The Ultimate Guide to Vine: Pro-Tips, Awesome Ideas, and Who to Follow!

It’s easy to forget about the video function built into your camera phone.

It’s just that videos end being too big to send to friends, and who wants to wait for a video to download anyway?

Man, are we spoiled. Back in our parents’ day, they had to carry 20lb VHS recorders just to shoot a few minutes of film! Us? We have a video recorder that fits in our pocket.

Vine fixes all of this and then some.

It’s an app that lets you share snippets of video –six seconds to be exact– in a super-digestible format. As you scroll through a stream of friends’ videos, the video on your screen instantly plays.

This isn’t just another Instagram. It’s a whole new platform for showing off your creativity. There’s so much you can do in six seconds!

Plus, you get to share life-experiences with friends as they happen. And that right there is pretty much the coolest thing your phone has to offer.

So get it, and then read on for all the best tips, ideas, and inspiration on Vine.

The Basics:


What is it?. A platform for sharing super short videos. You get to follow friends, like and share. It’s a little like Instagram, except videos instead of photos (obvi).

How do you use it? First, download it. (It’s free!) Connect your Vine to your Twitter account to help your friends find you. To start, hit the film camera icon in the top right. Every time you touch the live-view on your screen, you record something. You can record many different shots or one continuous shot. Six seconds max.

But why? It gives your friends a live glimpse into your life. Since you can’t upload a video to Vine, all your friends know you shot that video at that very moment, which is basically awesome!

Where to start? We asked Jake Lodwick, creator of Vimeo (and of awesome Vines), for tips, and he offered this excellent advice, “ A great Vine tickles the brain in a way photos can’t. Think about these differences and embrace them. In video, effort pays off. Sometimes you’ll spend ten minutes setting up a shot, or you’ll have to remake a video four times to get it right. Hold yourself to high standards and your audience will reward you.”

10 Vine Pro-Tips

  1. Auto-record.
    If you’re shooting one continuous shot, you don’t have to hold your finger down the entire time! Just swipe left to right on the dark grey area below your frame, and it’ll shoot the rest for you.
  2. Shoot a short loop.
    You also don’t have to shoot the full six seconds! Vine lets you post a video with a minimum of three seconds. After three seconds, a check box in the lower right corner pops up. Hit that to post your short vid.
  3. Play with sound.
    Use your headphones that have a built-in mic for a better recording of your voice. (Check out our demo!) Or use an iPhone Boom Mic to get better recordings of people’s voices. If you have access to heavy duty weather-proof case, put it on for close-to-silent videos. Otherwise, politely tell everyone in the room to shaddap.
  4. Shoot from afar.
    Trick your phone into thinking you’re touching the screen. Just touch the positive end of a battery to your screen, and it’ll start a recording. You can even attach the battery to a stick to tap the screen from afar. Helpful for tricky angles.
  5. Play/Pause.
    Wanna gaze into your Vine-crush’s eyes for just a second longer? Tap the Vine to pause. Tap it again to play.
  6. Make a flawless stop-motion.
    Use a tripod to make precise stop-motions. This’ll keep your video from looking jumpy. (The GLIF or the Gorillapod will help you with this one.)
  7. Balloon Vine by Pinot

  8. Prevent focus adjust.
    Sometimes you’ll see a pulsation in the middle of your Vine. That’s your auto-focus adjusting. To prevent this, hold still by bracing your arms against yourself, set your phone on a ledge or use a tripod. (FYI, sometimes it’s not preventable because your subjects are moving.)
  9. Embed your Vine on the web.
    Use these instructions to embed your Vines into pretty much any website.
  10. Unsend. Swipe left to right on the upload bar to delete an upload before it posts. If your internet is super-fast and it already posted, hit the “…” in the bottom right corner of your Vine, and it’ll give you the option to delete.

10 Ways to Play with Vine

  1. Looping.
    Some of the best Vines we’ve seen are the ones that seamlessly loop over and over. Keep your eye open for a repeating motion, and time your recording so that the loop repeats without any major jumps. Holding still or setting your phone on a flat surface as your record will help you get a smooth loop. You’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing replay. It’s like looking at a photo that moves!
  2. Open & close the shutter.
    Hold something over your lens so all you see is black (or white). Now quickly take it away. Doing this gives you a blown out image on your screen, which slowly brings an image into view. It’s kind of like watching a Polaroid develop! Check out our Vine that demos this idea.
  3. Use lenses for dream sequences.
    Macros are especially surreal (watch this one by Cole Rise). Try shooting through a bottle or plastic for out-of-focus and blurry dreamy video. Use a telephoto to shoot from far away or a fisheye to shoot a rap vid.
  4. Make a not-boring slideshow.
    Set your phone somewhere where it will stay still (flat surface or on a tripod), place a photo in front of your camera and record for a second or two. Stop, replace it with another and record again. Repeat!

    Slideshow Vine by Kim A. Thomas

  5. Make a cinemagraph.
    Pick a shot that’s mostly still but has just one or two elements that move. Think, a room with a single fan spinning in the corner or a landscape with a river running through it. Check out Noah Kalina’s account for a couple awesome Vines that show off this idea.
  6. Tell a story.
    Accomplish this one by editing together totally different shots. This can be to show your followers what you’re up to, or it can be totally fictional, like a mini movie.
  7. Use transitions.
    You can make your Vines extra cinematic by holding something over your lens to create a black screen between shots.

    Vine by Adam Goldberg

  8. Stop-motion.
    Keep your phone in one spot, shoot in a place with consistent lighting, have patience, and you’re golden.
  9. Panning = drama.
    Pan across a space for cinematic drama. Try a dolly, a toy with wheels, or simply walking slowly alongside your subjects. Our very own Darby used a table dolly to pan across this dino conga line.
  10. Contribute to Hashtags.
    Check out what other Viners are up to by visting the Explore tag. Explore lets you view Popular Vines, Editor’s Picks and a bunch of hashtags, like #howto, #magic, #remake, and #loop.

3 Vine Sites Worth Checking Out


  1. GIF Vine.
    Enter any Vine URL to turn a Vine into a GIF (loads faster than a Vine vid). Nab a Vine URL by Tweeting your Vine from the app. You can also just add the word “gif” in front of any Vine URL to make it a GIF!
  2. Vinepeek.
    This site shows you Vines as they’re posted in real-time. “So sit back and watch the world in 6 second bites.”
  3. Vinecats.
    This doesn’t require any explanation.

10 Awesome People to Follow


To find someone on Vine, just go to the Explore tab, and type the person’s name into the search box. You can also find friends by going to Settings > Find People >.

  1. Photojojo.
    Scenes from Photojojo-land, plus inspiration for your own Vines!
  2. Pinot.
    A patient and talented illustrator with a mastery of stop-motion. Visual magic.
  3. Adam Goldberg.
    Actor and photographer. Adam’s been especially creative with story-telling Vines and describes them as “little horror movies.” (An interview.)

  4. Kim A. Thomas
    Creative musings & experimentations from a San Francisco photographer.
  5. Jake Lodwick.
    Creator of Vimeo, Pummelvision, and a million other great things.
  6. Paul Octavious.
    Chicago-based photographer. Paul’s Vines are as wondrous and delightfully creative as his photographs.
  7. Alison Stevenson
    Stand-up comedy in 3 to 6 second tidbits.
  8. Reggie Watts.
    Comedian and musician, Reggie is masterful at applying & editing sound on Vines. Watch a couple here.
  9. Mark Weaver.
    An art director & designer who specializes in stop-motions of self-arranging Legos.
  10. Jimmy Fallon.
    Excellent for a funny fix.
  11. (Okay, we lied, 12 awesome people to follow!)

  12. Cole Rise. (Vine to the right)
    A San Francisco-based photographer who has some great examples of playing with phone lenses and a knack for travel Vines.
  13. Jordan Burt.
    Short, clever skits that will make you LOL.