Creating a Cinemagraph

Nov 24, 2015

The cinemagraph – the illusive, the illustrious, the must-have creative for every new digital campaign, also seems to be the most confusing and misutilized creative in digital today. Both clients and creatives alike remain perplexed. But have no fear; today we are going to clear a few things up because cinemagraphs are great creative devices and the perfect answer to the auto-play, auto-looping, no-sound video formats now standard on many social media platforms.
First, let’s establish what a cinemgraph is. Often, and understandably, they are confused with gifs. Both combine static and dynamic content, but the main difference lies in how much is animated. In gifs, multiple assets move in a continuous loop, whereas in a cinemagraph, the visual is completely static aside from one animated element.



Not a Cinemagraph (aka a GIF)


Now that we know what a cinemagraph really is, it is important to establish the rules. As with every creative, there is a time, place and technique to executing properly. For me, there are three key things to remember:

Be deliberate.

Before you even begin production on a cinemagraph, make sure this is the best possible representation of this message. Do not feel the need to create a cinemagraph because it’s trendy; make sure there is meaning behind it.

Be a storyteller.

When choosing what element of the creative to animate, be sure to choose wisely. The movement should further the story established by the image and accompanying copy, not distract from it.

Be clear.

Make sure the movement is pronounced enough that a viewer can immediately recognize it. It should not look unnatural or cartoony, but emphasized enough that users are not watching and waiting for action.

When you can combine these three principles, you create a cinemagraph that not only captures attention, but engages viewers. Now that we have established what a cinemagraph is and the best practices that go into creating one, go forth and create your very own illustrious cinemagraph.

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