Facebook Unveils Instagram Video
June 21, 2013

Video Feature Added To Instagram

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Facebook-owned Instagram unveiled on Thursday a new video feature for the popular photo-sharing service, allowing members to create and share short video clips of 15 seconds or less.

Facebook had hinted earlier this week that such an announcement was around the corner.

Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom demonstrated the video features to members of the media Thursday morning at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters, describing the app as "everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves."

The new feature allows users to capture a continuous video clip, or a series of clips, to create a video 3 to 15 seconds long.

In keeping with Instagram’s penchant for stylized photos, the company has also created 13 new video filters, and members can choose a cover frame for display, Systrom said according to Scott Martin of USA Today.

"What we did to photos we just did to video.”

The video feature is available immediately on iOS and Android, although video capture is only available to Android users running Jelly Bean or higher, reports Jennifer Van Grove of CNET.

Users will see a movie camera icon that they can tap to enter video mode, and capture up to 15 seconds of video, clip by clip.

Members can press and hold the movie button to take video, and then release to pause the capture to resume later. They can also delete individual clips to re-record and switch between front- and back-facing cameras.

Systrom said the feature that changes everything is “Cinema,” which provides cinematic stabilization for videos and acts as an automatic enhancer that optimizes members' 15-second clips.

The addition of a video feature puts Instagram in competition with Twitter-owned Vine, the iPhone and Android video app for combining tiny video clips into looping 6-second videos that resemble animated GIFs. Vine has attracted some 13 million registered users in just a few months alone.

During his presentation, Systrom highlighted features that differentiate Instagram’s new video feature from Vine, such as special video filters, the “Cinema” tool and the ability to quickly edit the video by deleting any clip.

When asked by a reporter why Instagram didn’t replicate Vine’s time limit of 6 seconds, instead of 15 seconds, Systrom said it was an “artistic choice” and that it just “felt right.”

Systrom’s presentation underscores how important the Instagram app has become to Facebook’s mobile ambitions.

Several members of Facebook’s management team, including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who kicked off the event, and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, were present at Thursday’s conference.

While video is becoming an increasingly important area for Facebook, Systrom avoided questions on Thursday about how video on Instagram might represent new advertising opportunities. Instagram does not currently sell any ads.

Since younger social network users are often drawn to the latest new thing, some analysts say it is critical that Facebook continually introduce new products amid fierce competition from rival Internet services and social-networking startups.

Facebook currently has more than 1.1 billion active users worldwide, although its once-skyrocketing US growth rate has slowed in recent months.