I am beginning to think that “Instagram for video” is not where it’s gonna go. Vine is closer to YouTube than Instagram. We are consuming videos from the 1% of professional creators and another 4% of amateur creators, instead of the other 95% of everyone who shares photos on Instagram and Facebook. Our bar is just higher for video. Filters helped raised the floor for photos to a point where almost anyone who knows how to use a smartphone camera can take great-looking photographs, and we would all be happy enough looking at them. In the rare case that a photo is actually bad, the cost in terms of time spent consuming that photo is minimal anyway. This is not the case with video.
Socialcam had filters, text overlays, soundtracks that you can choose from, etc., but the videos I made of a birthday celebration was not fun to watch at all (especially given that it was more than a minute long). With editing and upload time, it also took a lot of effort to make. I’ve taken Instagram photos at other birthday celebrations and they always look fun and epic. Instagram also tackled video and they have the advantage of a built-in audience. As far as I can tell, no one is creating really interesting videos to watch on Instagram. If you find one, chances are it’s coming from a brand like Oreos investing money with a set, a script, professional actors and all that. If not, maybe the video is coming from a celebrity, so anything is interesting…video or photo or sound or text. That doesn’t say much.
Vine is the closest to nailing it. The composition tools are the best, including features geared specifically towards the most creative / artsy types like “ghost mode” and infinite loop. The 6-second time limit is just long enough to be interesting, and short enough that if the video sucks, you don’t feel like you’ve wasted a ton of time. However, I still haven’t been able to create great Vine videos myself because I’m unimaginative like most. This is why I think when it comes to a video social network, it’s not about filters or soundtracks or editing tools – it’s just about creativity. Can you come up with a script to tell an entertaining story in 6 seconds? You don’t really “capture and share moments” on Vine like you do on Instagram and leave the rest to our imagination. With videos, people expect to watch you tell a story, and unlike moments, stories aren’t out there for you to capture. You have to make it up. What do you think?