Jun 21, 2013
Instagram has just added a big new feature: video. And it’s launched on Android as part of the version 4.0 update.
Video shooting is very similar to Vine, where tapping and holding, in this case on a set “record” button, is used to record video, and allows for jump-cuts. There’s not a way to import video inâ€¦yet, which could be Facebook and Instagram trying to get some of the spontaneity that has defined Vine’s videos. However, without loops like Vine has, it may be aiming for more of a formal levity in its productions from users.
On the production side of things, front and rear cameras can be used. Of course, there’s the famous filters that are also available as the one post-production open, there’s no editing of what was recorded. Users also select a video snapshot that is used as the thumbnail in the stream, with users tapping on the video to launch it. The thumbnail also serves as a backwards-compatibility mechanism: they are what display in apps that display Instagram previews and on earlier versions of the app. It’s really quite clever.
Now, obviously Instagram’s format is obviously longer than Vine’s is, and there may be a particularly-clever reason for that: monetizing. As one astute Twitter user points out, 15 seconds is a commonly-used advertising time. So, while videos would need to be formatted to the square format that Instagram uses, this could be their trojan horse way that they get advertising in: by instead of trying to make it fit with square images, to put videos in users’ feeds. That links are still unclickable seems like something that will change down the line.
So, while videos bring big changes to Instagram, it’s likely that Facebook’s seeing this as a way to not only expand the service, but to get some of that billion dollars or so they paid back for it. So prepare for ads, Instagram users! But hey, at least there’s filtered videos now.