Will Instagram’s latest feature ruin Instagram Video?

Letting users upload saved video could lead to an onslaught of highly-edited professional videos and ads.


Kris Holt


Published Aug 8, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 9:33 am CDT

Instagram is now letting users share video footage they’ve previously recorded. Although the move may not sound controversial, some claim it will kill any creative spark encouraged by in-app recording restraints.

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The photo-sharing service added its video feature in June. It was an instant hit, with millions of videos uploaded on the first day. Initially, it only allowed users to record videos of up to 15 seconds from within the app itself, with no option to save half-finished clips for later. 

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The new move sets Instagram apart from Vine, Twitter‘s video-sharing app that’s picked up millions of users since its January debut. Vine ostensibly forbids users to post clips previously recorded on their phones (though there are workarounds to post video from elsewhere), and has a time limit of only 6 seconds. 

While those restrictions have helped to shape culture of creativity and short-form comedy on Vine, Instagram would prefer to be your digital scrapbook and hold your memories. On the surface, that would seem to be why it’s letting you share older clips from your life.

But some users fear an influx of professional video, shot on high-quality cameras, and edited on a computer. That could make Instagram a powerful platform for budding filmmakers to showcase their work, but the community may not be accepting of videos that don’t fit the in-the-moment aesthetic—the “insta” in Instagram.

Prominent Vine users Pinot and Khoa Phan are among those dismissing Instagram’s latest feature.

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Shot video in HD. Edit in Final Cut Pro. Put some effects. Squezze it in 480×480. Put in device camera roll. Upload to Instagram. No thanks.

— Pinot (@pinot) August 7, 2013

Instagram 4.1 = YouTube in square pixel.

— Pinot (@pinot) August 8, 2013

Vine’s amazing cause of the creative restraints. 6sec of no edits or uploads, allowing a leveled playing field for all. Shame on Instagram!

— Khoa (@khoaphan) August 7, 2013

I’m going to make a movie account on @instagram. Upload 520 videos so people can stream 15 seconds of a film. Yay piracy!

— Khoa (@khoaphan) August 7, 2013

The video latergram function comes just as YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley are dropping a video-sharing app called MixBit. Users can create 16-second clips, or stitch together up to 256 of the short-form videos. Alternately, they can remix videos shared by others. 

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Posting old videos is a key feature some Instagram users have clamored for in recent weeks, but whether the community will embrace the types of ads and professionally edited videos that are sure to flood timelines soon is another matter.

Photo via guswinkelman/Instagram

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*First Published: Aug 8, 2013, 7:19 pm CDT