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At the end of January 2013 Twitter launched Vine, a video-sharing service based on an app the company acquired the previous October. Vine is a smartphone app that makes the process of capturing and uploading short videos a breeze. It's the video equivalent of Instagram, though thankfully people appear to be doing more with Vine than merely recording what they're eating on any given day.
At its core Vine is a simple way for anyone and everyone to record a video fit for consumption on social media sites. However, Vine has the capacity to be so much more. All it requires is some lateral thinking on the part of those making the videos. What follows are eight creative ways to use those six seconds you're afforded on each Vine video.
In the same way that normal text tweets can be embedded, so can those which include a Vine video. This means that an example for each of the creative uses for Vine has an accompanying video clip from a random Twitter user that will auto-play. They're all muted by default, but to turn the sound on just click the volume button on the top right-hand corner of each video.
Create a Stop Motion Animation
Stop motion is a form of animation which sees the creator move stationary figures around one frame at a time in order to create the illusion of movement. The best examples of the genre are the Wallace and Gromit films. Vine is the perfect opportunity for anyone to have a go at creating their own stop motion animation. Children especially will love experimenting with the notion of creating movement out of inanimate objects. Who knows, this could spawn a new generation of animators who fall for the craft through the simple process of trying it out using their parents' iPhone and a free app.
Demonstrate How To…
'How To' tutorials and videos are big business, with a huge number of websites dedicated to providing these nuggets of information. Most 'How To' videos are considerably longer than six seconds, but there's still scope to use Vine to record a short tutorial on a subject close to your heart.
Choose something that doesn't include more than a few steps, and something which won't require a commentary or added description to make it worthwhile. Preparing food and drink is an obvious example: a simple recipe would be easily explained by a Vine video and a list of ingredients included in the tweet.
Create a Holiday Postcard
— Faisal Hassan (@FAhassan) February 1, 2013
It's tradition to send postcards to your nearest and dearest when you're on holiday. It lets them know you're OK, tells them a little about where you are and what you're up to, and gives them a memento of your trip. Vine offers an alternative in the form of a holiday postcard. This doesn't have to be especially creative or involved. All you need to do is shoot a number of clips of either you, the location you're staying in, or a combination of the two. If your friends and family are following you on Twitter then they'll see the clip instantly, otherwise a simple email with the video link included would save you a lot of a trouble writing and sending physical postcards.
Compose a Short Review
Trying something new. Vine "review" of Dead Space 3. Written review later. vine.co/v/bnn5UJFpWIz
— Larry Frum (@lfrum) February 6, 2013
The Web has turned everyone into a potential critic. Do you need to listen to the views of people whose job it is to review new movies, music, or video games when the likes of Metacritic and IMDb mean you have a whole army of reviewers vying for your attention? Vine adds another way people can air their views on the latest releases.
While six seconds are clearly not enough to thoroughly review something, it's more than enough to give an overall impression followed by a rating or a simple thumbs up/thumbs down. After all, most people scroll to the bottom of reviews for the meaty stuff anyway. And Twitter is home to reviews of just a few words, meaning six seconds is an absolute luxury if used well.
Record a Video a Day
— Luxe Photography (@LuxePhotoSTL) February 5, 2013
There's a popular trend for taking a photo every day and sharing it online for the world to see. It's a compelling idea as it profiles (usually) a year in your life, with the various ups and downs captured and cataloged for eternity, assuming you never delete the photos. Photos are so 2010… it's time to crank it up a notch. Vine offers an easy way of capturing a video every day, offering you six seconds to record the happenings from each 24-hour period. You can either shoot all six seconds at the same time or shoot short snippets throughout the day that will more appropriately show what you have been up to.
Make a Visual Gag
— Pie (@NoFliesOnPie) February 3, 2013
It's entirely possible to fit a whole story into six seconds, as proven by the best 5-Second Films. In the same way the best short stories can leave more of a lasting impression than the worst full-length novels, the best short videos can resonate more than the longest uploaded to YouTube.
Crafting a compelling short video may be a hard task, but telling a visual gag is a good starting point. While normal jokes may work perfectly well on Twitter, sometimes a prop or other element is needed to make the punchline work. Vine offers the chance to create a short visual gag to share with people on the Web.
Conduct a Q&A Session
— Misyrlena E. (@misEEgkolfo) February 6, 2013
As Quora shows, people are eager to learn from others and/or eager to educate others. Some people, such as popular scientists, must get flooded with questions on Twitter and beyond, and they'll choose to either ignore them or answer them in a short tweet. They could conceivably now answer them in a video recorded on their smartphone. Vine offers the chance for anyone, famous or otherwise, to conduct a Q&A session on Twitter. People can tweet you questions which you can then happily answer in video form. The answers would still need to be fairly succinct in order to fit into the six-second limit, but it surely beats writing out a reply.
Track Weight Loss
The first 60 weeks of my weight loss journey. Aka 150 lbs lost. vine.co/v/bJlvLIQbAAw
— Andy (@JDA81) January 31, 2013
When a person tries to lose weight there are a few things that can really help keep them on the right path. Forget the various apps and websites designed to chart progress and offer encouragement, seeing your body change for the better — and having other people notice that change — can make all the difference.
Some people use the 'photo a day' method to chart their weight loss, but Vine offers the video equivalent. You could shoot a video once a week showing the various parts of your body and how they're changing, with 52 Vine videos charting one whole year in the life of someone endeavoring to get fitter and healthier.
This list represents a mere soupçon of the various ways Vine videos could be used. By all means try out whichever of these take your fancy, but then experiment in order to create your own original Vine videos. The old adage that it isn't about the length it's about how you use it goes for videos just as much as it does, well, other things.
Have you used the Vine app yet? If so, what was your first instinct in terms of the kind of video you wanted to create? Have you, or will you, try any of the above suggestions for creative uses for the service? If you do so then please include a link to your video in the comments section below. If not then feel free to have your say on the subject regardless. Everybody is welcome, as per usual.
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