Sunday, March 15, 2015

Instagram Videos Now Loop, and Here's Why Brands Are So Excited About It

Instagram's new, endlessly repeating video loops make it easier for users to keep watching without having to click "play" over and over again. They're also giving brands a new way to get creative, as seen today when The Gap launched a micro-series on Instagram tied to the looping function.
Instagram, which has more than 300 million users announced the Vine-like video feature today. Brands were among the first to post clips taking advantage of the loop. GoPro, a popular sharer on the app, posted a pair of skis hitting the snow in slow motion. The National Basketball Association shared a highlight reel of emerging Miami Heat star Hassan Whiteside.
But the brand best positioned to take advantage of the looping video was The Gap, which debuted a new micro-show on Instagram, featuring actors Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine). Wieden+Kennedy New York helped develop it.

"The nature of the videos is that you get something different every time you play them," said Tricia Nichols, Gap's global leader of consumer engagement, media strategy and brand partnerships, referring to the 12-part series. "The story twists and turns, and there are little Easter eggs. So it's the perfect opportunity for video loops."
The Gap series, billed as the "weirdest love story ever Instagrammed," is timed to the lead-up to its spring clothing line and will have a new installment every week. The Gap will share the videos on platforms like YouTube, too, and it will pay to sponsor the posts on Instagram, Nichols said.

Subtly animated cinemagraphs are practically hypnotic

What if there were an ad that you just couldn't draw your eyes from? It's oddly captivating, almost hypnotic, and it would halt your thumb from scrolling farther down your Facebook feed. 
There's one such creative format that is only now catching on as the digital world's equivalent of the glossy magazine ad: cinemagraphs. And Facebook, along with its mobile photo network Instagram, wants more brands to try them out as it quietly introduces advertisers to the potential of this half-video, half-photograph style, according to digital marketing insiders.
"You're going to start seeing a ton of these on Facebook," said one advertising executive who has seen a guide produced by Facebook for marketers called "Hacking Facebook Autoplay."
Cinemagraphs have been around for a few years, made popular by two artists well-known in ad circles, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck (who created the Armani eyeglasses image above). The format is a type of GIF, a photo in which only a piece of the image subtly moves.
A cinemagraph created for Balenciaga by Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio.
The style has been used in ads on Tumblr created by Burg and Beck, and now Facebook is giving it a whirl.
"Because of autoplay, brands need to be doing more with this stuff," the ad exec noted. "This is something that plays out with motion in the feed that's cool."
Some brands already have shared cinemagraph-style posts to Facebook, including Stouffer's and Coca-Cola. One of the common uses is to depict steam wafting off a hot dish, for instance.
Facebook has only been able to support such creative because of its autoplaying video, which sets images in motion without users having to click a button. "Advertisers buy it just like video," the ad insider explained.

Here Is the Captivating Ad Format Facebook Hopes Will Wow Its Users

Just last week, Facebook updated Instagram to allow videos to play on a loop, which could help brands post cinemagraphs there because they are set to constantly repeat.
Burg and Beck have done Tumblr ads for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Motor Co. It's helped luxury brands like Chopard with creating cinemagraphs for organic social campaigns.
The duo said they were just playing around when they discovered this idea of "isolated motion," Burg said in a phone interview this week.
They thought the format would be ideal for advertising. "People can't stop staring at them," Burg said. "Isn't that what advertisers want?"
A third of the projects they do with brands include cinemagraphs, and the artist agreed that their clients are just now planning how to get them on Facebook and Instagram.

A cinemagraph created for Ecco Domani by Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio.
Burg and Beck have even talked with Facebook's team to consult on projects because of how complicated the format is. It could take weeks in production to create a cinemagraph, they said.
"We've had all kinds of new inquiries [from brands]," Beck said. "They don't want video that's so noisy; they want a cinemagraph because it has more elegance."
A cinemagraph created for Lincoln by Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio.

Friday, March 13, 2015

So Long Animated GIFs, Hello Cinemagraph

Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg have been making quite a splash this year with their "cinemagraph" technique, combining still photography and video to "unfreeze" a photo in time. The results are stunning, and show that there was more potential in the old animated .gif format than had yet been realized.
We caught up with Jamie and Kevin, who let us in on their process.
Turnstyle: Animated .gifs have long been the territory of goofy forum signatures and internet memes, what caused you to take the idea of animated photographs up to the level of art?
Jamie & Kevin: We wanted to tell more of a story than a single still frame photograph, but didn't want the high maintenance aspect of a video. In preparation for Fashion Week we were trying to figure out a way to show more about what it was like being there, so cinemagraphs were born out of a need to tell a story in a fast digital age.
The basis for these is always a still photograph which is why they maintain the artistic approach and visual style of Jamie's still photography. What we strive to capture is the moments before and after a photograph is taken.
TS: Why "cinemagraph"?
J&K: There's a cinematic quality to them in both the way it captures a moment as well as the coming together of still imagery and moving imagery. "Cinemagraph" represents, in a single word, what the images represent visually. Coco Rocha put it well: "More than a photo, but not quite a video."
TS: Technically speaking, how are these different from animated .gifs? I'm perceiving a lot more frames of animation for one, but is that just my brain filling in the blanks? It also feels like the animated parts are isolated from the rest of the composition.
J&K: An animated .gif is usually a sequence of stills pulled from video, animated art, or other imagery that is repurposed into a .gif. What we do is different because it's a traditional still photograph with a moment living within it. For us it's less about the .gif format -- that's just the vessel by which it's best to deliver them on the web, although the limitations of the format have been very influential on the visual style of our images. The .gif format itself is ancient by internet standards but much like photography people are always finding interesting new ways to communicate within the confines of existing formats.