Twitter’s six-second looping video platform, Vine, is not revolutionary, but it is an important evolutionary development in online video. The strength of the format is two-fold; firstly, it brings filmmaking tools to the masses, and secondly, it recognizes that the mobile Internet should have its own micro-formats (with built-in looping) because conventional formats—short films, features, commercials—don’t provide enough options.
The shortening length of online animation has been something that we’ve promoted on Cartoon Brew for the past couple years. We were, in fact, the first film/animation site to recognize the merit of micro-film clips and create an exclusive space for featuring them. We introduced the Animated Fragments column in 2011 with the idea that there were many creative bits and pieces of animation that didn’t fit into any traditional format. In our first post, the shortest animation was only eleven seconds long.
There was a difference though. No one created those ‘fragments’ with the intent of expressing a complete thought. They were simply interesting experiments. The six-second Vine format has encouraged filmmakers to think of six seconds as a filmmaking length in which a whole idea can be expressed. Clearly, the filmmaker is limited in the scope of their idea by the Vine’s running time, but it’s also surprising how much content can be squeezed into six seconds.