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Audio on Instagram
Old 27th December 2016
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Audio on Instagram

Our company has had a few jobs recently creating audio for online content, specifically to be shared on instagram.

After uploading the video the audio always comes out super compressed, and summed to MONO.

Why does instagram do this? Surely it wouldn't increase data usage too much to change it to two channel audio. The 2 other big social networks, Twitter and Facebook use Stereo.

Just wondering if anyone else has come up against this and has any thoughts? Maybe we could group together and get in contact with instagram to improve this situation?
Old 27th December 2016
Lives for gear
cubivore's Avatar

my guess is they used mono because the crappy iphone speaker (5 and below) is mono as well as the mic maybe???
Old 8th January 2017
Gear Head

Instagram audio is a total nightmare and it really needn't be. The size of the extra audio channel must be totally dwarfed by the video?

PS Cubivore, I'm fairly sure iPhones have always been stereo? And Instagram hasn't been focused towards phone-captured content for a really, really long time so I don't suppose the mono mic would be a consideration.

I'd be very up for putting pressure on Instagram to sort this out, if it's at all possible.
Old 8th January 2017
Gear Addict
Leverson's Avatar
iPhones have always had mono speakers until the most recent release. The headphone jack has always been stereo, of course, but their speakers had always been mono.
Old 8th January 2017
Lives for gear
From their point of view, I'm guessing:
- Users upload a wide range of quality (or lack thereof)
- A lot of stuff will have one channel weak or missing. (Think about all the pro editors who send us stuff this way.)
- A lot of stuff will have music on one channel, voice on the other. (ditto)
- Instagram viewers are apt to have as many tech problems as the contributors. Like, only one a/v speaker in their computer, or one earpiece that's not thoroughly in the canal.
- If viewer doesn't hear an intelligible track, they'll stop logging in. Bye bye clicks.
Since they can't QC everything coming in (or don't want to spend for software that'll do it), it's easier to just sum.

Downside? Other than us nerds complaining, very little. In this world of interleaved digital, it's rare for one channel to be flipped 180 degrees by accident. So nulling the principal voice while summing -- something that happened a lot in the days of amateur analog production setups -- isn't likely. The stereo mics in most phones or amateur cameras are near-coincident, so there won't be acoustic phasing issues. It's not likely an amateur contributor will be shooting boom/lav on split channels... and even if they are, lots of broadcast "pro" stuff has gone out with boom and lav mixed.

If they wanted to be cool, they could do like some radio stations and use stereo analysis software with phase flip and stereo synth when needed. Or sum everything and then do a synth on everything. But why bother?
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