What Are Cinemagraphs?
Cinemagraphs combine video and still photography to produce surreal living photos. The effect is an arresting visual that causes your audience to pause. That pause is priceless in a world of content clamoring for eyeballs.
In the beginning, Cinemagraphs required a high degree of Photoshop skills to produce. They were time-consuming to produce and publish in a useful way. Flixel created tools to make producing professional Cinemagraphs and timelapse videos less cumbersome. Moreover, Flixel provided a cloud platform optimized for hosting Cinemgraphs created using Cinemgraph Pro. We were early adopters of the Flixel platform.
So, what happened?
Cinemagraphs Stole the Show (for a While)
Back in 2017, Flixel offered something new for the shift from images to video as first-class content on social and the web. Facebook (now Meta) embraced Cinemagraphs as first-class content on for Pages and personal feeds. Microsoft and Apple featured Cinemagraphs in PowerPoint and Keynote respectively. Advertisers loved the visual impact and the higher conversion rate of Cinemagraphs over still photography.
Like all SaaS companies, Flixel evolved in Internet time. By 2019, Flixel was feeling the full brunt of the Innovator’s Dilemma. More app companies entered the living photo market. The new market entrants were cheaper and production value was good enough.
New and old competitors put the nails were in Flixel’s coffin. However, it was the coronavirus pandemic that cover them in dirt. Why? No one was making portraits when the world ended. Photographers and content producers cut their costs and Flixel’s growth almost to a halt.
What’s Going on Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro Now?
The good news is that the app is still available in the Apple App Store. The company website still exists with service plans for apps and cloud hosting.
That’s great, right? Not, so fast!
According to Apple’s App Store, the app hasn’t been updated in over a year. For a mobile app, that’s terrible. The last update was for iPhone 12 camera support and iOS 14. The Flixel website echoes the decline.
- The last guides were produced three years ago.
- The last blog entry was from May 2019. Incidentally, Flixel removed dates from the blog to make it difficult to discern it’s out of date.
The only signs of life for Flixel are on social media: Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
What Are the Alternatives to Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro?
If you’re feeling skeptic about the Flixel brand, I don’t blame you. We were in the process of renewing our subscription and put a pause on everything. The recent negative reviews for the Flixel apps were enough for us to consider alternatives.
If you prefer apps, Motionleap by Lightricks is frequently an editor’s choice. Plus, the Motionleap app was updated last week. Professionals have better choices.
Adobe has made Photoshop better for producing Cinemagraphs. Plus, professional video editors like Final Cut Pro, Hitfilm Pro, Adobe Premiere, and After Effects can all produce high-definition Cinemagraphs.
YouTube and Vimeo are great platforms for hosting your Cinemagraphs without the need for Flixel Cloud.
What’s Next for Cinemagraphs and Video Marketing?
Cinemagraphs are no longer the darlings of social content production. You can see a shift in popularity for content tagged #cinemagraph. The images are not living photos at all. Flixel has lost its influence over their brand.
However, Cinemagraphs content is still looped video content. Cinemagraphs are still a visually compelling asset since every social media platform has made video a first-class citizen. For Instagram, I recommend mixing Cinemagraphs into your feed design over still images. Still images are better when your eCommerce Shop is connected to your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
With everything in social media marketing, test and experiment to find what content resonates best with you audience. Keep Cinemagraphs in your arsenal to keep variety in your content strategy. We’re all in pursuit of that scroll-stopping visual that gets our audience to pause. Done well, Cinemagraphs are hypnotic visuals with or without Flixel Cinemagraph Pro in the production pipeline.
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