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So Social

Video comes to Instagram

A brief tutorial for this new feature

By Amy Guth, Tribune Newspapers

July 11, 2013

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Instagram has expanded beyond its square digital reminiscent-of-a-Polaroid photos — now users can upload short videos too.

"Instagram has become a community where you can capture and share the world's moments simply and beautifully. Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life," Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote on the company's blog to announce the new video features.

After the announcement, social media news feeds populated with users' reactions to the new video feature, and blog posts and articles bemoaned the poisoning of the Instagram well (see Gigaom's "Why I will never click on your Instgram video, no matter how much you want me to" post), largely mourning more "noise" and the possibilities of how advertisers may begin using the video feature to repurpose commercial content.

As with most new features, there will be kinks to unkink. Or not.

After the video feature launched, Instagram began posting a series of brief tutorials and tips online, including troubleshooting tips for lighting and audio.

Here are the basics:

Posting video to Instagram is much like posting a photo. Now, when users select the camera icon within Instagram they'll see options to select from their media library, take a new photo or shoot video.

Similar to Vine and other social video mobile apps, users are restricted to very brief video. In this case, "brief" is up to 15 seconds. (Sidebar: Technology blog TechCrunch posted a comparison between Vine and Instagram, examining the same video on both platforms shortly after Instgram's new feature was released.)

Users can still apply filters. Instagram has introduced 13 new filters specifically for video. The platform has also provided a setting to help stabilize shaky video shot by handheld mobile devices for iPhone 4S and 5 users. By default the "cinema" feature will stabilize video on these devices. (Users may turn off the default setting by selecting the icon that looks like a camera surrounded by two sets of parentheses.)

As for what other users will see in their Instgram feeds before opting to play your video (i.e., "How can I make sure I don't have a stupid look on my face when the video is not playing?"), users can select a still from the video to use as the video's cover photo.

What's your take on the new Instagram video feature? Do you have questions about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select your question or feedback for use in a future column.