Cinemagraphs are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Published in either animated GIF format or as video, they give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video. However, as many stunning cinemagraphs across the internet show, the creativity in how those single elements are chosen and exploited is what makes them so interesting and watchable.
Produced by taking a series of photographs or a video recording, and, using image editing software, compositing the photographs or the video frames into a seamless loop of sequential frames such that motion in part of the subject between exposures (for example, a person's dangling leg) is perceived as a repeating or continued motion, in contrast with the stillness of the rest of the image.
The term "cinemagraph" was coined by U.S. photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who used the technique to animate their fashion and news photographs beginning in early 2011.
In December 2014, the United States Trademark and Patents Office awarded the trademark for the term "cinemagraph" to Flixel Photos, Inc., a Canadian software manufacturer.
So why and how can they be used in content marketing? In 2015 Instagram /Facebook introduced new video formats for their respective platforms. Of course Facebook has for a long time been able to post videos, but the new addition was 7 second profile videos and with Instagram, 15 second post videos. Cinemagraphs are effective in these kind of social media spots because of the looping nature of the static post or profile picture. To play a video can look great, but hair blowing in the wind on a profile picture made as a cinemagraph arguably does more to impress.
Whatever your business or niche, a cinemagraph can add a bit of cool to your social channels, by picking out the specific element that will catch the eye and surprise, mesmerise or interest your viewers. There is also something quite satisfactorily artistic and personal about the way they are made.
Some great examples can be seen here: