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How to get started with Viddy

Similar to Instagram but with 15-second videos, video-sharing iPhone app Viddy is gaining steam.

Sometimes all it takes is a short, 15-second video of a small, white dog to kickstart a project. You may have seen Viddy in the news today because one Mark Zuckerberg recently signed up and posted a video of his Puli pup, Beast. Let the Facebook acquisition rumors commence.

If you are curious about how Viddy, a free video-sharing app for the iPhone, works, I offer you a quick primer.

That's right, Snoop is on Viddy. Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After installing Viddy, you can sign up via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. Viddy's layout is similar to Instagram's, with five buttons along the bottom. From left to right, they let you see your own videos and those of the people you follow, see what's hot (popular, trending, and newest videos), take a video or select one from your library, see your Activity (who's following whom), and your profile.

Tap the middle button to take a video. Viddy puts a hard cap on the length, cutting you off after 15 seconds. (If you choose a video from your library that's longer than 15 seconds, Viddy lets you select a 15-second block from it to post.) When shooting a video, Viddy provides some advanced controls. Click on the gear icon in the lower-left corner to lock the focus, exposure, or white balance. You can also turn off the audio meter, turn on the timer (count down from three), show grid lines, and when using the rear-facing camera switch aspect ratios and resolutions between 4:3 (480p) and 16:9 (720p).

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After capturing or trimming and selecting your video, you can apply a filter effect and adjust the intensity of its effect and the level of the accompanying music. Viddy starts you off with three filters (Vintage, BW, and Crystal), but there are many more available in Viddy's marketplace. Just tap the "+More!" button to the right of the three default filters to browse additional filters, many of which are free. Each filter comes with its own music, but you can lower the volume or turn it off. Use the two sliders below the filter options to adjust the filter and music levels.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

A still of your video gives you some idea of what your chosen filter will look like, and you can tap the play button to watch a preview of the video. You'll need to wait a minute or two while Viddy encodes the video preview.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Once you are satisfied, click the Next button to add a title and description and choose whether you'd like to share it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Tumblr.