Apart from the tremendous power of new affordable digital technologies, portable, user-friendly equipment, and the might of the internet as means of distribution, filmmakers are now presented with a veritable buffet of new social media tools and gimmicks to help them network or disseminate information about a project.
Facebook is still strongly in the lead with its massive audience while twitter, google+, reddit, indiegogo/kickstarter, tumblr, path, youtube, vimeo, and many others are now offering truly fantastic ways to showcase your work, or to draw in an audience.
On the smartphone battlefield we are seeing an onslaught of camera apps, camera aids, scaled-down editing suites, lens/filter simulators, and more innovations every week than you can keep track of.
While many of these phenomenons deserve a closer look and exploration, a relatively new iphone app called VINE is perhaps the most interesting offering of its kind so far. The truly compelling thing about this app is actually not so much its social media hype factor, (which is still is happening right now), but rather the unique opportunity that this wonderfully simple tool offers to the everyday filmmaker.
What it can do:
If you haven’t seen this app in action already, the concept is kind of brilliantly straightforward. Like Twitter, you are allowed the opportunity to “tweet” or to check-in within specified conditions, in this case you are allowed to record a 6-second video (with sound) which will then loop continuously. You can shoot a continuous 6-second video or tap-tap-tap the screen until you end up with a stop-animation. Some people are calling it Instagram on steroids, and they’re kind of right, but Vine has infinitely greater applications for a filmmaker than documenting your meals or that kind of tomfoolery.
Why it is potentially awesome:
The brilliance of this app lies in the fact that Vine is basically a filmmaker’s “jam-session” device. Never before has an audio-visual artist had such a direct way to experiment, to attack a thought. Never before has a tool been available that is literally in your pocket and can come out at a moment’s notice to capture something unique, spontaneous.
You may lament the 6-second limit at first, but once you understand its genius from a filmmaking perspective, you may start to think that the makers of Vine did not truly understand the full potential of this little app. 6 seconds means every iota matters, every molecule; you will start over a million times and consider every tap, motion with meticulousness.
This is a thinking filmmaker’s dream outlet for instant gratification. It keeps your mind on the craft and almost pushes you to look for scenes or opportunities to make micro-films.
There will no doubt be imitators, confederates, offshoots, and some may even surpass the genius of Vine for what it can offer to a audio-visual artist, but this nut will be a hard one to crack anytime soon.