You might be surprised at what can be done with six seconds of video, but the Tribeca Film Festival is going to find out. The New York-based festival has invited people to submit entries using Vine, an iPhone app that makes six-second, looping videos.
Since the announcement last month, hundreds of entries have been posted to Vine using the official hashtag #6secfilms. Competitors can enter their micro masterpieces in one of four categories — #genre, #auteur, #animate and #series. The deadline for submissions is April 7, which means there's still time for you to enter. Winners in each of the four categories will receive $600. But you may need more than an iPhone and a Vine account to win.
Although a Vine is only six seconds long, making one can take hours. We spoke with one of the front-runners, Meagan Cignoli, a professional fashion and advertising photographer in New York City. Two of Cignoli's entries Tuesday reached the "Most Popular" page on Vine, and she's got another one in the works.
Things didn't go as planned for her third festival entry, so she's trying again. That's the tricky part about making a Vine : There's no editing, so you have to get it right in one take. All you can do is hold your finger on the screen to shoot and lift it up to pause. But Cignoli said that being unable to edit later can be a benefit.
"One thing I've learned is to keep it simple," she said. "Mess-ups happen. But you learn each time. Just do it again."
Most of Cignoli's Vines are time-lapse, stop-motion-animated videos. If you'd like to make a Vine of this type, Cignoli has tips for first-timers. First, invest in a tripod for your iPhone.
"It's important in stop-motion and time-lapse for the phone to be perfectly steady to capture the movement of the person or object," she said.
Lighting is also important. Cignoli said people are used to viewing movies lit by professionals, and by paying attention to your lighting, your clips will receive more attention.
"Daylight is always amazing, but make sure you are not creating a huge shadow with your body or with your camera," she said. "If it is night, try to find the best light source you have available and check it from different angles to see which lighting looks the best."
For animation, make a small quick tap on your iPhone screen for each segment. Twitter, Vine's creator, made it possible to tap 140 times, but Cignolo said that requires using a stylus or connecting the iPhone to a computer that will automate the process. But she's managed to tap as many as 120 times in a six-second Vine using just her finger. However, she suggested using longer taps if you're including words so that people will have time to read them.
Another popular Vine creator, Michael LoPriore, specializes in funny videos. His formula is to use the first three seconds of the Vine to set up the joke and then the next three seconds to surprise the viewer. LoPriore initially became famous on Vine with a video showing him throwing waffles, which he dubbed "waffle frisbee."
Adding a good title is particularly important when you've only got a few seconds. To LoPriore, adding a descriptive title can be the equivalent of getting an extra six seconds, he told us.
He also recommends creating a character, such as his character Ned the Nerd, and adding props, as well as an eye-catching costume.
"Dress yourself up. Get into the part," he said. "Realize that if a few people like your stuff, there'll be another thousand who do too."
In creating Vines, LoPriore has had to fight his perfectionist tendencies. "Don't be afraid to put it up," he advised would-be competitors. "It's only six seconds."
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