The art of Cinemagraphs

Let’s go back a bit in our memory.

You remember the time when iPhone brought out a feature of ‘Live Photos’ in one of its models? It captured a 3-second moving image, and gave you a stunning feeling of illusion. It brought a breath of fresh air to the audiences who looked up to it as a new form of photography. 

Now why am I telling you this?

That’s because this is ‘somewhat’ related to the concept of a Cinemagraph.

GIFs have pretty much made our lives easier, when it comes to conveying those emotions which we normally cannot convey with words. Or probably we just want a good laugh in our conversations, so we bring up random GIFs. But you know what? GIFs date back to 1987 – yes, they are that old. Yet we use them still. 

It’s true that we are so accustomed to use GIFs, that anything props up on the internet, and you’ll have a GIF for it the next moment. But what if we go a step ahead of GIF?

See. In a GIF, there is a very short video which goes on and on in an endless loop. But the quality of the video is so bad, that we have to limit the usage of GIFs to our conversations or to our mail campaigns. We won’t prefer to use them on social platforms, because keeping in mind how we are today, bad quality just doesn’t surface.

This brings me to cinemagraphs. Take it as an extended and a much more expansive version of GIFs. Both of them are based on a concept known as looping. The only difference between both of them is about the picture quality. 

The main difference between both of them is well…quality!

It’s a seamless integration of photo and video, to create a masterpiece which involves moving the clip in an endless loop. The viewer cannot really differentiate between the video and the photo because they are so beautifully ingrained into each other. 

Cinemagraphs give you an aesthetic value. They give you a chance to stand out from the crowd, as there are a lot of display advertisements already present on the internet for the audience. They act as a subtle hint at excellence. If created well and with effort, they often come across as flawless.

Well. I tried creating a cinemagraph for the purpose of this article, but failed miserably. But, creating cinemagraphs is often a very easy task. They are usually shot on a 4K or a 6K video. There are plenty of softwares available online which help you create a cinemagraph.

A bit about their history.

They first came into being in Fashion Week 2011, in New York City. Two fashion photographers – Jamie Beck, & Kevin Burg – wanted something different in their work. With whatever tools they could garner, they crafted ‘the first cinemagraph’. 

Its been 9 years since then, and cinemagraphs are now becoming the thing of the future. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are now supporting HD cinemagraphs on their platforms, with the auto play and auto loop features on Facebook and Instagram providing a good cinemagraph experience to the users. 

And what’s more? They can be exported in any format. Videos. Photos. Even GIFs. That makes them accessible for any use. For brands, using cinemagraphs can yield big benefits.

Benefits of using a cinemagraph

Today, cinemagraphs are propping up in the ads of Toyota, Coca Cola, General Electric, Honda, Budweiser. Panasonic’s Lumix ad was clicked 60% more owing to the presence of a cinemagraph.

They do drive engagement. Think it like this. Take a flat photo in one hand. Play a loud video in the other hand. I am sure we all are tired by going through such pictures and videos every single minute. This is where cinemagraphs fill in the gap.

Now let me tell you some stats to show their benefits.

Flixel compared GIFs with cinemagraphs, and found really surprising results.

In another experiment conducted by Flixel, they generated 5.6X higher click through’s than still images, having a CTR of 0.80% as compared to 0.14% of still ads.

A cinemagraph campaign by Microsoft targeting small and medium businesses (SMB) & consumers, led to the following results. 

Brands and organizations can use cinemagraphs for a variety of options. They can include them in their social & digital advertising plans, or their email campaigns & newsletters (we’ll try this soon!). They can also be included in the websites, blogs and can be exported as pure videos.

A form of digital art should never go waste, especially when it gives an aesthetic value to the end consumer. So, go on. Try to create a cinemagraph of your own, and leverage its power. Maybe we can someday use a cinemagraph created by… YOU!

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