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In a social media world oversaturated with images, trying to stand out amongst all the visual white noise is becoming more of an extraordinary feat every day; every hour; every minute.


For all the shiny new trends coming and going, there are three key areas propelling digital: great storytelling, images, and mobile optimisation. Certainly, the recent demise of Facebook’s trending newsfeed is proof of this, following the realisation the way people are consuming news is shifting heavily to mobile through news video. Marketers are always looking for the newest ways to stand out, and Cinemagraphs are offering that very opportunity as the next big thing in digital advertising; elevating the still image to bring photos to life.

AMAZON: Cinemagraphs by Kevin Burg & Jamie Beck

In 2011, US photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg coined the word cinemagraphs to explain their process of still photographs featuring a small and repeated movement – really, they’re a very fancy and artistic animated gif. Essentially, they’re a short video file of a still image where the first and last frame are exactly the same and on loop. It’s an image in endless motion that is simultaneously elegant and engaging; and so subtle, you question whether you’ve seen what you think you’ve seen, and so drawing you in to keep watching.

STUART WEITZMAN: Cinemagraphs by Kevin Burg & Jamie Beck

In 2015, Beck and Burg were tasked by American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman to create a stunning marketing campaign across Instagram and Facebook – which AdWeek wrote all about >here<. It’s not hard to see why the campaign took the advertising world by storm: the images are compelling with Stuart Weitzman shoes walking out of the ad and into our memories.

ARMANI GLASSES: Cinemagraphs by Kevin Burg & Jamie Beck

The last three years have paved the way for cinemagraphs in the digital world. The perfect balance between photography and video, cinemagraphs are highly engaging and clever content catching people’s attention – just like this Armani Glasses ad.

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Cinemagraphs’ iconic elements requiring auto-looping and auto-playing video are perfectly suited to social media and digital advertising. They also tick all the boxes for every advertiser and marketer: producing a subtle wow effect that’s not quite as noisy and boisterous as video; more hypnotic and fascinating than a still photo while presenting the opportunity to tell a great story. You can make your own from scratch:

There are also quite a few apps available online so you can edit your own video clips directly on your phone:

Once you’ve gathered your tools, you then need a Plan.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your subject?
  • How many elements will be in the image?
  • What action is taking place in the video?
  • What elements will move and which ones will remain still?

Tip: Cinemagraphs are all about subtlety so remember to keep movement to a minimum.

Magical, fresh, unique, easy to use, and most importantly, taking engagement to the next level, cinemagraphs are mesmerising. The digital and social media stages are set where we’ll see cinemagraphs shine more often. Capturing the perfect harmony between photo and video, cinemagraphs are here to stay – and capture our attention.

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Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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