Bringing the best of both still photography and the moving image together, a cinemagraph appears like a photo with elements of the scene moving in a seemless loop.
Unlike the lower quality GIF format, cinemagraphs are displayed as short HD or 4K video clips that autoplay without any jumps in between. This makes them perfect for high quality content as webpage backgrounds, social media posts and ads, digital display screens right up to billboards!
nlike a traditional photo, cinemagraphs have the ability to invite peoples attention with eye catching movements that unlike traditional video doesn't 'demand' peoples attention. Call it the gentle art of persuasion.
More than supported they are becoming encouraged because tests run by Facebook have proven that cinemagraphs increase engagement compared to static images but without annoying viewers in the way that people have used video in the past.
Have a read of the following section specifically on looping video that is now built into Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1160942077279936
Cinemagraphs are now being posted to great effect on Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, Youtube etc. Each has it's own way of getting the best results.
Twitter: To make a cinemagraph loop endlessly on Twitter you need to convert the single video loop of your cinemagraph into a GIF that is under 5MB in size. Unfortunately that will reduce it's quality dramatically but given the display size of gifs on Twitter it can work ok for some content (mainly if it doesn't have areas that will form bands of colour such as a graduated sky at sunset). Alternatively you can upload the same video you created for Facebook (up to but below 30 seconds). Twitter supports video up to 30 seconds long. It will autoplay as people scroll to it in their feed but it won't loop at the end. See also how to use Vine to post an autolooping video to Twitter.
You can upload your single cinemagraph loop to Vine from the camera roll but it needs to be under 6 seconds and they do get compressed a fair bit and you're restricted to a square format... but it's also a great way to share it to Twitter where Vines will autoplay and autoloop better than a video uploaded direct to Twitter (Vine is owned by Twitter).
You can upload your cinemagraph loop from your camera roll via 'Memories'. You'll either need to save a version that's below 10 seconds or upload a longer video and Snapchat will split it into 10 second clips that play in order. These will show for 24 hours in your Stories. You're best to use vertical video cinemagraphs for Snapchat though viewers can just turn their phone on it's side to view landscape (though it's not recommended to expect that). Via 'Memories' a cinemagraph doesn't play full screen like video content shot within the app but it can certainly be a way to engage you're audience as part of your stories.
Youtube and Vimeo:
If you want a collection of your Cinemagraphs as a portfolio or compiled into a feature video then Vimeo or Youtube will suit. If you need to embed a cinemagraph through content management software that only allows Youtube or Vimeo embedding then it can also be useful. However getting video to autoloop from these sources is difficult. You're better off when you can using embed option through and account with Flixel.com
Flixel are the pioneers in making the cinemagraph format take off amongst creators and media. They make software called Cinemagraph Pro for iOS and Mac OS which is being used by all the top cinemagraph artists (including me!). Part of the subscription is their Cloud plan which allows you to upload and host your work in a gallery where you can control the ability to embed the cinemagraphs on other websites. Their embedding is designed specifically for looping cinemagraphs so there's nothing that works better. (Note the subscription allows for 10000 views of embedded content after which you have to pay for extra views, otherwise a Flixel logo appears on your embed). See www.flixel.com for more details and to get a 20% discount use my special code shown on my Tutorial page.
Social Media platforms are changing all the time but the current recommendations are as follows.
Facebook & Instagram: Cinemagraph Video at either 1920x1080px (Landscape) or 1080x1080px (Square) are recommednded. Square in some cases is shown to still get more engagement but depending on your content landscape can work better. Square format can help show details of the subject better because it shows a little larger but if you want to portray an overall atmosphere and scene in a photographic or cinematic way then landscape can be better. The single loop of a cinemagraph is usually between 2-6 seconds so we loop it (end to end) into a longer clip as needed. The recommendation for Facebook is as close to (but below) 30 seconds as possible, as Facebook now loop these up to a max of 90 seconds. Instagram will loop without end and now supports video up to 60 seconds before it loops.
Video for website backgrounds is best saved as an optimised video file such as .mp4 or .webm - a great online converter for these is www.cloudconvert.com - this means the video still retains a high quality look while reducing the load time but making it's file size smaller.
Cinemagraphs can be shot and saved as 4K videos producing stunning clarity for high resolution display screens. Imagine these showing on the wall of your office or at a trade show! They can simply be loaded from a USB or over a network.
Making a good cinemagraph is the same as taking a good photo. Technically anyone can do it but it takes time and skill to do it well. First and foremost I approach a cinemagraph as a form of photography, it should be an image that would work almost as well on it's own, static. But by introducing the element of motion you take it to a whole new level. Shooting a cinemagraph can take between 1 - 5 hours depending on it's complexity and post production can take between 1 - 5 hours depending on it's complexity. Often a great image is not only about using fancy cameras but about how well the image tells it's story. However I use some expensive camera gear and a suite of software to acheive a very high quality finish... there's no denying, it does make a difference!