Instagram launches 15-second video feature

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-20 16:09:22-04

By Heather Kelly

MENLO PARK, California (CNN) — Look out Vine: Instagram isn’t just about sharing arty photos anymore.

On Thursday, the company announced its 130 million monthly users will now be able to shoot and share 15-second videos, dressed up with one of 13 special filters.The new video feature was made available to all iOS and Android Instagram users around the world Thursday as a free update to the existing Instagram app. The basic look of the app is the same, but a small movie icon has been added that takes you into video mode.The changes were announced by Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom during a press event at the headquarters of Facebook, which bought Instagram last year.”It’s everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves,” Systrom said.

The video-sharing feature was widely expected and puts Instagram in direct competition with Vine, the popular Twitter-owned app that lets users share looping six-second video clips. Vine has skyrocketed in popularity in the six months since it launched, attracting more than 13 million users. Many of the six-second videos have a unique look and feel, employing fast cuts and stop-motion animations to tell quirky little stories.

On Instagram, the videos can be between three and 15 seconds long and include any number of individual video clips. But the coolest feature may come after you shoot the video: 13 brand-new filters, created by an artist specifically for Instagram video. They do the usual tweaks to make video pop, like adding vignettes, upping the contrast and playing with color. There is also an image-stabilization feature to even out shaky videos shot on the go.

For now, videos can only be shot from within the Instagram app, and there is no way to upload existing video from your phone’s camera roll.

The 15-second limit was chosen after testing different times, said Systrom, who called it the right balance “between not too short that it constrains your creativity” and not so long that you have to wait a while for a file to upload.

In its two and a half years, Instagram has hosted 16 billion photos, Systrom said. Users post 1 billion likes a day, and 130 million people use the service each month, he said.

Systrom built up to the announcement with some flowery language about the significance of the new product.

“It’s a powerful way to learn about new concepts, ideas and causes that move the world forward in a significant way,” he said. “It’s our collective belief that the world is better off collected and shared permanently.”

Not to be outdone, Vine seems to be readying some new features itself. The app’s co-founders posted several Vines Wednesday that suggest users will soon have the ability to save drafts, splice bits of multiple Vines together and browse content based on categories and genres.

The video-sharing news is the latest step in Facebook’s quest to conquer mobile devices. The company has worked hard to increase revenue from mobile ads, which now make up 30% of the company’s ad revenue.

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