In a world where time is such a commodity that copious amounts of brevity must be applied to everything, Instagram has launched a standalone app called Boomerang that creates ridiculously short looping animated videos (a blink-and-you-miss-it one second long to be exact). Luckily, the app isn’t named Boomerang for nothing. Like the Indigenous Australian hunting weapon and sometime toy it shares its namesake with, the Boomerang app will play those animated videos on a loop front to backwards, over and over again to infinity and beyond. If there’s anything worth capturing on film, you can successfully do it justice in 1/60 of a minute.
Boomerang shoots five still photos in the span of a lightning quick second, then uses these photos to create a moving picture that resembles a GIF. Usability is quite straightforward and simple. Boomerang requires no login to use, unlike its birth mother. Simply open the app and touch the shutter button to shoot a Boomerang sequence using your phone’s camera. The app does all the hard work of converting still photos into moving one second bundles of fun for you, playing it back at twice the normal speed in order to stay within that one second time crunch. Boomerang allows you to share your cycling creation on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
Outside of the Boomerang app, the sequence of photos you shoot is saved to your phone as a four second video that loops the shots back and forth so you can watch all of that brief glory whenever you want. With those coming in at four seconds, Boomerang still has Vine beat by trimming a solid two seconds off its looping video model, truncating those narrative gems into something way more digestible. Let’s be real, six seconds was pushing it, but I think we can all agree that we can spare four seconds, no?
Instagram is taking great strides to separate the creation of their new app as something wholly original and of its own merit. In their blog post announcement, they very firmly state that the product of this app is not a photo or a GIF. It is, in fact, a Boomerang. Get ready for “do it for the Boomerang” memes to start popping up soon, along with a lot of annoying requests to “just take one more” because with only a window of one second to get things just right, crafting a worthwhile Boomerang seems like a pretty tall order. Forget Kodak moments, Instagram wants us all to start thinking in terms of Boomerang seconds.