A bit of History

GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format), as we know, have been around for a while, but did you realise that they started in 1987? This technology is from the 80s and yet we still regularly use GIFs for entertainment, online expression and an entertaining way to explain things.

GIF Inception Box

Fast forward to 2011, and you have the first ever creation of a Cinemagraph. Created by two photographers – Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck – the medium was used in conjunction with model Coco Rocha for fashion photography. The cinemagraph will not replace the GIF within social communication, but has taken on the essence of a new art form.

Fashion cinemagraph

What’s the difference?

GIFs tend to be a small cut of a video or animation on a loop. They are single moments mostly used for comical effect. They use up 256 colours and are low quality moving images. Although a cinemagraph is still in the same format (.gif), the quality and aesthetics are paramount. They focus mostly on making a photograph come to life by making certain aspects move in a seamlessly endless loop. When looking at a good cinemagraph, you shouldn’t even notice the loop, but instead witness a moment lost in time.

Take a look at the list below to see the direct differences between a GIF and a Cinemagraph

GIF Cinemagraph
Created instantaneously, no focus on low quality (pixelated) Takes hours to create to refine aesthetics = HD
256 colours Millions of colours
Literally just playing a moment on repeat Seamless looping. Capturing an endless moment in time
Emphasis on animation to express funny/entertaining moment in time Emphasis on aesthetic
Slow load time Fast load time
communication Art piece
Higher MB Lower MB
entertainment Based on good photography/work of art

When should you use a Cinemagraph?

Cinemagraphs are time consuming masterpieces with an almost supernatural feel. They are most commonly used in fashion and travel, but can be effectively used in lifestyle and food industries too. They are supported by most social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram so can easily be part of a social media campaign.

If you want to create imagery with a gorgeous twist, then use cinemagraphs to your heart’s content. Just remember that they depend on the quality of the photograph. This medium is seen as a work of art so needs to be executed with the highest quality. Slightly mistimed loops or poor quality photography or video is all it takes to make your cinemagraph catastrophic.

Top Picks by the Quick Team

At Quick Formations, we really treasure fresh ways of communicating and showing you how they could be handy for your own use. Here are some of our favourite cinemagraphs.

Lifestyle – Cinemagraphs

Cookie and milk cinemagraph

Food – Gilt

Gilt Tomatoes cinemagraph

Travel – Flixel

Fashion – Cinemagraphs

Fashion cinemagraph