Lately I’ve been witness to a new lil somethin’ on the internets.  I probably don’t use Twitter like everyone else in my industry does; I like to follow my friends, sports parody accounts and Kate Upton. Kate Upton gets full credit for introducing me to a new toy called VINE.

Imagine if you had less than six seconds to create your own looping video, what would you do?  How would you express yourself with less than six seconds of a video?  Would you make a funny film?  An art piece?  A video of your cat?  GIFs have been around for forever. Not literally, but in terms of computers, FOREVER.  They’re great!  My friends and I at Stone Ward use GIFs all the time to communicate.  It’s like quoting the perfect line of a movie at the perfect time in response to something someone does or says.  We pretty much don’t even use words anymore.  Just GIFs.

For example:

Wanna communicate with GIFs?  Check out

My first thought was that a Vine is like a GIF with sound since it is essentially a group of sequential frames with a loop.  After a little bit of exploring I found that it is much more. You’re all probably wondering the same thing right now: “What did Kate Upton have to do with any of this?” The first Vine videos I ever saw were some of Kate Upton’s posts.  They were basically just snapshots of everyone in the greenroom or on set at the time of whatever shoot or show she was on. Unfortunately I wasn’t impressed; sorry Kate.  (Maybe you should hand someone else the phone and  ask someone to make a Vine video of you!)  That’s the other thing: it seems as if Vine is only available for mobile.  The way it works is you touch the screen, it records, you let off, it stops, touch again and repeat.  You can record up to six seconds and it loops.

Upon further research I found that people are making all kinds of really interesting Vine videos! You can think of Vine as many different things.  Some people are making funny looping vines, some are making six-second shorts that are hilarious, some users are doing how-to videos; and there seems to be even more possibilities.  Here are some good examples:


There is an interesting bit of skill that goes into making these super shorts.  The interface only lets you give it a go once.  If you mess up you have to start all over again.  As a director, that added difficulty of having one chance to make it right is what really impresses me about some of these.  To add another level of complexity is to think about audio.  You’re touching your screen in accordance to the action you are seeing on your mobile screen and unless you are trying to make use of dialogue you may not even realize what is being recorded on the audio track.


— Ian Padgham (@origiful) January 29, 2013

This Vine video is very interesting in that while using a stop motion technique the filmmaker (or vinemaker?) is capturing his story a few frames at a time.  If you listen to the audio there seems to be somewhat of a melody accompanying the video.  I wonder if that was an accident or was the creativity there to plan out what notes would be playing on a midi keyboard while they captured each frame?  The combination of creative audio with good video is what really sets a lot of these Vine videos apart.

Surely Vine will climb its way into marketers’ garden of branding techniques.  Kate Upton is already promoting Skull Candy headphones in some of her Vine video posts.  I doubt that was solely her idea.  As a business owner myself, I see the benefits of using platforms like Instagram and even Vine for my company.   The #howto hashtag is perfect for my self-serve frozen dessert shop.


— Cody Scott (@codylscott) February 20, 2013




Explore the app for a minute or two and you’ll find all kinds of uses that involve art pieces, cute kids, even cuter animals, food, how-to videos and funny scenes that could easily be tagged or branded to generate buzz for businesses.

Vine is stemming in all directions, take a look at all the different shorts on the app and at first glance you’ll probably think, “What am I looking at?”  There doesn’t seem to be any one answer to that question.  Funny super shorts, informative how-to videos in just six seconds or even things that are just beautiful (#nature); they are all there.  But don’t get me wrong, for every good Vine video there are probably 50 bad ones.  Not everyone is a filmmaker, but maybe apps like this can help people appreciate better filmmaking and as a result in the future we will see better films with better stories, or at least more cat videos.  One can only dream.