IGTV: Producing video for vertical platforms

This month for Innovation in focus we produced a video feature in vertical for Instagram TV. 

Travis McMilllen, Innovation & Futures Lab Video Producer,  interviewed entertainment and lifestyle journalist Alle Pierce to learn a little more about how she utilizes the IGTV platform for her storytelling. Alle Pierce is an Emmy Award winning entertainment and lifestyle journalist and world traveler. She’s interviewed Amy Adams, Jon Hamm, Viggo Mortensen, Jim Parsons and Suzanne Somers, to name a few. Currently, Alle works at News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 News in Palm Springs, California.  She is the weekend morning anchor for KESQ and Eye on the Desert entertainment reporter. 

McMillen:  So are you more or less a one-person team producing all your own content for IGTV and other social platforms?

Pierce:  It depends. Some of the really highly produced stuff, I have a videographer; but mostly when I’m traveling across the world it’s me shooting it.

McMillen: It seems like a lot of people are repurposing their existing material for IGTV, but do you feel the point is to keep it raw and real?

Pierce: Yeah, it’s interesting. What I see is that people are repurposing or they’re creating something completely new for it. It can get a bit overwhelming if you’re doing Facebook Live, Instagram, Instagram Story and IGTV, it’s a lot.

McMillen:  Does anyone ever say to you “I saw your story on IGTV.”

Pierce: Yeah. When I’m able to in my stories, I link my IGTV video where they could swipe up and it goes to the IGTV. So when I put out a new one, I’ll put a little 15-second clip of the new video, and that’ll have the swipe up feature where they can go to.  It’ll connect them to the IGTV. I find that making it so easy for people to watch them is a greater probability of them actually watching it, rather than me saying, “Hey go to my YouTube channel.” Unless it’s directly linked there, they’re not gonna go.

McMillen:  Why do you feel IGTV is useful for journalists? Or is it yet?

Pierce: I feel as if it’s useful because it allows the reporter/journalist to be able to get information out without a time restriction on the content. IGTV allows users with 10k followers or less to upload a video up to 10 minutes long. Users with 10k followers or more are not limited to a time constraint for their uploads.

McMillen:  But as you said, just because you get 10 minutes, doesn’t mean that you should use 10 minutes.

Pierce:   Right. Make it short and concise to get your point across. I think you lose people when it just gets a little bit too long.

McMillen: Do you think some users have been hesitant to jump in because they may feel that once you start it, you have to keep it going?

Pierce: Well, I’m not 100 percent sold on it. Since it’s rolled out, I have not gone on and watched for a long period of time, because I find it clunky and not as user friendly as Instagram is. I think that they need to go through a couple of changes before it completely becomes functional.

McMillen: Do you think it’s clunky because it, in part, acts like TV?

Pierce: While it is obviously associated with Instagram, it’s kind of its own thing. It’s its own platform and little things such as navigation within IGTV is just a little bit confusing. It’s not intuitive in the way that other social media, like actual Instagram or Facebook is.

McMillen: I’ve noticed some of the videos you post are horizontal. Can you tell me more about that? Why horizontal when IGTV is vertical?

Pierce: Those are the videos that I put up on my YouTube channel. There’s different ways people are doing IGTV videos, some people will upload the horizontal video that it’ll fill the full screen, but you’ll have to hold your phone sideways, which isn’t what IGTV wants you to do.

McMillen: What do you use to edit before you post?

Pierce: It’s called InShot. It’s an app on my phone. I just use it for squeezing it down and blurring the background. You could edit a full video in that. But I use Premiere to edit all of my videos for YouTube.

McMillen: Do you see yourself continuing with IGTV? Are you hoping it catches on?

Pierce: I just don’t know if the value’s in it, but I don’t know, I said that about Instagram stories when Instagram stories first rolled out, and I fought it for the longest time. And then it really caught on and a lot of my biggest paid gigs post-TV station have been for Instagram stories. I wonder if it just needs a little bit more time to grow and work out the kinks.

McMillen:  What about encouraging viewers to go to IGTV to build that following? Such as instead of, “Check out our video on Facebook. Check out our video on IGTV ” Would tagging it for IGTV work?

Pierce: Yeah, or even give incentives. I know our station would run contests so maybe that’s where they could go. You could say “Check out our IGTV to find out more about the contest or figure out how to enter,” so you give them a bit of an incentive to go and look at it.

McMillen:  If you were back in that ABC-CBS newsroom, would you put resources into this? Do you think it’s worth it?

Pierce: I can see it being used as, let’s say — and I know nothing about sports, so this is a real stretch for me. But we put a ton of effort into our Friday night football coverage, so I could see taking it off TV and using the IGTV platform to do a commentary between the sports reporters, or having it be a little bit longer form that it couldn’t take place within the newscast. Or have consumer segments or pieces that aren’t happening within the newscast and put them there.

Editors note: Interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


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