shift video file around and get creative in editing to make sure I am presenting the visuals in a way that’s appealing and unique to the platform.
I encourage everyone who has a personal Instagram account or manages one for a brand to experiment with IGTV and video on Instagram in general. With any new feature or platform, you have to taste it and figure out how to best use it for the building and sustaining of your brand for your goals. I like that Instagram is giving creators so much on one app. I don’t necessarily see it as a YouTube killer but it does give creators another option and avenue. I have enjoyed my IGTV experience thus far and am looking forward to producing more content on it in the future.
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At what point do I stop messing with layers, shapes, words, video, etc.?
For the most part, there is usually a feeling I am chasing. A feeling of completion. It can be a hard, moving target to hit. As you improve, your standards will as well. Your own high standards will make it increasingly difficult to let go and call a project finished.
Since deciding to take on The 100 Day Project for another year, I’ve made 35 logos representing 35 songs that I love. #TheCreativeBobbieHot100 has been incredibly fun to make. My Instagram is looking really nice nowadays and translating songs to logos has been a very rewarding creative practice.
In the early days of my graphic design career, I wanted people to just let me do all the work. I did not want anyone putting any parameters or requirements on me. It felt good to have complete and utter creative freedom on projects. Now do not get me wrong. Creative freedom is a great thing. However, it can also be a trap that will send you into a black hole of revisions and frustrating back-and-forth discussions that pull you further into the darkness.