Last week, Instagram unveiled its new video option, and within seconds, the Internet was writing the obituary for Vine, Twitter’s burgeoning social media network centered around 6 second long microbursts of video. It seemed like an obvious call: Instagram’s install base in about a bajillion times the size of Vine, and its interface is infinitely better (just try tagging a friend on Vine — it’s a pain in the ass).
However, is this really the end for Vine? Comparing and contrasting both video networks after the jump…
1. Length and Looping
Vine’s videos are famously 6 seconds long, which can be infuriatingly short for on-the-go filmmakers. However, for the viewer, that’s a gloriously perfect bite-sized amount of time to ingest. It’s long enough to create a quick narrative, but short enough to make even the most tedious videos tolerable. Most importantly, the six second limit has forced users to be inventive and creative in creating their videos, and often time, there’s so much packed in those scant few moments that half the fun is going back and watching these clips again and again and again. Thankfully, Vine gives us an assist by auto-looping each video, which often has the added benefit of making the content funnier the more it repeats. There’s a certain frantic absurdism on Vine that’s infectious and endearing, and I’m not sure we’ve seen that yet on Instagram.
Granted, we can always make short videos on Instagram, but why do that when you have a glorious fifteen full seconds to exploit? Yes, Instagram more than doubles Vine’s video length, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but man, those extra nine seconds can be a doozy. Off the bat, the extra breathing room affords us fun things like cooking posts or panoramic shots, but the jury is still out on whether or not Instagram videos can ever be as fun as Vine. Plus, no looping. That’s no fun. Advantage: Vine (for now).
Having debuted earlier this year, Vine has had a jumpstart in the debugging process, which means that recording is pretty easy. Just press the screen and go. It’s as simple and intuitive as can be. One downside: no focus control. It’s not generally a problem, but when a closeup is required (say, while making a video about tomatoes), Vine takes forever to focus on the proper object. Instagram, on the other hand, has a handy-dandy focus and exposure feature. And that’s where the good stuff ends. Recording on Instagram video is a buggy disaster. Shots are often clipped — either at the start or finish — which leaves us with the nagging sense that the record button doesn’t always play nice with our thumbs. Additionally, the content meter fills up in a stuttering, herky-jerky way. Half the time my timing gets thrown off because I fear the app isn’t even recording. Perhaps most annoyingly, Instagram often forces users to wrap things up, even when there’s clearly a milimeter left on the content meter. When fractions of seconds can make or break a clip, not being able to use the full 15 seconds is wildly frustrating. Advantage: Vine
This area is pretty easy. Vine has no editing capabilities. It’s all or nothing. In some ways, that on-the-fly mentality is pretty awesome. But oh how maddening to have an awesome Vine video ruined by a calamitous final shot. Instagram, however, lets users edit (sort of). We have the ability to delete last shot of any video, which has certainly been helpful (especially when timing issues due to buggy recording mess things up). Unfortunately, there’s no way to splice our a crappy take that’s in the middle of the video without deleting other ensuing content too, but it’s not really a big deal. Perhaps too much editing functionality would remove the spontaneous vibe of these Smartphone videos. Advantage: Instagram
Back in the day, Vine gave me frequent headaches. Nothing but bugs. But most of those bugs have been ironed out, which means recording and uploading is a breeze. If a connection is slow, Vine happily stores the video in a queue and waits for a better time. Instagram’s performance, however, is akin to Russian roulette. On multiple times, I’ve meticulously recorded videos, only to have the app quit and lose all my content. If, somehow, this fate doesn’t fall upon you, then you might find yourself stuck in a perpetual state of “processing.” This can go on for minutes… hours, even. Eventually, you’ll have to force-quit the app, and in the process, lose your video. Sometimes, this is just an annoyance, but if you’ve spent time documenting a process that cannot be duplicated (or caught something amazing by happenstance), the last thing you want is for that video to be lost and gone forever. Advantage: Vine (MAJORLY)
5. Effects & Filters
Vine has no filters. Instagram has a variety for videos. I have yet to use them, but it’s kind of cool that they’re there. Advantage: Instagram
When it comes to hashtags, Vine is actually pretty good at autofill. I’m often impressed. Instagram, however, always seems to forget the tags I commonly use, which seems like a fairly amateur mistake. That being said, when it comes to tagging people and other users, Instagram is great. The app intuitively suggests not just contacts but other users who have already commented on a post. This makes responding to a post a breeze. Vine is pretty miserable in this realm. Start typing in the name of a friend, and it suggests twenty names that aren’t even in your contact list. Forget responding to a commenter. It’s a disaster. Advantage: Instagram
Vine allows all videos to be posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Vine. And if you’re feeling particularly private, none of the above. That’s right: you can record a video and keep it offline. It’s a nice touch. However, when it comes to generating a link to your video, the process becomes convoluted. First off, Vine only creates a link if you’ve previously shared the video to Facebook or Twitter (and for the record, Vines that are shared to Facebook look very strange in the News Feed and Timeline). Once that video has been shared, you basically have to click “share” a second time, then click on “Embed.” This takes you to an email composition screen, which is groovy, but if you want to text the link to your friend, you then have to copy the link from the email, trash the draft, and then past the link in a text. Sort of ridiculous for a mobile app. I mean, why ignore such a major part of mobile communication? Instagram fares much better, allowing users to simply copy the link from the share button and paste as they wish in any app. Advantage: Instagram
Well, I mean… Instagram doesn’t allow it. Vine does. Advantage: No comment.
For the moment, both apps have their strengths and weaknesses. I’m not sure Vine will ultimately win this bout, but for now, it’s got a few rounds left. I’m sticking with both.
What do you think?
And remember you can follow me on Instgram AND Vine with the username bsideblog.