4 Minute Read

Your Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Boomerang

These days, “going viral” can happen in more ways than YouTube. You can create a Vine, get famous in Facebook, Twitter, etc. or simply make an iconic meme or GIF. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t expect any new ideas on sharing content differently coming up anytime soon. Well, on October 22nd, 2015, Instagram released a new video sharing app called Boomerang.


What is Boomerang?

Boomerang is a new app that basically gives people the ability to make miniature-short video animations that will play forward and backward in one sequence. By “miniature-short,” I mean 1-second. This app can be used to post on Instagram, though, no login is required to use it. Once you take your Boomerang, you can choose to save it to your phone’s camera roll, share it on Instagram or other platforms. The final product is a 4-second video. If you’re sharing your Boomerang through email so you can have it on your computer, you might want to convert it into a GIF file so it has a constant loop. If you do, I suggest simply dropping it into Photoshop for a quick export or just using a free online converter like Zamzar.

How Does it Work?

Let’s get down to the exciting part: how Boomerang makes the magic happen. In the first words of Instagram’s blog post announcement of their app, they describe Boomerang as, “It’s not a photo. It’s not a GIF. It’s a Boomerang.” Basically, it’s a .mov file video with no audio. The interesting part is that it’s not shot as a video, but rather as images. Basically, Instagram explains that Boomerang, “takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward.” After Boomerang finishes snapping the burst of photos, it saves the burst as a “4-second video, looping the burst of images back-and-forth 5 times so it can actually be watched on its own.” Since the app is simple and easy to use, you can either share the Boomerang right after recording or keep making new Boomerangs one after the other. Here is a Boomerang in action of me from our Halloween day here at Red Branch Media, shot by fellow Brancher Cate O’Brien.


Why You Should Care

A 1-second video might not seem too interesting to some people, which begs the question of “Why should I care?” Let me answer that question by proposing that this app can challenge your creativity if you let it. For example, you’ve probably heard about Facebook’s new 7-second looping video profile picture. Put this new feature to use by using Boomerang to create some interesting or awesome and unique profile pictures! Another perspective is that you can think of these 1-second loop videos like creating Tweets — you have a small, restricted area to make an interestingly strong or clear message. It’s true; restrictions really do generate more creativity. If you don’t believe me, read this Fast Company article, “Proof That Constraints Can Actually Make You More Creative.”


Boomerang is definitely an app worth trying in my opinion. Are you a designer? Rather than personal use, try using this app to display a client’s product in a new and unique way, showing a glimpse into your company culture or simply showing a quick design task! The possibilities of this app are near endless, so what are you waiting for? Go download it! Boomerang is free, and requires no login or Instagram account. How creative can you get?