Boomerangs are perhaps the quintessential story tool on Instagram. Surprisingly, there's never been much to them — point and shoot, and your subject plays forward and backward in a never-ending loop. Perhaps its prolonged simplicity inspired Instagram to give Boomerangs a bit more depth because the company just introduced three new effects to try out.
The new effects come as an over-the-air (OTA) update, meaning you don't need to update your Instagram app to take part in the fun, though, you should still be on the latest version for iOS or Android to make sure other tools and features are live for you. The OTA also means you might not see the option right away. In my experience, I had the update on my iPhone as soon as Instagram announced it, but it was missing on my Pixel 4. If it's missing on your device too, just give it some time.
To access these new effects, take a Boomerang as you usually would (open the Story camera, swipe over to "Boomerang" on the carousel, then tap the shutter button or hold it down and let go). Next, tap the infinity symbol along the top of the display to access the new effects.
Once you do, you'll see all four effects displayed as icons:
- Classic: The classic Boomerang we all know and love. No additional effects.
- Slowmo: Slows down your Boomerang for a dramatic impact. So just like the Classic one but in slow-motion.
- Echo: Adds ghosting to your moving subjects as the Boomerang loops, so the subject is replicated three or four times with a translucent mask which lags behind the central footage.
- Duo: "Rewinds" quickly and creates a distorted seeing-double effect for a split second on the return part of each loop, almost like an old VHS tape.
Aside from these effects, Instagram lets you trim your Boomerang videos as well. Just drag the left edge of the timeline to trim the video inward, and the right side to trim it back. It's about as simple as video editing gets, but it's effective.
While these Boomerang effects first came out on Jan. 10, 2020, we first heard about them through Jane Manchun Wong, who dives into apps looking for features in development, on Aug. 15, 2019. She found all of the above (though, some were named differently), as well as a "Hold" effect, which stops for an extended time at the end of the action before returning backward. Maybe that means more effects are still to come!