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Looking for a way to perk up your Twitter and Facebook postings? You might want to try Vine, a free new iPhone app that allows you to create continuous videos in less than a minute. These six second loops work best if you have the same starting and ending point so that they seem to go on forever. The program, which is only months old, is owned by Twitter -- so your completed videos are automatically tweeted.
The way that Vine works is that you use your smartphone's camera, pressing and holding an onscreen button to record the video. I tried it out on Saturday by filming two employees going into our store, and for a first effort I think it came out pretty well.
You can stop and start the action by lifting up and pressing down again, creating a short animation like this one. I think it would be fun to sponsor a customer Vine contest using one of our products, for example Adams the Doodle Man from Design Ideas (who has his own Facebook page!).
There are several tricks that will make your Vine more effective, and you will find a good summary of them in this blog posting on the company's web site.The most important is probably to use a tripod so that you are able to hold your camera completely still, which obviously I didn't do on my fledgling efforts. The other is to plan your stopping point so that ideally you come back to the same point -- that is what makes the continuous loop feature work well. This Vine that I took of jugglers on the State Street mall in Madison does a fairly good job of appearing to gone on forever, but of course there are hundreds of successful and unsuccessful examples available on Twitter and the Vine's own site.
Not wanting to get left out of this game, the founders of YouTube (Chad Hurley and Steve Chen) have just introduced a video creation app called MixBit. Unlike Vine, MixBit is intended to allow mixing and editing video on your phone. Tools built into the app will allow users to edit each 16-second clip - as opposed to the 6 seconds of each Vine -- and to combine up to 256 of these clips into an hourlong video. Since MixBit just came out days ago, it's too early to tell how successful it will be. But both Vine and MixBit should allow you to use your smartphone to create video for your Facebook page, web site and Twitter with ease. Have fun with it!