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Random Thoughts About Whatever Comes to Mind

Oh No! Vine Is Closing! Download Your Videos ASAP!

On October 27, in the midst of all the current craziness - everybody get out and VOTE! - Twitter announced that it was closing Vine. If you don't know what Vine is, then at this point it doesn't matter to you. If you do, then you''ll share the pain being felt by many of us.

Vine has been a lot of things to a lot of people all over the world. It allowed extremely talented individuals to share their vision of interior and external worlds in six-second snippets complete with audio and video. More than a few videographers, photographers, animators, dancers, musicians, and even trainers posted regularly, and much of what they put up was impressive. It was almost unbelievable how much could be crammed into six seconds of video - even what amounted to a highly condensed mobile portfolio. And the best of the creators were rewarded by loops in the millions and fellowships of hundreds of thousands.

Among all that talent, I had two particular personal favorites. Derp posted amazing steampunk and post-industrial time-lapse action. Pinot animated a very special personal universe. Now they, and all the other "big-timers", are transitioning, either retreating to the corporate clutter of YouTube or focusing their efforts on Instagram, Snapchat, Steller, and anywhere else that offers the chance to send creative thought process into the wider world.

Most of us, of course, used Vine for fun. We might have attempted occasional arty forays, but for the most part we used it as a way to snag special moments, a 21st century enhancement of snapshots - they dance, they sing, they move! We'll miss being able to do that. I can't help wondering why Twitter didn't monetize Vine by selling annual memberships - say $10 a year. It would have been cheap at the price. But they didn't, and they're clearly cleaning up their balance sheet getting ready for either a sale or a round of venture capital.

The big question, of course, is what will happen to "our" Vines? You know, the ones with the kids cutting the birthday cake, the cats playing, the dog throwing her own ball, the flowers blooming, the plane landing, the sun rising over the bay, etc., etc., etc.

For most people, the videos live only online, on the Vine.co site. Twitter has promised that they aren't shutting the site - at least not yet. Unless I blinked and missed it, that's pretty much all they've said. That being so, I'd say it behooves all of us to download our Vines, or at least the ones that matter. This is tricky, because you can't do this directly from the Vine site without some sort of app, which Vine doesn't provide, at least not as of now.

Luckily, there seem to be makeshift, albeit free, ways to download Vine videos, or at least that's what it says on the 'Net. Unfortunately, most of them are complicated, and I couldn't get any of them to do the deed. When I went looking for an app that would work on my iMac, I turned up a couple of cheapies that also didn't work with any degree of consistency.

Finally, after I floundered around a bit, I found Elmedia, a non-cheapie app that works so well conscience demands that I share the news. It's at mac.eltima.com/media-player.html. The free version will only let you play certain video formats. The Pro version will allow you to download as well. Pro costs $19.99, so given my bad luck with the app cheapies, I hesitated - 99 cents is enough to pay for failed experiments. But I was desperate, and so I did the PayPal thing and downloaded.

I've got three things to say about Elmedia: (1) it's easy to use; (2) it works perfectly; and (3) it's reasonably priced in relation to the value it affords. To use it, set your preferences in the folder to which you want the current batch of videos downloaded - you'll find preferences listed as an option under ELMEDIA PLAYER on the browser bar. Then, just click VIDEO on the bar below the video window, enter the URL of the video you want to download in the space above the video window, hit ENTER, and the name of the video will come up in the activity list below the bar. Click DOWNLOAD and the video downloads in the .mp4 format into the folder you indicated in PREFERENCES. From that folder you can retrieve the video to use in any of your device's video-viewing or -editing programs.

Normally, I wouldn't recommend software, but I've been using this for two days (I had a lot of Vines under different user names), and it works great! I have retrieved all my Vines, as well as a few special favorites posted by others.

But whether you get Elmedia or use another route, download your videos ASAP! The chance to capture those moments will never come again.




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