Getting started with Video on Instagram

Facebook just announced Video on Instagram. Here's what you need to know.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Facebook on Thursday held an event to announce a "big idea," according to the invitation sent out last week. Immediately rumors started circulating that Facebook and Instagram were going to take on Twitter's Vine service by adding video to the popular filtered-photo social network.

The rumors were true.

As of today iOS and Android (the Android version has yet to show up in the Google Play store, but it should be there sometime today) users will be able to install Instagram 4.0, complete with a new Video on Instagram feature.

Is that a photo? Nope! It's a Video on Instagram. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Once you have the update installed, you'll notice a new video icon in the top-right corner of some photos. This icon indicates the post isn't a photo, but is instead a video. If you stop on a video, Instagram will automatically load it and begin playing it, with no further action needed on your part (you can disable autoplay in the settings section of the app). You may notice when viewing a video on Instagram that it doesn't automatically loop as videos do on Vine, so you'll need to tap on a video to replay it. Of course you can Like and comment on a video just as you would a photo. You can also view the videos directly on Instagram.com.

As for recording an Instagram video, the process is straightforward. If you're used to the Vine app, you'll notice that there are a few added steps here. But I think that's what makes this better.

Tap on the Instagram icon as if you were going to take a photo, but this time you'll notice a new video icon to the right of the shutter release button. Tapping on the video icon will allow you to begin recording. Instead of being limited to 6 seconds of video like on Vine, you have 15 seconds to play with, but you don't have to take advantage of the entire time allotment.

Delete clips you hate and record again to get the perfect video. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To record a clip, tap and hold on the red video camera icon. When you release, the app will stop recording -- just like Vine. You'll notice a blue line that indicates your progress just below the video preview, with each section of video being separated by a small gap. Should you record a clip and decide you don't like it, you can tap on the "X" button, making the blue clip turn red, and then tap on the (new) trash can button to delete it. After you're happy with your short film, tap on Next to pick a filter.

Filters of all kinds. Vesper, Maven, and Dogpatch, oh, my! Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instagram created a total of 13 filters specifically made for video. As you switch from filter to filter, your video will begin playing, giving you a preview of how the filter looks on your masterpiece. Tap on Next when you're satisfied with the filter. At this point you're also able to turn on the Cinema feature, which will take away any shakiness in your video, giving you a cinematic-quality video. For some reason I wasn't able to see the icon on multiple devices, but I assure you this is where it will appear should your video need it.

Choose your Cover Frame wisely. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The next step is one feature that's extremely important: you can select the preview frame, or as Instagram calls it, the Cover Frame. You can pick your Cover Frame by moving the box along the length of your film, finding the perfect frame to show off your creation.

The Cover Frame is a single frame of the video your friends will see in their Timeline. If you pick your Cover Frame wisely, your friends are more likely to stop and watch your video. Let's face it, the first frame of our videos is often really boring, and by picking the money shot instead, users can make the odds of a video being watched and interacted with go up.

After recording your video, adding a filter, and selecting a Cover Frame, you're ready to post it. The process from this point is identical to that of posting a photo; add a caption, complete with hash tags, and decide where you want to share it. Once the video is shared, it will also save to the Camera Roll for iOS users, and more than likely the Gallery of Android devices.

If you get really creative with an Instagram video, post a link below in the comments to share it with us.