Video killed the Instagram star? The 5 features video for Instagram needs to fix

instagram fix itAs it does so many weekends, Instagram held a #WHP – that’s a Weekend Hashtag Project, for those not in the know. Instagram chooses a theme or idea of some sort and then all of us obsessives out there take photos around that and post with the hashtag, hoping against hope to grab a coveted spot on the Instagram blog that brags about our collective efforts.

This weekend, the project was different than any Instagram had ever done before; the hashtag? #WHPMovingPictures, to celebrate the recent video for Instagram release. And thus, your feed was filled with the stuff – you can ignore it no longer. Being ushered in with a #WHP means it’s official; Instagram is all-in on its video effort.

While there are plenty of things to like about the new release, there are also a few things we need fixed. Is there a request sheet somewhere? Please, and thanks in advance.

Separate but equal

First on the list: We need designated photo and video feeds. And how. I get it, when a feature first comes out, everybody just goes to town over it, using it with abandon and oblivion. I’m sure I’m not the only who saw some boring videos of cars driving by or cats blinking. We’re all in test mode, it’s cool.

But it also means that this was an annoying weekend to peruse my Instagram feed – and I know I’m not alone in enjoying my Instagram browsing. This is bound to die down, but even still, I want to enjoy my feeds separate but equally. One for stills, one for video, and maybe one for both; that’s fine, the option is totally appreciated … but the auto-play (which is still glitchy) means I can’t quickly dive into my feed with the carelessness I want to. Look, I’m committed to Instagram, but honestly …

Give up the embeds

Alright, it’s been long enough: It’s time to give us native embed options, Instagram. Trolling the Internet for third party options that do it for us is just a time-suck, and pushing my Insta-videos to Facebook and making them public to grab the code from there seems ridiculous. If you’re owned by Facebook … and Facebook gives me embed code for your videos … just, why? Why are you doing this to me?

Also, Vine does it, so don’t you want to be cool like that?

On the horizon

landscape instagram videoInstagram isn’t alone in sticking you in portrait mode, no exceptions. That doesn’t mean I have to like it though: There are plenty of scenes better shot in landscape mode.

What makes this obligatory setup all the more frustrating is the fact that you get no warning you’re making a terrible mistake. You turn your phone sideways to snap Instagram stills all the time, why not video? Well, you’ll find out why not when you finish your video and then notice the absence of a rotate button. Sigh. There goes that epic sunset.

Show me the magic

Yes, the filters are lovely, but the Cinema feature is really what’s managed to impress me about video for Instagram. I was prepared to find the stabilization feature less than it was cracked up to be: I’ve seen enough Facebook promo-marketing videos at this point to know that whatever feature I’m being shown will never be that good – so those silky smooth videos of adorable children running at a camera seemed wildly beyond reach. But Cinema is pretty damn effective; I have but one small request when it comes to this feature, however. Show me the before and after right before my eyes! It would be really interesting if this could be like the Lux effect for video; you hit the button, and watch the media transform into something (arguably) better before your eyes.

Where we’re going, we don’t (necessarily) need sound

If you’re enjoying the video feed for Instagram (via mobile app) without headphones, then you’ll enjoy a soundless scene. Computer, not the case. You can, of course, mute your speakers, but whether or not you want it, that audio is there.

Which begs the question, why can’t we take silent video? There’s no option to stop audio recording, and it’s a confusing one: Instagram’s origins are as a place of silent, beautiful stills – why shouldn’t silent, beautiful video be added to the app? Instead, you’re forced to pick up sound. In some cases, that’s fine, but what about those sunrises you want to film: Does the background noise from the highway 20 yards away really need to be included? Or maybe the street performer who happens to be stationed next to a homeless man yelling obscenities? There are more than a few instances in which my Instagram images would be far uglier if you could hear what was going on; video is no different. 

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