The best thing about Vine has always been how crazy simple the app makes it to shoot and share a looping six-second video. You press the screen to shoot, lift up your finger to stop shooting, and that's pretty much it. Vine's latest update, which just landed on iOS and will come to Android later, adds some new tools and the long-needed ability to import video shot with other apps. It's more flexible, but without cluttering up Vine's minimal interface.
I downloaded the new version of Vine onto my iPhone. Here's what to expect the first time you launch the updated app.
Launch Vine and its main screen remains a scrollable list of videos by the users you follow, but the buttons are all moved around. The previous version of Vine for iOS had the Record button at the top-right and a home button at the top-left that produced a drop-down menu of the other screens: Explore, Activity, Profile, and Messages. The new version puts a row of buttons at the bottom, with the bright green Record button right at the center, surrounded by Home, Explore, Activity, and Profile. That makes the Record button easier to push with your thumb, especially if (when?) larger-screened iPhones hit the scene, and this update rolls out to Android phones.
The new app also has a Find People button at the top-left, letting you search for new Vine pals from your address book or Twitter contacts. Previously, the Find Contacts screen was hidden on your Profile page, so this change makes it a lot easier to find — and I'm sure that Vine hopes that the more people you follow, the more engaged you'll stay with the app. Messages is moved to the top-right, and both the Find People and Messages buttons stay where they are as you navigate around Vine's various tabs, simplifying navigation.
Yes, you can finally import video into the app! This is long overdue — rival Instagram has had this capability for a year now — and will get me to post way, way more Vines. Lately I've restricted myself to posting Vines from concerts, whereas videos of my friends or my child only ever wind up on Instagram. That's because I prefer to shoot with my iPhone's Camera app, and Instagram had video importing capabilities that Vine lacked up until now.
Anyway, now you can shoot the video for your Vines with whatever app you like. I shot one with Action Movie FX of a fake car being dropped on my office, probably by Godzilla or something.
To import video, just hit the Record button, and then tap the Import button on the far left — it looks like a half a square with an arrow pointing at it. That shows a grid of video clips in your Camera Roll, and you can preview a clip by tapping it. If your clip is longer than six seconds (the running times are helpfully displayed), the preview shows the whole clip, even though you're still limited to six-seconds when producing your Vine.
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