Instagram Video and (Potentially) the Untimely Demise of Vine


June 21, 2013

As a child, I was fierce. I was a small girl, but when it came time for the karate sparring championships, boys and roundhouse kicks didn’t scare me. After making it to the ultra competitive final round and beating a handful of opponents much bigger, older, and manlier than myself, I came face-to-face with my final foe.

Across the mat stood another small girl. She was my same size, same age, and even same belt rank – brown. She had long blonde hair just like mine, except hers was curled in a very girly fashion that I just would not have stood for at the time. I’d heard about her, but she was from a big dojo out in California. They said she was faster, smarter, meaner, and all around better than me. And as I shook hands with Alexis – the karate/ballet prodigy – before our match, I felt something I hadn’t the entire tournament—inevitable and heartbreaking defeat.

I imagine this is probably how Vine feels right about now.

A big announcement came earlier this week, or technically late last week, that “Facebook was to hold a mysterious product launch event on June 20th.” Well, June 20th was yesterday, so if you haven’t heard, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app known as Instagram has expanded to video. What this means is that the up and coming stop motion video app, Vine, just got super one-upped by a bigger, better, faster version of itself. You could say Vine just got “Alexised.”

While the video-sharing feature for Instagram was highly predicted, its debut puts it in direct competition with Vine. The Twitter-owned app was growing rapidly in popularity, but now, Vine is looking at some rough odds. Alas, such is life. You gotta roll with the punches sometimes, so let’s roll right along and move onto the Alexis in the room. Here’s what you need to know about Insta…video?

  • Filters– It wouldn’t be Instagram without the filters, and co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom was smart to recognize this. With the addition of 13 new filters specifically for video, you can create a vintage feel or enhance the contrast to make color pop. “It’s everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves,” adds Systrom.
  • Video Length– Videos must be at least three seconds long, and unlike Vine’s six-second clips, Instagram provides you with a whole 15 seconds to get innovative. Systrom said that any shorter or any longer either constrains creativity or makes file uploading too cumbersome. (However, I will say that my first Insta video took a whopping 10 minutes or so to upload. Could have been my cell service or a large amount of activity on Instagram, but that will need to be resolved if they’re planning on making video successful.)
  • Stop Motion– Instagram’s stop motion feature allows you to take a quick shot of something, pause filming, and then resume filming again when you have the shot or angle you want. This is explained in better detail in this video. This mimics Vine’s stop motion capabilities, but (in my opinion) it’s even better because you can go back and delete the last clip in your sequence. Vine doesn’t allow for that.
  • Auto-Play– Don’t want to watch all of those videos in your Instagram feed? Simply go to preferences and turn off auto-play for videos. This is a nice feature that rivals the incessant video play that occurs on Vine. In addition, videos do not continuously loop like they do on Vine and you’re able to choose the frame you want to display as the main image.
  • Cinema Mode– This aspect is currently only available for the iPhone. Cinema was developed by “video scientists” and is said to help with shaky hands and image stabilization. I’m still a bit skeptical about this feature after trying it out, but give it a go for yourself. Once you’re done filming, you’ll see the Cinema icon right above the filter options.
  • Saving and Uploading- Like Vine, you must be filming within the app to shoot a video (for now at least). There is also no way to upload existing video from your phone’s camera roll, which is very different from the photo sharing capabilities on Instagram. Furthermore, videos will not save to your camera roll after posting; on the other hand, photos can be saved if you have this setting turned on. However, there are tricky ways to embed videos to make them more shareable on other sites.

So has Vine truly been defeated? I’m not a mind reader, just a washed up, almost karate kid, but I’d say that Vine is on its way to quickly becoming the app that never was. Why would anyone continue to use a different app to do the same thing, but with less features and less of a user base? They wouldn’t really—unless they’re avid Tweeters and want to share posts via Twitter, or like some, disagree and defend the differences between the two apps.

If Vine is really in it to win it, it best channel Daniel-san and break out some new moves to completely distinguish itself from Instagram video. And while Vine seems to have some new features in the works – splicing bits of multiple Vines together, saving drafts, and browsing content based on categories – I don’t know if it’s really enough to beat out the Alexian force that is Instagram.