A decade ago, a five-second clip of a prairie dog went viral. “Dramatic Chipmunk,” as it was erroneously titled, captivated the internet — and dramatic zooms have featured in popular culture ever since. And while you’ve long been able to create one by using the manual zoom feature of your smartphone camera, Instagram has a new tool that will do it for you automatically.
Superzoom, which is rolling out today on Android and iOS, lets you create a Dramatic Chipmunk-style zoom with a single tap. Highlight the tool in the story camera, choose the front- or rear-facing camera, and then tap the button. If you tap once you’ll create a 3-second Superzoom; you can tap and hold to create a longer one. All Superzooms include dramatic music to heighten the effect.
Short-form video has proven to be the lifeblood of the story format. Boomerangs in particular play particularly well in Instagram stories — the tiny loops bring a hint of motion to what might otherwise have been still photos.
During a day of playing with it, the Superzoom felt like a close cousin of the Boomerang. Train the camera on yourself and you can be your own Dramatic Chipmunk. Train it on a friend, an animal, or an inanimate object, and you can make any moment absurd.
I predict it will be very popular, at least for a while.