Last week, Instagram announced it is extending the time limit of user-posted videos from 15 to 60 seconds. The social media platform is rapidly growing, increasing its user base by 15% last year and dominating internet traffic on mobile devices. While a great deal of the content is users posting snapshots of their cute babies and weekend shenanigans, it has also become an incredibly powerful tool for artists and entertainment marketers. We checked in with industry leaders to see if they think the 60-second Instagram could be a game changer and how they see people in the industry taking advantage of it.
Jason Sondhi, Co-Founder of Short of the Week:
"I have a difficult time believing that that the jump from 15 seconds to 60 seconds will make a big difference in converting the platform to a storytelling medium. 60 seconds is more space, but still isn’t a lot. There are a plethora of 1-minute film festivals that exist, but experience shows that they attract simplistic films that rely on stale jokes, or on horror jump-scare structures.
I do think the move makes Instagram promising for video professionals as a new entry point into their portfolio. This is what is happenning on Vimeo — where a lot of the activity is for sharing commercial spots, new visual experiments — and thus I could see this as big boost for animation and motion graphics artists in particular, who frequently produce interesting work. I follow video artists like Albert Omoss
, who already who make good use of the medium, and the extra space will be a luxury."
Sean Baker, Director/Writer ("Tangerine"):
"Actually this would be a great way to get 60 second trailers out there. I can definitely see this working on a PR level. I would love to see someone do a serial or perhaps even release a film, 60 seconds at a time."
Jeff Hurlow, Vimeo’s Head of Brand Studio:
"Last year we created a series of 15-second films for the Lincoln Motor Co, and honestly 15-seconds was a pretty cool challenge. The restraints of having to tell story within that timeframe forces you to be creative and to choose every frame wisely. The decision to allow for longer content on Instagram is going to be interesting and is definitely going to result in a ton more video. This will be true from both the filmmaker and the branded content side. The challenge for Instagram is really a signal versus noise one. The hope is that we’ll see filmmakers/users embrace this length and use it in a way that’s unique to Instagram, while staying away from extended commercials. As a user of Instagram, I’m well aware of the short attention span with any piece of content, so whatever’s being made better be good, or it’s just a quick swipe to move along to the next thing."
Kim Garcia, SVP Entertainment VaynerMedia ("Mr. Robot"):
"We’re starting to ideate ways of using it. If you’re asking me how I think the industry as a whole will actually use the new length, I think it will be repurposing content, but maybe I’m too much of a realist. Most film and TV will likely use it to repurpose their 60 second on-air spots, which in my opinion sucks. I’d like to see it used in a more creative way that respects the nuances of the platform and provides value. I immediately thought it could be used to do episode recaps to help drive Live +3 ratings (measure live viewing plus DVR viewing up to three days later), or Season recaps. We’re going to develop some fun stuff on behalf of our clients, for example I think using talent to make exclusive announcements would be awesome."
Emily Best, Founder and CEO of Seed & Spark:
"I heard someone, possibly on NPR, recently use the term "social cinema" and I think as the authoring tools like instagram expand what’s possible to publish, we have myriad new storytelling possibilities. If you think about the way a film can leverage a crowdfunding platform, driving traffic through social media, and publishing various pieces across social platforms, you could even say all media projects are now "transmedia," which was something our industry struggled to define for a long time. And while instagram may want to be a place where media outlets are publishing directly, almost like Vine, the limitations on being able to link inside a post to a longer form piece of content are limitations on its utility… for now."
Genna Terranova, Tribeca Film Festival Director:
"It is already such an artist platform for photos, expanding video capabilities is natural and attention spans on mobile are lengthening. More time opens the door wider for usage for original pieces or for behind the scenes, which could be used to build awareness for projects."
Dan Schoenbrun, Film Outreach Lead for Kickstarter and Producer of "collective:unconscious":
"Most people use Instagram as a means of self-promotion, whether they’re promoting their personal life or a project they’re working on. But then there are artists like Jay Giampietro
who are using Instagram as a home for their work, as their artistic medium and their distribution channel all in one. I’d suspect that the filmmakers who will find the most success and attention using Instagram’s expanded video features will be those who treat it as a creative tool in-and-of-itself, rather than a promotional one."
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