Cinemagraph: discrete musclemen on the move!

The animated GIF are back

Cinemagraph discrete musclemen on the move! Open the picture ("click") to see the animated cinemagraph

The former animated GIFs of the late nineties are conquering the world again for the second time under their new name Cinemagraph. This trend has not yet been noticed in Europe. This new format has 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, the lopped animations 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, they 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 this new format is 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! They take our fascination for discovering visual worlds seriously. That is why we should also take the potential of this discrete musclemen 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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