Vine vs Cinemagram: A Casual User’s Take (Updated)

Instagram has become something of a cultural sensation. Sure, Facebook paid out an ungodly sum of $1 billion to buy up the craze last Spring. Ah, but can any of those overly-filtered images move? Hmmmmm? I think not. Static images? That’s so 19th century daguerreotype.

Enter Cinemagram and Twitter’s Vine, two iOS apps looking to capture the hearts of moving image enthusiasts. I won’t deep-dive into every feature under their respective hoods, but here are some initial thoughts after some light, casual use.

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Cinemagram is essentially a gif-maker. You are limited to 4-second clips, but you can shoot a new video or choose an existing video of any length and choose any 4-second clip. You simply press the screen to start recording and release when you are ready to stop. As a gif, of course, there is no sound, but there are a host of editing options. You can control playback speed as well as add Instagram-like filters like sepia and B&W. You can draw over the image to add effects and reverse loop the gif as well. Sharing is pretty frictionless with Twitter Facebook, Tumblr, and direct emailing options. However, a viewer must download Cinemagram (still iOS only) to natively view a ‘cine,’ (pronunced as in Spanish, seen-ay) as they are called. A recent update added stitching together of up to two cines.

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While Cinemagram may seem to be Twitter-owned Vine’s most direct competition, I believe Twitter is hunting bigger game, namely Facebook-owned Instagram. Vine uses the same hold-and-release method of recording, but in Vine’s case the recordings are full-on videos with audio; rather than a gif-maker, Vine is more of a montage-maker. Users have 6 seconds to play with to ‘capture life’s motions,’ as Vine puts it. Within those 6 seconds, you can stop and start as many times as your fast fingers can manage. Here is a sample video I created at a kid’s party to show the full partygoer list. I basically created 13 micro-videos and the Vine app seamlessly stitched them. Neat. Ass. Trick. Plus as a bonus, you can view Vines natively in Twitter for iOS with other third party Twitter apps to follow. I think this app is going to stimulate a ton of experimental filmmaking; the 6-second limitation may do for video-making what Twitter’s 140 character limit did for pithy posting.

It’s not all rosy for Vine, though. It was a bug-filled launch, with Facebook connectivity issues, security holes, and, of course, the porn problem.

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I like gifs. We ALL like gifs. Gifs are the Internet’s current raison d’être. But I still think Vine is more interesting than Cinemagram because of it’s fast-fire editing and storytelling capabilities. Cinemagram may have more robust Instagram-like editing options, but I still find more use for the simple effectiveness of micro-movies. Real movies demonstrating real life.

Either way you lean in the showdown, there’s no doubt creativity wins the day.

Update: Added one more playful dessert video.

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