Boomerang, not to be confused with the hunting stick used by Australian Aboriginals, is a new video app from Instagram. The standalone app that rolled out on iOS and Android devices last Thursday lets you shoot one-second videos made from a burst of five photos. The video loop plays backwards and forwards for a "Boomerang" effect (Get it??) Boomerang joins in on the moving photo craze with other apps like Vine, Apple “Live Photos” and Phhhoto.
As explained on the Instagram blog, “Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again.”
How does it work?
Boomerang is fast and incredibly simple to use. The app takes a burst of five photos and stitches them together into a mini video that plays forward and backward. Shooting in normal or selfie mode, all you have to do is tap the shutter button and Boomerang captures five quick shots over the span of a second. Although the app doesn’t have its own feed, each video is automatically saved to your camera roll and can be easily shared on Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere. As an added bonus the app doesn’t require users to have an Instagram account or a login.
Boomerang joins Instagram’s growing list of standalone apps that complement the main Instagram app. In March, Instagram rolled out Layout, an app that lets you create photo collages and last August it released Hyperlapse, an app for making time lapse videos. Like with Layout and Hyperlapse, the idea is to bring something new to Instagram and add variety to the existing platform. By allowing users to create and share their own instant GIF-videos, Boomerang not only diversifies the Instagram platform, but also provides an alternative to other GIF and video sharing apps, like Snapchat and Vine.
In the hyper-competitive social media landscape, Boomerang is another example of the shift in messaging and explosion of visual communication taking place through videos and GIFs. The app provides another opportunity for brands to liven up and create unique content to drive brand awareness. While it only launched just last week, some brands are already using it. It will be interesting to see if other brands will integrate GIF-video apps like Boomerang into their existing social media plans and how they will use it to create content and tell their story. In the meantime, don't forget about these unwritten rules for using Instagram.