Vine Grows Up, Lets You Edit and Upload Existing Video!!
The six-second, looping-video-sharing service Vine announced several new tools today designed to make it easier to shoot and edit videos from your phone. It also handed out some nice round numbers that don’t reveal much about how many people are shooting Vines, but certainly indicate lots of people are watching. Most importantly, it will now let you upload video.
There are really two parts to what Vine is announcing today: the new tools—which really add a level of robustness to the app it didn’t previously have but aren’t revolutionary, and the viewership numbers, which it largely glosses over but do demonstrate a robust audience. Take them together and it seems like the upstart little app has suddenly grown up into a mature video-sharing platform.
The biggest change is that people can now dip into their camera rolls and use existing videos they’ve recorded for Vines. Previously, you had to shoot video in-app. This means that if you’ve got, say, a two minute video of your dog burping in slow motion, you can now suck up a six second highlight reel from that and use it in a new Vine.
Other tools include a focus-lock feature for the front-facing (selfie) camera, editing features like a duplicating button that lets you repeat a shot, a mute button to wipe out audio, and a “torch” mode, which turns on your phone’s flash so you can shoot in the dark. It’s rolling out the new Vine for iOS today, and Android is coming shortly thereafter, according to the company.
Then there are the numbers. Vine says that more than 100 million people watch Vines every month and that Vine loops play more than a billion times every day. That former number is SuperBowl audience-sized (even if it’s not all viewing at once). And the latter number means Vine is playing something like 190 years of video a day. Together, they speak to how many places people are watching—on the Web embedded in Web pages, in-app, on Facebook, and other places. This doesn’t even count things like the best-of-Vine compilations that are all over YouTube. It was clear from the get-go that Vine was going to be pretty big. But still those numbers are surprisingly big.
Vine has already generated its own culture with its own memes and hits and even stars. It is increasingly becoming a way for people to communicate with the world about things that are important to the culture at large.
Now Vine is signaling that it’s leveling up, and it demands to be taken seriously. It has tools to make anyone an on-the-go auteur, and a big audience that it wants people to know about. The question is: if Vine manages to grow into a mainstream tool that’s not just watched, but also used, by many millions of people, can it still keep that same creative culture? Can it be both hip and popular? That seems to be the new goal. It will be interesting to see if it can pull it off.