Vine's meteoric rise to the No. 5 free app in the App Store (and the top free social networking app) probably has a lot to do with hype from its new parent company, Twitter. It may have also gotten a bump, as it were, from the proliferation of porn videos app users shot over the weekend.
But Vine is not the first app to provide a quick way to make entertaining video clips. Nor, based on our tests, is it the best. That honor goes to Cinegram.
Both services offer simple ways to turn videos into entertaining looping clips, but Cinegram, which launched about a year ago, offers more features and has successfully solved its inappropriate content problem.
Shortly after its February 2012 launch, the developers manually flagged inappropriate content, added a reporting feature and warned users, "You will be banned for submitting inappropriate content. Please don't." Today, about the worst video you'll see is an oozing wound and a guy taking off his T-shirt.
But Cinegram's features trump Vine in ways beyond its policies.
- Keep your videos private: Unlike other social photo and video apps, you can keep your cines (pronounced cin-ees) private, meaning you don't have to share with the service itself and can save your video to your phone. This feature is also helpful if you want to save a video for later editing. With Vine, it's shoot-and-share or delete.
- Use any video: With Cinegram, you can shoot a video with the app or import a video from your camera roll. With Vine, you can use only videos you've just shot with the Vine app.
- Find your friends: Find friends on Facebook who are using Cinegram and follow them. (Facebook has blocked Vine's integration with its service, so you can't connect with Facebook friends or post Vines to Facebook.)
- Share to more places: If you want to share a cine, you can share directly to Tumblr , send as an email, as well as share to Facebook and Twitter by turning sharing on for each service once you've finished your video.
- Apply filters: Cinegram offers 15 filters to add a variety of colors and effects, a feature similar to Instagram's filters for photos. Read more: Twitter Photo Filters No Match for Instagram
- Message users: You can direct message any Cinegram user by clicking the envelope icon next to users' names on their profile pages.
- Add professional video clips: Cinegram provides stock video clips from its partners such as Paramount Pictures, Red Bull and One Direction that you may use in your own cines, either on their own or by using along with video you shoot.
- Go backwards: You have the option of looping your video in reverse instead of forward. With Cinegram, you can also adjust the speed of your video.
- Use a mask: Perhaps the most intriguing use of Cinegram: You can designate an area of your video to move while the rest appears still.
- Search by location: Find videos in a region based on geotags. (Just tap the location to see a stream of videos shot in a particular city or area. With Vines, you can search only by hashtags and user names.)