Vine is My Favorite New Thing

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Oh, the things I do for Vine, my favorite new thing. This ridiculous fake quiz page became a part of Quiz Show.

Vine scratches a very particular creative itch for me, one that goes all the way back to October of 2008 when I created a video called My Day, Yesterday. I shot throughout a full day and then edited it down to 90 seconds, with no added music or effects. A few days later I shot a follow-up called My Day, Yesterday: Going to Vegas. These two videos have generated nearly 50,000 plays, 1,000 likes/favorites, and they spurred a whole group of folks to create their own My Day, Yesterday videos. When Stacey and I travelled to Sydney in 2011, I shot another edition called Sydney in a Day and a few months later when we visited Seattle I made Seattle, Day One. (The Seattle video has music overlaid, something I had never done in one of these projects before.) These projects were exceedingly fun to create, very difficult to edit, and I love watching them.

Vine is perfect for me because it takes this style of filmmaking and distills it down to its core fundamentals. You can shoot individual clips, in order, for six total seconds of footage. You must touch the screen to record so you can’t set the iPhone on a tripod and walk away—you have to work around holding the camera. And you can’t preview your work as you go, you have to push through to the end and possibly redo the entire video if you’ve messed up a single shot (which I’ve had to do numerous times, much to my wife’s chagrin). The app is buggy, sure, but in general it works well enough that, with care and consideration, you can create complex works over the span of hours (see my video Friday Night for an example).

Vine is fun not just because of the tools or the format, but because the constraints force you to think creatively. Six seconds is long enough for a mini-story or a full joke, and lots of fun editing tricks. The best Vine videos I’ve seen are little masterpieces—they’re not just a bunch of static shots. Anyone can make a moving picture (Flickr built their whole video system based on this notion) by pointing the camera at one object or setting for two seconds and then something else for two more seconds. But in most cases, those videos would actually be better as photos, unless they’re particularly pretty or unique viewpoints. Not every Vine video needs to be a massive undertaking (see A Perfect Fit! for an example of a simple video that was easy to shoot), but creativity is key.

Shawn and I discussed this process yesterday and decided an accurate description of the whole concept is “high-stakes pointless videos”. But it sure is a lot of fun.

(You can, of course, find me on Vine by searching for “Garrett Murray” or following me on Twitter and using the Twitter friend finder inside Vine.)


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