Bringing content to life with cinemagraphs

Roughly a 2 minute read by Tom

In the increasingly saturated world of digital marketing, brands and creatives alike are constantly looking for more impactful techniques to push boundaries and create better and more engaging content. Animation is high up the list for content creators at the moment, but animation on the web isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. Back in the early days of the internet in 1987, web pioneers started to experiment with basic moving images which would display on any screen, and so the ‘GIF’ was born. We all know what happened between then and now (no one mention the ‘F’ word!) but love them or hate them, fast forward 28 years and GIFs are well and truly back ‘on fleek’ (sorry).

The reinvention of the GIF has brought with it huge shifts in the order of social content. With the likes of Vine and Instagram nipping at the heels of Facebook and Twitter, it wasn’t long before autoplay videos became a standard addition to your news feed, and therefore into the mainstream.

So where did they come from?

Back in 2011, New York based photographer Jamie Beck and designer Kevin Burg developed the ‘Cinemagraph’. It’s somewhere between a photo and a video, a piece of artwork that ‘seeks to perfectly capture a fleeting moment in time’. And for social content, it’s gold dust. After all, what’s more natural than motion? People walking, a drink pouring, clouds moving. Everything in our real lives move, so why not online?

We’re big fans of the Cinemagraph in the studio. People often say to us that it’s the animation that makes our website (or presentations, or whatever) come alive, and it’s true. And whether it’s in an email, on a website, or your Instagram feed, cinemagraphs are increasingly taking over our screens.

So why have they become so popular?

  • They are great for sharing, and encourage a higher level of engagement
  • They are attention grabbing without being distracting or annoying
  • They are easier and cheaper to produce than video
  • They help breathe new life into otherwise static imagery

Here’s some of our favourites from around the web:

It’s hard to argue with the results. Cinemagraphs can be stunning, they’re quicker to produce than regular video, and perform better than static content, it’s win win! Who knew there was so much potential in the old GIF, it’s left us wondering what the next trend will be...