Travel Alberta & Critical Mass Create Award Winning Cinemagraph Campaign with Flixel

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“Fishing near Spirit Island on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada –

UPDATE – Critical Mass Wins OMMA Award for Travel Alberta Cinemagraphs

Congratulations to Critical Mass and Travel Alberta on winning an OMMA award in the Banner: Standard/Flash/Rich Media category for their Living Photos work for Travel Alberta. “We’re thrilled, but not surprised,” said Amanda Levy, CMO at Critical Mass. “Anyone who’s experienced the goosebump-inducing awe of our Flixel-powered cinemagraphs images of Alberta’s stunning wilderness would know we were a shoe-in. Still, it’s nice to hear things like this.”

“For the last 11 years, MediaPost’s OMMA Awards honor agencies and advertisers that push the potential of digital advertising. We congratulate Critical Mass and their “Living Photos” campaign for Travel Alberta, a perfect example of what the OMMA Awards stand for.” – Laura Daly, Director of Communications, MediaPost

Flixels (or Cinemagraph images) are a mesmerizing melding of the beauty of stills with hints of subtle yet fluid motion, creating an artistically fresh and highly engaging storytelling medium. With their use in a variety of marketing contexts having increased by 400% in 2013, it’s safe to say the medium is growing quickly, making motion an essential part of any advertiser’s visual message.
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Cinemagraphers take London by Storm

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London Calling

Our Flixel Community has no borders. From Beijing to Vancouver, cinemagraphers from across the globe create stunning living photos with Flixel Cinemagraph Pro.

One city that has been on fire lately is London. Not only does London contain beautiful architecture and streets bustling with cinemagraph possibilities… but also a cohort of incredibly talented Flixel cinemagraph and timelapse creators.

Charles Gervais

By, Charles Gervais

“London is an endless source of inspiration: around every corner is a famous view challenging you for a new interpretation. Walk around another corner, and you’ve got an obscure Victorian alleyway which you can shoot in an entirely different way. You want dense crowds? The right time of day and in the right place, you’ve got it. You want a wide open space with almost no people? Can do, there’s tons to choose from. Even woodlands, right in the city! London is over 2000 years old, and it’s still changing and growing. Amazing place.” –Charles Gervais

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Vertical Video: It’s Time to Rethink Your Marketing Strategy

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Shift to Vertical

For over 60 years we’ve watched video horizontally. That’s how the video evolution started thanks to TV and cinema being our main source of consumption. That’s changing. And changing fast – here’s why you should care.

Just as smartphones have changed the way we connect with friends and families, smartphones have also changed the way we view and record video. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube all now support vertical video. “People just don’t rotate their phones,” said Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat. If you think about it, smartphones have always been designed to be used vertically, not horizontally. When was the last time you caught a friends scrolling through their Twitter feed or a Mashable post with their phone held horizontally.  YouTube, Periscope, Meerkat and Mashable have all caught onto the concept, and creators are finding ways to shoot their video straight up, and directly from their phones.

Vertical Video Drives Results

Advertisers who were first to test-drive marketing on Snapchat found that when their ads were vertically oriented, they saw up to nine times more engagement. This makes sense, since vertical video takes up significantly more space on the screen then horizontal. And, if smartphone users aren’t rotating their phones, then vertical videos are far more powerful and visible. Snapchat is revolutionary in this regard and delivers a wholly vertical style in all of its content.


Image Source

Advertising has been a driving factor in many of Instagram’s changes to the app in 2015. The most recent being the switch from strictly square photo and video formatting to landscape and vertical. With over 300 million users, Instagram’s own analysis found that 1 in 5 photo and video posts were not natively square. Clearly, Instagram artists and Instagram advertisers yearned for more freedom on the platform. With the August 27th app update, Instagram finally added support for both portrait and landscape oriented photos and videos.

How to Prepare

With these recent changes, and more to come, marketers need to prepare for both the challenges and opportunities that vertical video holds. It’s a different way of thinking, but can be extremely powerful and rewarding if done right. From the pre-production to post, vertical changes the way you approach and execute each creative.

Creating Video Content on Your Smartphone

Video marketing doesn’t have to always be so tedious, time consuming, and require a big budget. In minutes, you can shoot and edit a cinemagraph with Cinemagraph Pro, creating outstanding results. You can even create living photos right on your iPhone with Cinemagraph Pro for iOS. Cinemagraphs look best in video format, working perfectly with auto-play on all of the major social networks.

In the upcoming months, look out for more vertical video ads in your newsfeed. Get ahead of the curve and start creating your own today!


PS. We love pancake cinemagraphs–sorry if you’re hungry now. Created by the talented Daria Khoroshavina from Moscow.

Cinemagraphs Catch Fire with Top Brands

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Each day we find new cinemagraphs being shared and promoted by companies like Doritos and Heineken on the major social channels. This helps to really bring awareness to cinemagraphs, and also popularize the medium.

Check out our video below which highlights cinemagraphs from the likes of Apple Music to Walmart.


Take a look at your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. In the upcoming months, you’ll start to see more and more cinemagraphs being posted by the brands you follow on social media. If you’re lucky, you’ve already started to spot them. Cinemagraphs are on fire, and it’s just the beginning!


Is Apple Live Photos Just a GIF App?

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Well the the short answer is YES! Oh boy, what have I done. I can already hear Apple fanboys and legions of GIF purists screaming repeating loops at me that I’m dead wrong. giphy (1)

Apple fans will simply revel in Phil Schiller’s words — this is “new technology.” It’s not a GIF because it’s “full resolution 12 megapixel stills”. It “includes sound.” Or my favourite bit of Apple marketing gobbledygook, “the motion is created using a space efficient frame-to-frame technology.”

Apple doesn’t want Live Photos to be associated with silly GIFs so they decided to immediately reframe the comparison to something different. Phil went on to say that Live Photos aren’t video either. Confusing eh? Especially after we had just learned that the new iPhone 6S shoots 4K video. giphy

The GIF purist will agree with all of the above points and will go one step further. But first, a bit of history. GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. A 28 year old file format that actually predates the world wide web. It has a long history on the web and its 8 bits per pixels and limited 256 colour palette is precisely what makes GIFs kitschy and fun.

While these arguments are technically true, it’s not really relevant. Ask the average Joe on the Internet to define a GIF, and they will almost universally answer with “a short loop of animated images.” How do I know this? Well as co-founder and CEO of Flixel, I’ve spent the last four years trying to convince thousands of potential customers that cinemagraphs, aka Living Photos, were not GIFs.

A cinemagraph is by definition, a still photograph in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. The key word is “minor.” When viewing a cinemagraph it looks like you are staring at a still but within this frozen moment in time there is one element that is in motion and continuously repeats. In the hands of creatives, the effects can be mesmerizing and hypnotic.

for more examples of beautiful cinemagraphs

Now you are probably thinking what do cinemagraphs or “Living Photos” have to do with Apple Live Photos? At this point, not very much, except that they both have their roots in how people interpret GIFs, short looping animation, and therein lies the problem. When Apple announced Live Photos and showed their demo, many on Twitter immediately thought Apple had created a GIF or cinemagraph app.

Last year, our app Cinemagraph Pro, had the good fortune of winning an Apple Design Award. So you can only imagine the kind of betrayal our team would have felt if Apple had honored us in 2014 and Sherlocked us in 2015.

Thankfully, this was not the case and I actually believe their new Live Photos will be the biggest catalyst for taking cinemagraphs and other short form video mainstream. Live Photos, is Apple taking a baby step towards a new art and commercial medium that is currently sweeping social media and digital marketing — micro-video.

For in reality, even GIFs today should be classified as micro-video. On Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Giphy, all of the GIFs you see are primarily being served up using video encoding to reduce file sizes. Also, video is nothing more than a series of still images stitched together and played at a set frame rate (normally 30 fps). Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to Live Photos? The only really difference we can see is that their player doesn’t compress the images like most video encoding does.

So why would Apple want to get into the micro-video space? Because longer form video is difficult and expensive to do well. With the iPhone 6s, the world will soon have 4K video creation tools in their pocket. While Apple wants us to use iPhones for both photos and videos, most iPhone buyers love their devices for image quality, not for its video recording capabilities.

That’s going to change and change quickly. Very soon all iPhone users will be creating and sharing micro-videos as often as photos. We all know that video has the ability to hold our attention far longer than a photo. And who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?