Vine – an Instagram for Video clips?

Twitter’s new video sharing Vine app is only a few weeks old but already seems to be cropping up everywhere. Vine is essentially a new social media app that is trying to do for sharing video what instagram did for sharing photos.

How is sharing video with Vine different from sharing any other video link?

Well much like Tweets are limited to 140 characters, Vine videos are limited to a very tight 6 seconds. It’s designed to capture footage on the fly with no editing. You press the screen to record and let go to stop. You can press and hold as many times as you want until your limit of 6 seconds is reached. As far as I know there’s no technical reason for this limit – it’s just there to encourage creativity and sharing (and presumably as a hook for marketing).

Once shared on the Vine app these few seconds are visible to all and play out in a continuous loop, so the effect is more like an animated gif than a fully fledged video. Audio is recorded but by default is turned off during playback, again suggesting the real purpose here is to inspire visual creativity

So you probably won’t be using the app to share your beautifully shot HD magnum opus. And there will no doubt be a high proportion of sneezing cats and wince-inducing accidents involving skateboards. (Update: I just checked the site and the first recommended video is a dog on a scooter – always good value).

The app received quite a bit of publicity this weekend when Twitter announced they have had to upgrade the certification for the app from 12+ to 17+ after a barrage of pornographic images flooded the service – with hindsight this was pretty much inevitable.

This aside there’s already a huge amount of creativity evident in the videos being shared. It’s really geared towards capturing short, sharp snippets that combine to tell a simple story or capture a moment. The stop-start nature of recording also lends itself well to stop-motion animation and animated typography.

You can download it for free from the app store – so far it’s only available on iPhone but other formats are to follow. You can sign up with either an email address or a Twitter account – obviously the latter makes more sense if you want to share video with your followers.

Here’s my first efforts at using the app. Working from home today so I had to wake up the dog for my test subject. After pressing the record button a few times I captured 6 seconds of a slightly irate canine.

Recording and uploading to Vine was incredibly simple and it makes a nice change to film, edit and upload a video in less than half a minute. The resulting videos have a nice rough-and-ready homemade quality to them. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a really useful and creative way of using this app – just not sure what it is yet!

Just like Twitter you use hashtags to tag the content of your post and you can view categories of posts or see what’s currently popular. One limitation seems to be that while you can share the clips on Facebook and Twitter, for now they don’t loop – which removes most of the fun and creative element (update – it does appear to loop if you access Twitter via the website, just not on the phone app). I was also surprised that the video link has to be clicked in Twitter, making it essentially the same as sharing any other video – only shorter. Nor can you capture your Vine video from within Twitter, but have to launch the app separately. I assume this will all change with closer integration with Twitter in the future.

For now Vine is a fun little app which has already sparked a wave of creativity – over the next few months it will be interesting to see whether it finds a larger dedicated community and takes off in quite the same way as Instagram.