|6 seconds to shoot my masterpiece?|
What can you do in 6 seconds? World record sprinters can't even run 100m in 6 seconds. The average MTV-style cut in a video used to be about 2 seconds. So you can fit about 3 shots in a typical music video. Well, 6 seconds is all you get in a Vine video.
What is a Vine
video, you might ask? Well, it's a video that you can shoot and post in a social media app called Vine. You could call it the Twitter of video. Only rather than than 140 character tweets, you're allowed 6 second video posts. Actually, saying it is the Twitter of videos is quite appropriate as Vine was acquired by Twitter a mere 4 months after the app debuted last year in January 24, 2012.
I've always been fascinated by new or emerging media that changes the way we human beings express ourselves and communicate. Watching Vine videos makes me think of a mashup of YouTube and Twitter. And like YouTube and Twitter has already done, I believe Vine can be a global game changer. On a mundane level, it could change how we produce and distribute video content. On a more profound level, I think it will change how human beings view and interpret the world.
OK, enough about what it could do in the future. What can it do now? First, let's go over how you make a video. Videos are shot by pressing your iPhone's screen (sorry Android users. Only iOS devices so far). You can make "cuts" by letting go of the screen before shooting again by pressing the screen again. You can make some "real-time" video editing decisions, but you can't go back and re-edit. So you have to put your video piece together in a linear and relatively quick fashion. After you're done, you can post it into your Vine wall and share it with your Vine friends via Facebook, Twitter or Vine itself. Other than that the dynamic is that you only have 6 seconds to socially communicate your moment, feeling, story or idea.
What the heck can you do with 6 seconds? The current user community is still exploring. But there does seem to be some emerging genres and methods even at this early stage. My favorite Vine clip so far combines stop-motion animation with live action:
I'm astounded by the amount of creativity already out there. In the short history of Vine, there have been some really good 6 second videos made. Genres I've noticed range from comedy, mood pieces, travelogues and loops. But the best place to see the best of what's out there is to view "Editor's Picks" and "What's Popular". What's popular are short bursts of YouTube style silliness. For example, quick jokes, commentaries, punchlines or bizarre fare you might find on YouTube are quite popular. The Editor's Picks tend to be more "artful" and illustrate some of the potential language of 6 second videos. The techniques I've found most clever and entertaining include loops
, recursive loops
and stop-motion animation
I admit that I do enjoy some of these short video bursts of entertainment or short video journals. But I find it interesting to view short POV clips from friends traveling around the world. In today's busy, rapid, moving mass media, I may not have time to read their blogs, view their video blogs or even check on their social media walls every day. But I do have 6 seconds every few days to experience and see the world through their eyes. Now if we use a little imagination, I think it's possible to see how this could affect the language of journalism, communication and education.
All this new technology and the speed at which people are using it can actually be quite overwhelming. I was slightly intimidated after viewing some of the best stuff out there. What masterpiece could I possibly come up with in 6 seconds? But I eventually decided to just shoot for experimentation and fun. I did find it helpful to sit and chat with a few friends about the possibilities. That's exactly what I did one afternoon right before eating ice cream. A few friends helped me jam on an idea and based on that conversation I shot my favorite personal Vine video so far:
Vine has already brought a small group of my friends around the world together. It's got us all thinking and experiencing the world in a slightly different way. And that's all Vine is so far. From what I've seen, it's a small, but fairly active community playing with yet another new medium. I admit that this could all be a sub-genre and fad. Vine could be a mere blip in our journey toward our cyborg singularity where our thoughts and actions could move at the speed of nano-biotechnology.
What would 6 seconds feel like in that future? Heck, 6 seconds could feel like an eternity.