Coco in Oscar de la Renta (Image source: From Me To You. Link removed)
We’ve come a long way from the animated GIFS which once plagued the web. Cinemagraphs are a big step up. The term was coined by fashion photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck. They used the technique to animate their fashion and news photographs in early 2011. The pair have created an interesting body of work.
Cinemagraphs are frames from video which have been manipulated so most of the frame is frozen and only a small part of the frame moves in a perpetual loop. The results are eye catching as the porn industry can attest.
There are many free options on the web for converting video files to GIFSs, but they do not allow the selective animation that is possible with a Cinemagraph. If you have a video camera, tripod, and Photoshop, you can make your own. Here are detailed instructions. It takes some patience, but it is worth it. The same people who buy video services will also buy Cinemagraphs for their websites. These could be another profit center. You’ve got the gear. The skills are easily learned.
There are also online apps which make it easier, but charge for using the software. One such is www.flixel.com.
How To Use Cinemagraphs
The obvious place to use them is on a website. Yours or your client’s. It could be an ad or simply an attention getter. Perhaps a Cinemagraph of you operating a camera on your “About Us” page. The animated part could also be just a smile or a wink.
Cinemagraphs might also work well in emails if the size is kept small or a good way to start a video. Instead of just embedding a video from YouTube or Vimeo on your site and allowing only a still frame of the video to be used as the play button, make it a Cinemagraph which links to the video. Now it’s a perpetual moving billboard for the video.