Cinemagraphs: Pictures Brought to Life

Posted by Kalyn

Animated GIFs and Memes have become so widespread that some have even postulated a future when GIFs replace words as the primary tools for online communication. Whether we’ll live long enough to experience this online utopia remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that GIFs have already changed the internet landscape in significate ways, especially in the fields of web design and photography.

Web designers have always struggled to find the best way to capture a given audience’s attention. In the past, video backgrounds were the go-to way to create excitement and keep a user from becoming bored and bouncing off a website. But with the rise of minimalist design, we now have to find a happy medium between boring and overwhelming.

Enter Cinemagraphs

Combining crystal clear imagery with subtle, repetitive motion, cinemagraphs might be exactly what we’ve been waiting for. While they aren’t a totally new concept, thanks to J.K. Rowling and the imaginative world of Harry Potter, it’s still exciting to see this magic cross over to the muggle world.

So, who do we have to thank for taking a piece of our childhood fantasy and bringing it to life?

US photographers, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, began using this technique to animate their art back in early 2011. Cinemagraphs, however, are no longer an experimental art form. In fact, anyone who owns an iPhone 6S can bring all their images to life with subtle and captivating movement.

Cinemagraphs in Marketing, Social Media, and Design

Digital advertisers are catching onto the trend and are finding interesting ways to incorporate cinemagraphs into their work.

  1. Event Promotion – A&E Bates Motel

Flixel, a leading software company in the cinemagraph movement, recently partnered with A&E for their Bates Motel promotion at A&E 2015 Upfront. Flixel set up a cinemagraph photo booth where attendees could pose in front of a backdrop of the rickety hotel with a flickering street lamp hanging overhead. They could then share their “I Survived a Night at the Bates Motel” cinemagraphs on social media to promote the event and show.

  1. Email Campaigns – Netflix

Cinemagraphs are showing up in email marketing campaigns as well. Netflix launched a campaign for their original series, House of Cards, using cinemagraphs. The success of this campaign is a true testament to how powerful these living photos can be.

  1. Instagram & Marketing Campaigns – Stuart Weitzman

The luxury fashion brand, Stuart Weitzman, has a new marketing campaign that incorporates cinemagraphs to showcase the subtle details of their new products, like their Fringetimes Booties. The campaign mainly ran on Instagram because of the social network’s seamless video integration and its ability to intimately connect with both new and loyal consumers. Instagram has been a hotspot for brands to showcase their products and services while incorporating the latest online marketing trends.

  1. Social Media – Facebook Profile Video Integration

Flixel recently announced that it was chosen as a beta partner for Facebook’s new Profile Expression Kit. With this partnership, users will be able to make a cinemagraph using Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro iOS app and then upload it to Facebook to use as a profile video instead of a plain image.

  1. Web Design – The Nature Conservancy

As I mentioned earlier, designers have struggled to find a solution to keep websites interesting without becoming too cluttered or overwhelming. The Nature Conservancy has fully embraced the magic of cinemagraphs and use them throughout their website. These images are incredibly appealing to the eye and are a perfect match for the site’s nature-centric feel.

Cinemagraphs appear to be the perfect solution for designers wanting to stay ahead of the game. They are lightweight so they won’t slow down website load speeds, have just enough subtle movement to please the eye without being overly distracting, and are shown to generate 5.6 times higher click-throughs than still images in ad campaigns. However, we still have to keep our audience in mind when deciding to use these living pictures. As eye-catching as they are, cinemagraphs will not work across all demographics and platforms.

Can’t wait to start making your own cinemagraphs? Check out Flixel for yourself and start bringing your own images to life!

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