Instagram & Vine, 2 Free iOS Apps for Making Quick Videos

A while back I talked about several apps that let you take short videos quickly. They were fun and addressed a growing niche. People like to not only shoot photos with their iPhones, but movies as well, and they want to do it quickly and without fuss.

Since I wrote that article there's been several developments on the quick video front. First and foremost, the ever popular Instagram now lets you record and post videos. Second of all, there's Vine, and new social service with a primary focus on videos.

Free on iTunes

There's a lot to like about both apps and that's my focus in this week's Free on iTunes. Hang with me while take a deeper look into these fairly new services.

Vine [11.9 MB, all iOS devices iOS 5.0 or later, Vine Labs Inc.]
How much of life can you capture in 6 seconds?

VineConstant Editor's Pick was funny at first, now not so much

Turns out the answer is quite a lot. That's what Vine attempts to capitalize on and it does it in a way that makes you want to shoot a video.

First of all, shooting a video is falling-off-a-log simple. Point and press. That's it.

Point your iPhone at whatever it is you want to shoot, touch and hold the screen. As long as you touch the screen the video records, up to six seconds worth. Release if you want to change scenery. A line gauges your time. The video is automagically dumped into your camera roll and the video is a square format which would make it compatible with other apps. Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I found no way to post vids I made with other apps in Vine, which limits your creativity a lot.

VineShooting Vine movies is easy. just tap and hold

Tagging your vids help others find it and you can choose some of the popular tags so that your post appears where you want. If you posted something you later wish you hadn't, you can delete it. A good thing.

What you shoot and upload to Vine's server gets categorized into channels to make it easier to find similar vids. You can limit who sees your posting to only those who follow you, and if you do so (according to Vine), others must request and be approved by you to follow you. So, anything you upload on Vine is there for the world to see by default unless you opt out.

Speaking of which, the other part of Vine is its social aspect. If you're familiar with Instagram then you won't have a problem with Vine's service.

VineLots of options for tagging and finding vids in Vine

Well, maybe you will. See, Vine's home screen always shows the most popular video, so far, for me at least, that video that hasn't changed. So, whenever I fire up the app that six second loop of some guy rapping about gummy candy is what I see, over and over and over again. Calling it annoying is an understatement.

You can explore, search or find vids by categories, and there are some pretty interesting vids out there.

Give Vine a run. You'll be surprised how much you can pack into six seconds.

Instagram Video [14.5 MB, all iOS devices iOS 5.0 or later, Burbin Inc.]
If six seconds is too short and you'd really like to ability to add filters to your videos then take a look at Instagram, which now sports thew ability to shoot and post said vids.

InstagramNew video option in Instagram is an easy and welcomed addition

Its the same Instagram that millions of folks use to shoot and post picts, but now there's a movie button. Tap it and you can start shooting up to eleven seconds worth of movie magic. It works the same as Vine, you shoot whenever you finger touches the screen, but it gets far more interesting once your video is shot.

Tap the "Next" button and you are present with familiar filter options. Your movie previews as you tap through the filters to see which provides the look you want. There's an anti-shake filter as well, but it didn't seem to have much affect.

Tap "Next" again and you can select a cover frame from your movie. An excellent idea.


Tap "Next" one final time and you can title and tag and share your vid, just as you would any Instagram photo.

Uploaded video appear intermixed with photos and start playing as soon as the cover frame is centered on your screen. There's no way that I'm aware of to explore just videos or just photos.

I don't see a way to upload videos shot with other apps as you can with photos, nor is there a way to shoot Instagram videos for posting later. Once you've entered the video process there's no easy way to back out. Movies you've shot with Instagram don't get saved to your camera roll until you attempt to post them. If your posting fails and you cancel the attempt, the video remains on your camera roll, but you won't be able to post it in Instagram later.

instagramSelecting a cover shot is a great idea

This became painfully apparent last night as I took videos of fireworks. I had to go through the rigamarole of filtering, tagging, sharing and so on before I could get the app to a place where I could shoot another video. All the videos failed to upload, which was OK by me because some I would have deleted anyway, but once I cancelled the upload process those video are forever outside of Instagram. What a shame. I'm hoping the makers of Instagram fixes this quickly.

InstagramVids are intermixed with pix and plays automagically

Even with this severe limitation Instagram is my favorite way to shoot short videos now. If you have Instagram give the video option a whirl. If you don't have Instagram I suggest you get it and see what sort of video making mischief you can get into this Summer.

That's a wrap for this week.

This week's free App of the Week looks like a winner. Wide Sky is a puzzler and looks like a lot of fun.