Video on Instagram: first impressions

Filtered car black and white

Once in the Instagram news feed, videos are marked with a video camera icon to show they're not static images. You can press them to play, but if you linger over a video long enough (a matter of a second or two) the video will automatically start playing, just like in Vine. Scrolling away causes the video to stop.

As we mentioned earlier, Instagram videos don't loop like Vines but instead stop completely until you press play again. It actually felt like going from a tea party to a playground whenever we switched from Instagram to Vine.


One feature unique to iOS but that we were told "the team" is working to bring to Android is called Cinema, an image stabilization feature that's supposed to eliminate excess movement in your videos.

From the way Systrom told it, Cinema is a highly involved piece of technology that video scientists helped develop, yet while we noticed less instability in our videos, it's not the all-in-one fix it Instagram talked it up to be. Shakiness is noticeably reduced when it's on, to be sure, but not so much that we would completely miss it if it were off.

Cinema is automatically on, however, so you may never take an un-Cinematic iOS photo again. Oddly enough, the Cinema icon (basically a camera with lines to express movement) didn't come up when we tested Video on Instagram at home.

Very early verdict

We truly enjoyed using Video on Instagram. It was, simply put, fun.

All the tools are there to make what amounts to a mini movie, especially with the ability to end a clip and jump to another scene, throwing a little more creativity in with the addition of a filter. Vine has the first part, but there's a sense of more control in Instagram's version.

Buffer on Vine

We experienced no lag times with Video on Instagram, by the way, whereas it took 30 seconds or more for Vine to render a video. It may be a case of the hardware we were using, but our buffer times were almost non-existent on Instagram.

As Systrom put it, the company didn't want to introduce a complex editing interface, and though it has more steps and more whistles than Vine, it really is as easy as photo editing tools come.

Vine is, at its root, elementary: record the video, caption the video, post the video. Though rudimentary, Vine has amassed 13 million users on iOS alone since launch, so it's certainly striking a cord for people.

People are making some remarkably creative and charming videos in six seconds, and Vine has promised to unveil new features very soon. Whether they'll rival what Instagram has brought forth, we'll wait and see, but Vine has some serious competition for amateur videographers out there.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.