The short and shorter of video

Vine, Instagram go head-to-head

Instagram is fighting for position as the supreme video-sharing app in a tough battle with messaging sensation Vine. While one may lose, smartphone users are the all-round winner.

Whether you choose Instagram or Vine, just know that the whole world is waiting to see you lip-syncing a Beatles song while driving.

On paper, it has to be Instagram. The three-year-old camera app has had 130 million downloads, while Vine has just bragged about hitting one-tenth of that. The Instagram video module is tightly built into the main app, while Vine's is a separate download.

It should be noted that some "traditionalists" (i.e. last year's smartphone set) have put up a bit of resistance to the campaign to turn Instagram from the almost perfect photo-sharing app into a larger, slightly more complicated machine that now does video.

Instagram's backers retort that someone had to do it. The world needs 15-second videos, if only to record those magic moments and send them to your Facebook page just before the red-faced officer of the law shouts: "Give me that thing, you communist!"

As for the rest of it? It is not so clear whether Instagram video or Vine will capture your hearts. It seems unlikely, however, that both will.

Vine takes videos of six seconds. It thus earns my title as the Twitter of vid.

And during this "filming" with Vine, you can actually stop and start the video app twice, meaning you can wind up with two or three of the world's mini-est videos imaginable. You cannot edit these cinematic masterpieces, but you can upload them to Facebook or Twitter _ and nowhere else, a huge drawback.

The new module of the Instagram app allows videos of up to 15 seconds. It then has 13 filters, or editing aides, much like the original photo app. These allow you to do tweak colours and saturation, to give it a vintage look, say, or a retro one or a pop one. Each tweak is a single tap, of course.

There is a separate filter, Cinema, which will take some or all of the hand-shaking out of the video. Then add a caption, then add a cover, then put it on your Photo Map and then email it, or upload directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr or Foursquare.

Post-production and distribution, then, is Instagram over Vine by a mile.

Also, Instagram's search for tags and similar interests is ahead of Vine. This shows the apps' roots, with Instagram always seeking to be the platform for the perfect photo, and the people to appreciate it. One terrific feature of Vine, however, is that its videos loop _ they play, end and start again. Instagram's play, end and stop.

So out of the chute, as the cowboys say, Instagram is probably going to take most of the early honours, on available features.

But you'd have to be a bit of a pessimist to think that Vine is going to sit and pout about it. Expect Thailand's chat king to come out with versions 2, 3 and 4 of the video app quickly. And let's hope it does, because the potential is excellent.


Email: wandasloan@gmail.com

About the author

columnist
Writer: Wanda Sloan
Position: Reporter