Brace yourself, we’re in the midst of an animated photo renaissance. The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) — once a relic of the Web 1.0 era, with MySpace connotations and an 8-bit Nintendo sensibility, can now be considered a timely medium.
More compelling than a static photo and more immediate than web video, GIFs have evolved into what are known as “cinemagraphs.” The Cinemagram app for iPhone lets you turn any mundane real-world scene into a work of art. Since its launch in March, the app has attracted more than 2 million users.
This poses an interesting question: Is there a practical place for cinemagraphs in modern marketing?
Take Diesel’s latest ad campaign Screen Tests, for example. With the use of cinemagraphs, Diesel is taking advantage of a relatively new photography technique; in early 2011, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck were the first photographers to coin and use the ‘cinemagraph’ technique. Diesel’s cinemagraphs will be used throughout stores and on digital billboards this fall.
Alternatively, thanks to the simplicity of GIF creation, brand s can showcase user-generated cinemagraphs of their products, their fans or more. Interestingly, some of the top fashion blogs on Tumblr such as Topshop and Urban Outfitters hardly use GIFs at all – perhaps they are missing an opportunity here, especially considering the Burberry Google+ page has already taken advantage of animated GIFs for their page header.
Check out these ‘living photos’ of a few Dallas TMA-ers & submit your own to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Greenfield “beach ball of fury”
Katie Nevin “Klone”
Cinemagraphs are created by recording a video, isolating a particular section within the shot, and looping movement while keeping the rest as a static photograph. You can choose which parts of the image you want to animate by rubbing your finger over that region of the photo and – voila! – it moves. The rest of the interface mimics Instagram — with overlay filters, social features, a popular page, etc. Need more inspiration? See 5 Cinemagram Artists You Should Follow.