Is That a Video, or am I Tripping?: Cinemagraphs are the Next Big Thing

No you are not tripping. Well maybe you are. But what you are actually seeing is not a video, nor is it a picture. It is a cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is a little of both. It is basically a video that is partially frozen so, while parts of it are in motion, the rest is still. While I can go into great detail about the technicalities of this new art form I will be focusing on the marketing and advertising aspect of this new, engaging medium.

Cinemagraphs are perfect for capturing a quick moment of action that can be looped over and over. Though cinemagraphs have been around for a few years, they are just making a big hit in forms of advertising and branding. They are very popular on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram where users are often times overloaded with content. A cinemagraph is a way to stick out in a sea of content. Because of their automatic play and short loop they are easy to consume and hard to ignore.


Cinemagraphs can be used to create suspense

We are used to seeing photos or videos and often times our minds subconsciously skip over content we know already and by playing a trick on the mind consumers are easily attracted to this new concept. In my digital advertising class we learned about how eye tracking is giving us more knowledge on how people are consuming media. We learned that banner ads are no longer effective because eye tracking research shows that people’s gaze are going directly from the url and AROUND the banner ad to continue reading an article. While I am not able to provide data for eye tracking research on cinemagraphs, it is something that would be interesting to see.

Because of their low production costs, they are great for campaigns and marketing strategies. These are not to be mistaken for a GIF. A GIF is a low quality file and is created for entertainment and humour. There is also no aesthetics to a GIF while cinemagraphs focus more on creativity and art. A cinemagraph also creates an illusion and gets people to stop and stare. That extra five seconds of looking may not sound like a lot but in today’s world marketers and advertisers five seconds is a big deal. Like I said, they are the next big thing.

cinemagraphs house of cards
House of Cards Cinemagraph Campaign

Brands are starting to take note of this new medium to create a new form of storytelling. TV shows like House of Cards are also paying attention. Recently they just promoted a new campaign consisting of cinemagraphs to create hype for their upcoming season. More from their campaign can be found here on their tumblr site. For other examples of brands incorporating cinemagraphs into their social media campaigns check out this article from ADWEEK.

Let’s look at the benefits of cinemagraphs.

  • A new form of engaging advertising
  • Form of media that gets people’s attention
  • Cheap production costs
  • A new trend that is just beginning to take off
  • Creates higher click rate on social media sites
  • THEY’RE  F****** AWESOME!

Ad Age also recently posted a blog talking about the impacts cinemagraphs are making as well as giving some social media statistics. So now that you know a little more about this new art form you are probably going to start googling cinemagraphs, am I right? To make things simpler I am including a hyperlink to Flixel which is a program used by professionals to create visually stunning cinemagraphs. If you know After Effects or Photoshop you can even make your own. These are great for startups and bloggers to get more traffic to their site and make a little more noise in the loud advertising environment we live in.

Josh Berendes

4 thoughts on “Is That a Video, or am I Tripping?: Cinemagraphs are the Next Big Thing

  1. Cinemagraphs look very cool. I’ve seen them before without knowing what they were, but they definitely make an impression. I wonder what the difference is between them and the scrolling ads I see on Pinterest.

    Cinemagraphs seem to play without any prompting, but on Pinterest (a scrolling centered site) they have these ads that only animate once you scroll your screen. Those ads usually catch my attention every time because it is this sudden extra movement on the page in line with my scrolling speed. I can scroll up and down and watch the advertisement play through forwards and backwards.

    I’m not sure what those types of animations are called, but it will be interesting to see if they and cinemagraphs do catch on more in the online advertising industry.

  2. These are actually really cool! If pictures are worth a thousand words, cinemagraphs are worth ten thousand. I love how it is made clear that these are similar to GIF’s, but are not. It does however, remind me of the GIF’s that have the “perfect loop” as it is called. As you showed, they can really be done quite beautifully, and including the link to flixel was a nice touch!

  3. These remind me of a professional GIF. Sure they are technically not the same, but they definitely look more professional and could definitely be used in the same situations or even more. I’m sure many companies will continue to take advantage of these to use online as marketing and social media tools. I might have to try and make my own to test them out!

  4. As an independent filmmaker, I find this new mode of advertising to be extremely enticing. Putting up promotional photos from your film is a crucial step when advertising a premier or a film release, and using Cinemagraphs would be a perfect way to kind up ‘up the ante’ in that regard. I also love that there is an artfulness to them that is not present in a GIF. While GIFs can be fun, and good for advertising, there is something to be said for the craft itself. Releasing a Cinemagraph will feel more like releasing an art piece, rather than just a piece of advertising. I am definitely interested in learning how to create them myself! Thank you for this extremely interesting and enlightening post.

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