Social Networking

Instagram Video Comes Out to Play

Facebook’s Instagram on Thursday launched a video app, as had been widely expected. Instagram video is available now in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play for iOS 4.0 and Android 4.0 respectively.

“130 million people from day one are going to have access to video the way they have access on photographs,” said Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom.

“I like it because they kept video content creation pretty simple and restricted it to 15 seconds,” Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner, told TechNewsWorld. “That would make for a very effective, simple video composition tool.”

Bells and Whistles

The Instagram video app comes with 13 new custom filters designed specifically for it. Users can slide from any filter to any other to see the effect it has on videos, and select the one they want.

Instagram already had a collection of filters, but they were designed specifically for photos, “so we partnered with an artist who specializes in video filters,” Systrom said.

The Instagram video app lets users select the frame they want to use as a thumbnail when they post their videos.

“When you see a mobile video in the feed, often the first frame you see is the first frame of the video,” Systrom said. “It should be the frame you want to show your friends.”

Videos selected play only once and don’t loop, Systrom pointed out.

Videos from Facebook archrival Twitter’s recently launched Vine app run for 6 seconds and loop.

The Instagram video app includes the “Cinema” feature, which cleans up blurry and shaky videos.

“This is what we’ve grown to expect from video,” Systrom remarked, playing shaky, blurry videos in the background. “We can do better.”

Instagram videos show up on users’ profiles just like photos. Hashtags work the same way with Instagram videos as they do with Instagram photos.

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love,” Systrom announced. “You can share the videos on your favorite social network.”

Videos in the Instagram feed will play automatically when users stop scrolling through them and settle on one. Video playback includes sound. Users can disable the autoplay feature.

Using Instagram Video

The Instagram screen on a mobile device looks like it always did, except there’s now a video icon at the bottom. To record, users tap the video icon, pull down a capture button and hold it down.

Users can get rid of any clip by touching a delete button at the top of the screen. To share their videos, users click the “Next” tab.

“I’ve used the Instagram video app and it’s very simple to use,” Greg Sterling, a senior analyst at Opus Research, told TechNewsWorld. “It’s got clear, nice filters, and I like the video stabilization.”

Eyeballing The Competition

The Instagram video app directly challenges Twitter’s Vine, whose developers are working on creating new features if tweets they posted recently are an indication of their intent.

Instagram has added “some interesting features that go above and beyond what we know Vine is doing today,” Gartner’s Blau said.

The Instagram video app “is going to be a big deal quite quickly,” remarked Sterling, “and I think Vine needs to rethink some of its features.”

Expect more features to be unveiled by Instagram, Vine, and possibly minor players.

Those minor players include Viddy, which lets users record 30-second videos on iPhones and Android and Windows Mobile devices, and Socialcam, which works on iOS and Android devices.

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