Written by Aaron Charlie– Thu 19 Feb 2015
By now you probably will have heard the news that 'cinemagraphs' are coming to Facebook ads. If you haven't heard of a cinemagraph before then take a moment to appreciate the almost-hypnotic power of a Yellowstone waterfall from footage captured in a video 'Echoes in the Canyon' by David Hollandsworth.
Credit: Reddit user 'BigMurph26'
A cinemagraph is usually video that, through image editing software has been converted into a sequential, looping gif. The creator has edited the video so that large portions of the image are stabilised and selected sections are kept mobilised. We expect marketers will take advantage of Facebook's autoplay function for videos. I personally believe that cinemagraphs will become the greatest aesthetic marketing tool to hit Facebook in recent years.
Cinemagraphs have been around since 2011 when Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg created the method to advertise their fashion photography. It doesn't take a trained eye to see why cinemagraphs are so effective. I imagine the Twitter and Tumblr users amongst us will be no strangers to the occasional 'living image'. Animated .gif's have long been an art form on Tumblr - almost exclusively (until now).
Twitter technically supports animated gifs. In reality, they have been converted into MP4 video and must be clicked on to be viewed. No surprises that they often don't take off.
Now, are you sitting comfortably?
Facebook's autoplay function. Yes, I'm well aware of the emotional rollercoaster we all go through every single time we browse our newsfeed. But just hear me out a minute.
Cinemagraphs will appear in video format within the newsfeed and because of the autoplay feature. That's right, you guessed it - cinemagraphs will come to life the moment they appear on your desktop or mobile.
'Never Getting Closer' from Reddit user 'plebeian_lifestyle'
Cinemagraphs have been used in advertising before, and to great effect.
Take a look at Coca Cola's 'Let's take this poolside'.
The gif has currently has over 80,000 notes on Tumblr- despite only being described as a Tumblr 'experiment'.
This one comes from footage from a Volvo Ocean Race produced by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg's 'Ann Street Studio'.
Get creative - think outside of the box when it comes to marketing your product. You could even say that some of the most viral promotional videos and images only shared a tenuous link with the product they were advertising.
Gilt Taste's cinemagraph of fresh tomatoes is every food marketer's dream. Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (Yes, those two again!) created this incredible gif for the foodie magazine which unfortunately no longer exists.
With that being said... anyone else getting a little peckish?
In terms of creating your own cinemagraphs, I recommend following Phlearn's comprehensive 'How to Create a Cinemagraph in Photoshop' tutorial.
Alternatively there a number of free animation software and paid apps:
Kinotopic - Very difficult to produce studio quality cinemagraphs. Great for sharing those special moments with friends in a unique way.
Cinemagraph Pro - Currently free on the app store, the MAC exclusive version will set you back a bit more. If you're a smaller business I'd advise you to follow the development of cinemagraphs on Facebook to consider whether if will be a worthwhile investment. The app however, is fantastic- I highly recommend it.
Photoshop - If you have a version of Photoshop available to you it is well worth investing the time in learning how to create your own. Developing your design portfolio will really boost your prospects if Cinemagraphs take off like they're expected to.
All you need is a camera and a creative perspective, the rest will follow.
Feel like your Photoshop skills aren't up to scratch?
Why not come on our comprehensive 2 day Photoshop course in Brighton to get yourself up to speed?