Instagram update expands video capabilities

Video on Instagram may only be a few weeks old but it has already been given a shake-up. Instagram 4.1 is no 'bug fixes' version - the iOS and Android app update contains some noteworthy improvements (not least that Ice Cream Sandwich users can actually take advantage of the 15-second video functionality that iThing users have been using since June).

Headlining the Instagram app update is the ability for users to import pre-shot video from their Camera Roll or Gallery as part of their 15-second clips, rather than relying on video shot exclusively from within the app.

Imported clips can now be added to your Vin... sorry, 'Instagram Video'

Instagrammers can also use the new trim and square crop tools, as well as utilising the frame-by-frame editing tool, to create the perfect brief clip primed for upload to the social sphere.

This element of Instagram 4.1 is the latest additional battalion in the Facebook-owned company's ongoing war with Twitter's Vine. Vine does not allow users to import previously recorded video and features fewer editing options than its rival, but arguably it is Vine's simplicity that attracts users to the 6-second clip-maker.

Video editing is simpler and more comprehensive in the app

Instagram credits user feedback for the update. "Video Import from library has been one of the most requested features from the community since the launch of Video on Instagram," says a press release on the Instagram website.

"With the ability to import video from their library, we're giving people more creative control and broadened the scope of moments they can share, even if they already happened. In addition, we're providing a powerful and simple to use video editing tool."

Photo straightening is another feature of the update, but only for iOS

The other main improvement within Instagram 4.1 is a photo straightening tool - only available in the iOS app. This does exactly what it says on the tin; straightens your photo if it's a little bit 'on the wonk'.

Continuing the 'importing' theme of the update, the straightening tool includes a slider so you can rotate and adjust any photo, including ones imported from your photo library - a useful tool particularly if you're in the habit to photographing while drunk.

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Do you use Instagram? Does the update improve your experience with the app? Tell us in the comments...