Vine: 12 Ways to Make Your Videos Stand Out

You’ve had some fun with Vine, but now you want to get serious. Here are 12 tips to turn you into a Vine pro.

With Vine, you have six seconds to really impress a viewer. Thankfully, six seconds is more than enough time to dazzle someone, tell a story or share a laugh. These tips range from technical best practices to creative guidelines

1. Visualize the Final Product

Before you start your masterpiece, have a good idea what your finished Vine is going to look like. This might seem like obvious advice, but it will help make your shoot more efficient and give you an opportunity to really think about the structure of your creation. Some Viners sketch out their Vine frame-by-frame in a notebook, while others just have an idea in their head. Find what works for you.

This isn’t to say you can’t change things as you go or get inspired while shooting; however, a simple road map will help. If you can visualize it, there is a good chance you can find some way to bring it to life.

When Vine first launched, paper and food immediately began showing up in the most popular Vines. Why? Because both paper and food are accessible, cheap and easy to manipulate. Top make something come to life with simple stop-motion, simply move the scene very minimally and take a very short shot by tapping your screen. Look around you — is there anything you can use for a Vine? (Answer: Yes, there is!)

2. Find Your Own Unique Visual Style

The Viners who most stand out are the ones who created a visual style for themselves and really owned it. Think about the things you love the most. How would you describe your own personality? How could those things be translated to Vine? This doesn’t mean you can’t share things outside of your style, but if you have a strong Vine personality, people will start to really anticipate your work. If you love being outdoors, let Vine be an extension of that. If you’re really into comedy, Vine is a perfect platform for comedy.

Pinot is an illustrator and graphic designer. His Vines often show animations that defy reality and interact with the physical world. He uses his sketchbook and cel animation to make objects come to life.

Meagan Cignoli: Meagan is a fashion and portrait photographer who always fills her Vines with life. Many of her Vines have a nice brightly lit look to them and focus on fashion. She’s also been hired to create Vines for brands — including these DIY tips for Lowes.

YellDesign: Viner Matt Wills immediately got noticed when his toast Vine was selected as one of the first editor’s choices. He continued with the magic food theme and has created many more popular Vines in a similar style.

3. Set Your Brain to “Vine Mode”

This might sound silly, but make Vine a part of your thought process during the day. When you see something that would make a good Vine, you’ll immediately recognize it. If you look at the world through a lens of “How can this be captured in a Vine?” you’re guaranteed to find something interesting to share.

4. Use Your Six Seconds Wisely

A really well-executed Vine won’t feel rushed. Even though a Vine is only six seconds long, you shouldn’t be stressed out by its length. If you’re setting out to tell a joke, you will be able to set up and execute your gag in a short amount of time. Just as you couldn’t tell a 2,000 word story in a single tweet, you wouldn’t tell a story that needs three minutes to develop on Vine.

Don’t try to cram too many thing into your Vine, and don’t force things that don’t work.

5. Stabilize Your Shot

Shaky video can be really distracting and annoying; you’re going to want a tripod. When you buy a tripod, keep some things in mind.

Make sure the tripod or phone mount will support vertical video. Many of the tripod mounts are geared for horizontal video.

Get two tripods: one that is rock steady, another that is flexible. (like a GorillaPod) You can use both of them for different purposes.

Make sure your tripod is steady. If you are doing stop-motion, you will be tapping your phone hundreds of times and you need a support that won’t wobble.

If you want to really go all out, try out an iPhone dolly (such as the iStabilizer) and attach your vertical-supporting mount


6. Nail the Coveted Perfect Loop

One hashtag always popular on Vine is #loop. Basically, a Vine with a perfect loop will seamlessly repeat forever. Ideally, you’ll want to hook a viewer with a looping video so they will watch your creation multiple times. To achieve a perfect loop, your final frame needs to flow effortlessly with your first frame.

Some things to keep in mind when planning your loop: What objects are moving in my Vine? Will they end up exactly where they began? If the frame starts blank (such as the banana in @origiful’s banana Vine above), your subject will simply need to leave enough time for your subject to enter and exit the frame. (Of course, there are other ways to achieve a loop — and not all Vines need one.)

7. Determine Whether You’ll Move the Camera

While rock steady shots often work well with stop-motion videos, movement can add something extra to your videos. Actor/Vine-embracer Adam Goldberg likes to give his Vines a sense of motion. The camera movements — along with his fisheye lens — complement his surrealist style. (Just be careful not to make your shots too shaky and make your viewers queasy.)

8. Be Aware of Technical Limitations

White Balance: The white balance on Vine is not your friend. Your phone will auto-white balance, but it doesn’t do a good job of compensating for different colors of light. If you’re outdoors, great; your light will probably be fine. However, if you’re indoors, be aware of the color of your light source.

For example, at Mashable HQ, we have bold blue walls. While they look really cool, they can really throw off the white balance of vines. When we shot our Valentine’s Day Vine, the blue of the wall caught the camera’s auto-white balance — despite the white tabletop — and gave the entire Vine a red tint.

If you put a white sheet of paper in front of your phone to white balance, the colors will be corrected for a moment before readjusting to the improper white balance as soon as you remove the paper.

Don’t expect to be able to fix your white balance in a bad location. Find somewhere bright, full of natural light and away from colored walls. (That is, unless you want to play with a tweaked white balance for a fun effect.)

Focus: Vine will also auto-focus your shot. This is unfortunate because the camera won’t always focus on the subject you want it to. If you put your finger where you want the camera to focus, it will generally refocus the shot accordingly. Sometimes the focus will hold; sometimes it won’t. If your subject isn’t catching the camera’s focus, rethink the way your shot is set up.

You can take advantage of Vine’s focus quirk. Quickly change the focus or light in a shot for some frames of lens adjustment and exposure.

Audio: While your phone should pick up your voice pretty nicely in most situations, Vine is very limited when it comes to audio. If you’re recording a stop motion video, there really isn’t any way to give it an uninterrupted soundtrack. If you play a song while you shoot, you’ll end up with a disjointed audio effect.

You can try making individual sound effects (either with an audio device or your own voice) to accompany the action in your vine. However, many popular animation-based vines focus solely on visuals and don’t use audio at all.

Crashing: If you’ve shot many Vines, you likely have experienced some technical difficulties. There are few things more frustrating than losing a nearly completed video you’ve been working on for an hour. If you’re going to shoot a time-intensive Vine, close out other apps on your phone, turn on your Wi-Fi and go into Airplane Mode so you aren’t interrupted by a phone call.

Tapping and Swiping: Obviously, if you are making a stop-motion Vine, you want to take as short of shots as possible. Practice with your phone and tripod to get better at this process. If you have one frame that is significantly longer than the rest, it will be noticeable. If you want to free up your hands to perform, you can swipe across from left-to-right on the bottom of the screen to have Vine record all six seconds at once.

9. Learn Video Basics

It’s good to keep the basic rules of video in mind; however, sometimes breaking the rules will give your Vine a really cool effect.

Rule of Thirds: When framing a shot, one of the first things that should come to mind is framing. Where is the subject going to be? Will it have enough space to move in the frame?

It’s important to keep in mind that Vine videos are square — framing will be a different than a 16:9 shot. Putting someone on the right or left third might not give you enough space, though keeping your subject’s eyes on the upper third of the shot will probably work. In general, a centered shot works well.

Lighting: Be mindful of the way light is hitting your subject. If it’s a really sunny afternoon, you’ll probably want to find some shade or shoot indoors. If your subject is strongly lit from behind, it will either be really dark or have a blown-out background. If you’re indoors, grab a lamp and position it to light your subject.

10. Take Advantage of Vine’s Quirks

Vine is filled with all kinds of quirky things — such as @RyanWMcHenry’s “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal” series. Vine is the perfect medium for a quick visual joke like this. You don’t need more than a few seconds to get the point across.

Some people are frustrated that you can’t save your unfinished videos, but instead of being annoyed, use it as an opportunity to share things in real time. If you see something, shoot it. If it doesn’t work, you don’t have to post it. You never know who will find your little creation amusing.

If you want to make your teacup collection come to life, or make funny faces at the camera, Vine is the place.

11. Put Thought Into Sharing Your Vine

Timing: Be mindful of the timing of your Vine. Not everyone can crank out Vines during the work day, so if you can create one during the day, it might have an extra advantage standing out. We’ve noticed the Vines really start to roll in when people get off work for the day. If you start your morning with a Vine, it could be one of the few fresh videos in the feed that morning. (Of course, keep in mind there are Viners in many different time zones.)

Hashtags: Before you begin shooting, take a look at the trending hashtags in the “Explore” tab. Don’t just throw random hashtags on your vine, that will look sloppy. (This isn’t Instagram, and you aren’t Rihanna.) Find the one or two most fitting hashtags for your creation and hashtag accordingly. This is how people will find your work. There are a few hashtags that will always be popular, such as #magic, #loop, #howto and #cute.

12. Follow Other Viners for Inspiration

A very creative community has developed on Vine. Take the time to follow interesting people to fuel your creativity. If you’re into comedy, check out our list of great comedians to follow on Vine. If animation is your thing, follow the people we’ve highlighted above or in this post. However, we encourage you to explore Vine and find people who haven’t been in the spotlight yet.

Who do you enjoy following on Vine? What other tips would you add? Share your favorite Viners and best Vine tips with us in the comments below.

Homepage Image by origiful


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