Cinemagraphs: discrete musclemen on the move!

The animated GIF are back

Cinemagraphs: discrete musclemen on the move! Cinemagraphs: discrete musclemen on the move!

The former animated GIFs of the late nineties are conquering the world again for the second time under their new name Cinemagraphs. This trend has not yet been noticed in Europe. Cinemagraphs have not yet attracted the attention of the advertising industry or the German trade press. 

However, in the USA, Toyota, Mercedes Benz and Dunkin Donuts are backing cinemagraphs with success. Impact analyses of Nielsen Brand Effect Suite prove they are right. This secret takeover campaign is not only being driven by high-definition ad screens at the POS but also by the decisions of Facebook and Instagram to technically enable the use of cinemagraphs as an advertising medium for social media campaigns.

Trendsetter: mobile phones

Remember the moving photos featured in the Harry Potter Franchise? Apple introduced a new feature for the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus a few days ago. Called Live Photos, a new “3D Touch feature” is allowing users to see short bits of animation in their images.  An extra 1.5 seconds of footage at the beginning and the end of each photo is automatically taken to enable this mini animations. Like most things done automatically the outcomeis is not really satisfying.


Unlike their pixelated predecessors, true cinemagraphs of today are on a roll both qualitatively and artistically with regard to content at the highest level. However, producing them only costs a fraction of what a video does. Cinemagraphs are neither photos nor films. They move between both worlds. Rationally speaking, cinemagraphs are an infinite digital loop where selected image elements move without a clear beginning or end.


However, unlike videos they give the viewer the freedom to independently discover and reflect upon image content. The triumph and the power of cinemagraphs is based on the fact that cinemagraphs are not perceived as a blatant advertising means. They appear pleasantly calming in the digital cry for attention and sometimes develop an almost hypnotic effect.


Great cinemagraphs are discrete musclemen! Cinemagraphs take our fascination for discovering visual worlds seriously. That is whywe should also take the potential of cinemagraphs very seriously.

About Kristian Widmer
Kristian Widmer (49) is Executive Producer and CEO of Condor Films Ltd. He has been advising customers on film and video for 23 years.

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