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'Bite-sized' videos, featuring looped six-second bytes of action, big hit on Internet

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A girl blows out her candles on her birthday cake, again and again and again. A cat overshoots its goal to land comically on a futon, over and over and over. A clip from a classic film, six seconds in length, repeats itself on the computer screen. Short, "bite-size" videos that many liken to GIFs other than video are the hottest trend in social media right now.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Technology allows many to shoot and edit long, high-quality videos on phones, to upload them online and to share them socially Online.

A number of companies have launched around mobile video-sharing -- among them Viddy, Socialcam and Twitter's own looping, six-second Vine in a bid to become the unofficial "Instagram of video." All of these apps have created overnight short-form artistic creations that play with the medium.

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app is expected to unveil a video-sharing feature this week during a press event at Facebook. In the meantime, Vine seems to be readying some new features. Vine's creators are now suggesting users will soon have the ability to save drafts, splice bits of multiple Vines together and browse content based on categories and genres.

There's no word yet on what time limits or filters Instagram might place on a video-sharing tool. The short clips have proven to be hugely creative, offering up bizarre snippets of art and fleeting peeks into people's lives.

"The appeal (of) short video apps are well ... they're short!" Vine user Khoa Phan said in an email. "You don't have to sit there for a long time to watch it. And due to the length, you can watch many videos in (a) short time span."

"Vine is immediate and to-the-point. The audience can view content quickly and consume multiple videos/stories in a short period of time," Vine user Matt Willis says. He believes the six-second limit "forces the user to capture the defining elements of a story or concept."

There have been many delightful and unexpected uses of the brief video clip, such as a Magic 6 Ball that cycle through a loop of answers. Many people use the videos to flesh out their Twitter persona with a real voice.

Both Viddy and Vine enforce the shorter-is-better philosophy. Vine has had success with six seconds, a length Twitter settled on after testing videos between four and 10 seconds long.

"Posts on Vine are about abbreviation -- the shortened form of something larger," Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann wrote in a blog post announcing the app. "They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life."

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