A not-so-secret Instagram feature officially took shape today at a press conference. Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom introduced Video on Instagram for users who want to save and share short video clips in addition to or instead of still snapshots.
Instagram is an app owned by Facebook. Video on Instagram is a direct competitor to another video app Vine, which is owned by Twitter. Thus, putting two social media titans head-to-head.
Fifteen seconds of video can be recorded on Instagram, which is longer than Vine's 6 seconds. Paraphrasing Goldilocks, Systrom said the amount of time for one video file is "not to short" and "not to long" implying fifteen seconds is just right.
Instagram's initial screen remains the same and familiar for current Instagram-ers. The first step to recording video is the same as snapping a picture - touch the blue "capture" button on the bottom-center of the screen.
Users activate Instagram's video feature by touching a new video icon on the lower right hand side of the app's interface. Under a live preview monitor, a red button appears for people to press-and-hold to record. A person can press-and-hold to record seamlessly for the full fifteen seconds or press and lift, press and lift their thumb or finger to create clips until fifteen seconds are filled.
Here's an interesting feature while someone is recording. If they do not like the last clip they shot, there is a delete icon to the left of the red button for them to press. When they do, the last video clip is highlighted and can be deleted. It was unclear at the presentation whether multiple or in-between video chunks can be deleted.
Nonetheless, once the clip collage is done, one can proceed with more recording or moving on by hitting "Next." A choice of thirteen special effects is offered to apply to the video similar to the photo enhancement choices. "Normal" can be chosen for no effects.
Hit "Next" again and another non-Vine-like feature appears. One can scroll through the just recorded video and choose a cover frame, a still image from the video to represent the entire recording.
"Next" the user goes to a preview page where they go through the final options of adding a caption with or without hashtags and mentions of fellow Instagram-ians, naming a location and sharing on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) or by email.
Final videos can be seen by others on mobile devices or the web. A video is denoted with a small triangle play icon in the upper right of its cover frame.
After a recap, Systrom concisely said the Video On Instagram is "everything we know and love about Instagram but it moves." Then he threw out a bonus item. He offered a video stabilization program called Cinema that takes the shakiness out of shaky, hand-held video.
Not to be outdone, the founders of Vine reportedly announced their own updates ahead of the telegraphed Instagram event. Tech news websites The Verge and Techcrunch report Dom Hoffman and Rus Yusopov used their video app to showcase changes to Vine's look and added features.
Virtual gauntlets are continually thrown in the war for social cyberspace. The video spoils go to mobile users who are winners with more more choices to make movies of their life for the real world to see.