No longer does the noun “boomerang” only apply to a flat piece of wood that returns to you once thrown. Instagram has expanded this meaning to now pertain to a video—of sorts—that “rebounds” like a boomerang would, from the beginning of the video to the end, and right back around!
But if a Boomerang is only sort of a video, not quite a GIF, and more than a photo, what is it? A boomerang is essentially a burst of photos that are sped up to play on a forever loop forwards and backwards to create a video-like appearance. These can be taken from both the front or rear-facing cameras on a phone.
Boomerang was released in the fall of 2015 and has picked up momentum ever since, especially on the Instagram scene. Not an Instagrammer? No problem! As long as you have the Boomerang app, you can boomerang—also a verb—as much as you’d like and share the results on Facebook or save them to your phone’s photo library.
What most Boomerang users don’t know, however, is that there are “hidden” settings that allow you to further customize your Boomerang. All you have to do is tap the Boomerang screen four times with four fingers, and abracadabra: the world (or at least Boomerang) is your oyster. For example, you can control the direction of the loop. Most Boomerangs go forwards and backwards, but you can choose to have yours loop only forwards, only backwards or pause in between. Additionally, you can determine how fast you want your frames to be captured, meaning how much time elapses between the successive photos while they are being taken. You can customize the playback frame rate as well, which regulates how quickly the Boomerang will loop through your photos. You can also customize the number of frames (typically between 3 and 10 pictures) by releasing the capture button once you have finished taking your photo burst, or by determining it in the settings.
While Boomerang has changed the Instagram game, there are still improvements to be made in this app going forward. For example, Boomerangs don’t currently include a sound option, since they are “technically” a burst of pictures, not a video. Future updates will hopefully include sound as an option.
Similarly, I would suggest that developers allow users to upload previously captured video files and transform those into Boomerangs. There are times when you would like to keep a copy of a normal video, but you cannot simultaneously record a video and a Boomerang. Permitting Boomerang to use videos in the camera roll would allow users, particularly on Thursdays (#tbt), to show an old experience via a trendy Boomerang.
I hope you’re excited about showing off your newfound skills, ‘cause let’s face it… most of us have never quite excelled with actual boomerangs, but we can now pride ourselves on our proficiency with Boomerangs.
This post was written by current Renegade intern Katalina Bock. You can follow her on Instagram @katalinabock.