Skip to main content

Video on Instagram Takes Aim at Vine

Your Android or iOS feed just got set in motion with Video on Instagram. Facebook, with the help of Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, announced the massive photo sharing network would add the ability to create and share videos, starting today.

Instagram's videos have a time limit of 15 seconds, more than double the length of the Twitter video service called Vine. Instagram's moving pictures will not loop back to the start after they finish playing, a major distinguishing factor of the Vine user experience. Instead, once a video on Instagram finishes playing, it will return to the "cover", a single frame users can choose to represent their video. A key new feature of of Facebook's service allows the filmmaker to remove shakiness from videos with a new feature called "Cinema".

Systrom framed the debut of Video on Instagram as a feature that was intended since the company's inception. But the decision to release the feature now was likely a reaction to the success of Vine, a 6-second video sharing app that has rocketed to prominence in the five months since it's debut. Instagram's developers seem to have taken a close look at Vine, considering how much they have in common. 

MORE: 5 Tips to Keep Your Privacy on Facebook

A major part of Instagram's appeal is in it's filter gallery, which give users the ability to quickly manipulate the images they share online, a sort of handstamp of coolness. The developers have brought a number of video editing tools to Instagram, including a filter gallery with 13 new filters, christened with new but familiarly pretentious sounding names such as Stinson, Vesper, Claredon and Moon.

Instagram's video recording interface will work in a manner similar to Vine, where in order to record video you simply hold your finger down on the screen and let go when you want to cut, and a progress bar fills up as your footage approaches the time limit. However, unlike Vine, Instagram gives you a visual representation of where you've made cuts in your video, signified by tiny breaks in the footage progress bar. You can edit footage by selecting individual cuts on the progress bar and deleting them. That leaves you room for other shots to be taken or to retake a shot you may have botched. This is a huge difference in usability from Vine, and will potentially make Instagram videos much more tightly produced (if less spontaneous) pieces of content.

MORE: How To Use Vine On Android

Systrom announced that the new video service will be available today for both iOS and Android users, and emphasized how entrentched Instagram is in the contemporary culture with more than 13 million users. That's ten times as many as Vine, though Vine is considerably younger at only 5 months to Instagram's 2.5 years.  Today's announcement made it clear that Instagram's video experience will differ significantly from Vine's, and it remains to be seen if the micro-video trend will integrate well in to the calm waters of an Instagram feed, and if Vine's single-purpose model will prove to be a strength or a weakness.