Instagram announced video sharing capabilities this week at a special event in Facebook’s headquarters, giving Twitter’s Vine a run for its money. Instagram will enable 15-second clips of video (with a three second minimum), a bet on slightly larger content over Vine’s six seconds, and comes backed with 13 different filtering capabilities that work similarly to its photography filters, unlike Vine which presents clips as is.
Vine, which launched a mere five months ago and was acquired by Twitter, offers six second videos within tweets. The service has close to 20 million users. Instagram, on the other hand, has 130 million users.
Through a “cinema” feature, Instagram also corrects for camera shake so videos don’t suffer that earthquake Star Trek effect. The “cinema” function is currently only available for iPhone, though an Android version is expected.
Sections can also be deleted and re-recorded to enable what Instagram founder Kevin Systrom described as a “better collage.”
“What we did to photos we just did for video,” Systrom said.
The 15-second clip lengths were chosen strategically to be the ideal “Goldilocks” length, Systrom said, not too long and not too short.
Instagram also presents the videos differently than Vine, which features the clips on a continual playback loop. Instagram instead plays each video once in the background without looping, with the video itself designated with a small icon in the corner. The first version of the app requires videos to be filmed directly by the app, though future versions will reportedly also upload video from a phone’s library.
Video has been on Instagram for a number of years now, but the founders said they took time with the platform to get it right. Enabling editing filtering for video is inherently complex, especially as the company strove to make its video features as simple to use as its photo app.
“We’ve worked a ton on making it fast, simple and beautiful,” Systrom stated.
Instagram also has a leg up over Vine in its sharing capabilities. Vine shares videos only through Vine, Facebook, and Twitter. Instagram, like its photos, shares video through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, foursquare, and email.
Neither Instagram nor Vine currently run advertising through their platform, though it’s likely only a matter of time. It would be easy to insert short video content into the video feeds of users of either service, similar to Facebook’s approach with sponsored posts.
About one in 10 iPhone owners has downloaded the Vine app, while a third of iPhone users have Instagram, according to Onavo Insights, the research firm. Vine’s advantage is its solid user base already sharing video, and its narrower time window inspires a creative approach that might be more digestible for viewers on a quick feed. Instagram, on the other hand, offers better user friendly video editing capabilities, which is what made its photo service so popular. It will definitely eat into Vine’s popularity, though Vine already has a substantial base that isn’t likely to abandon the service anytime soon.