The Other World of Cinemagraph


What is a cinemagraph?

Based in New York, photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg created the first cinemagraph in 2011. A cinemagraph is basically a ‘living moment’ (AKA a moving bit!) in an otherwise still photograph. Since 2011, cinemagraphs have grown steadily in popularity.  Check out Jamie and Kevin’s website for some gorgeous examples.

Why is a cinemgraph different from a GIF?

GIFS tend to be used more for fun and basically are usually much lower quality than a cinemagraph. They are produced on a loop (i.e. the animation is on repeat) but this is more often than not purely so you can see the same funny thing happening again and again. A cinemagraph will usually be designed to look like the moving part of the image is constantly moving seamlessly.

What can I use cinemagraphs for?

Done well, there are lots of ways cinemagraphs can help your marketing sing. They work well on social media and still often have the surprise factor as people think initially they are looking at a purely still image. Use them as a basis for a particular marketing campaign, embed them on your website, or use them as a profile picture for Facebook – NB Facebook pages are as unsurprisingly boring to use as usual in this regard and there is no option for video profiles currently.  Instagram with its appetite for continuous, stand out content is also a great forum to build interest in your brand.  I am literally about to start using the Flixel app on my phone to upload cinemagraphs to our Vervate Instagram account so I will let you know how I get on in a few weeks.  In the meantime, here is a promotional video from Flixel with some great examples of how big brands are using cinema graphs:

How can I make a cinemagraph?

On both PCs and Macs, you can use editing software such as Photoshop to create them.  It is way more time consuming than creating a GIF, as the quality and aim of the creation is so different, however.

Flixel logoFor iOS, I recommend Cinemagraph Pro by Flixel, which won an Apple Design Award in 2014.  It is beautifully easy to sign up to and has simple access to tutorials – really, having just tried for days to figure out the best kind of online flip book creator, this was an absolute joy.

If you enjoy this kind of editing, then do give it a whirl.  Watch the tutorials first (very quick videos) and then have a go.  The tricky part, I think, is to make sure you plan the video you are going to use properly and make sure you use a tripod to shoot them (or a gorilla pod for an iPhone is good).  They offer a free trial (which I used here, hence the watermark).  You can shoot and start an edit on an iPhone and then refine it on your desktop – much like I did here:


I love the potential I believe cinemagraphs can have in marketing our businesses and am going to investigate it for Vervate over the next couple of months.  I look forward to reporting back and seeing if there are any services we can offer you that we think will be of benefit.  Give us a shout if you have anything to add at the moment or fancy having a go yourself to see how you think it can help.


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