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Free Instagram Reels 'Text-Safe' Graphic Overlay Download

Hand holding phone with Instagram Reels editor recording computer desktop.

When we started posting reels to our Instagram accounts, we quickly realized there were a lot of variables to make sure that text wasn’t getting cut off or interfering with the app’s graphic overlays. 

In the broadcast world there is something called a ‘Title-Safe Area’ that editors use to make sure important information doesn’t get cropped out when the video is broadcast. 

So we set out to design our own “Title-Safe” overlay we could use to keep track of where we should and shouldn’t put text. But this turned out to be much more complex than we imagined. 

Instagram crops the Reels video differently based on what section of the app you were viewing it from. The grid, the feed, and the full-screen modes all had different areas that were going to be title-safe areas.

Using screenshots from different devices (an android phone, two different generation iphones, and an ipad), we used these as a guide to begin making an overlay which would illustrate the generally safe area for the text on the videos. 

Interestingly enough, on both iPhones in full-screen mode, we found that each side of the video got cut off a marginal amount, resulting in a slightly thinner video. But, these same phones would show the full 1080 wide pixels in the feed and in the grid.

We also created place-holder boxes to show where the social icons and descriptive text would be while a user was viewing, but depending on a few factors, including on which screen one was using (android, iPhone, tablet) these icons would actually change not only size, but their position on the screen, resulting in inconsistency. 

An example would be if we were to post a video with or without an added soundtrack. An icon appears in the bottom right corner showing a small image of the album. This will push the social icons up and take more space in the general video area. If there is no added soundtrack? Then there is no album image to move the other icons!

Some other interesting things of note were that on the iPad, the icons were large and lower on the screen, almost melding into the description area. When we used the android, the icons were smaller, but spaced widely and placed higher along the screen’s edge. iPhone viewing revealed icons that were still along the screen’s edge, but medium-sized (compared to the iPad and android) and in a more central location.

In addition to this, we realized that full-screen viewing had a different safe area than viewing the reel in the Instagram feed. The safe area for full-screen viewing was actually positioned higher on the vertical video (closer to the upper-third), while on the feed the safe area was centered more. 

In the end, we were able to pinpoint exactly where the main content of the vertical video should be for optimal viewing on all devices, and now we are able to keep the text in that safe space as well or at least make sure it’s not being cut off (see example).

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It should be said that our current workflow involves editing Instagram Reels videos using a traditional video editor that allows .PNG graphics to be overlaid on top of a video. Once you have that graphic overlaid, you can enable or disable the graphic as needed while designing the on-screen text. 

If you are editing on a mobile device we know this workflow works with Adobe Rush as well.

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Drag the .png file onto the timeline above the media clip, then use the layer view on/off button to see where your crop lines are.
Instagram Reels Overlay inside of iPhone mockup.

We also thought it might be helpful to others so we decided to share our instagram reels ‘title-safe’ graphic overlay. You can download that by filling out the form below. 

Have a great time creating your own Instagram Reels with the peace-of-mind that all text and important video elements won’t be getting cut off, regardless of where and how you’re watching them! 

And of course, if you want to learn more about the Branded Content services Vertical River offers to our customers, including video production and photography, please reach out using the contact form below for more information.