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Opinion and Insight

GIFs vs Cinemagraphs: It's Time to Stop Using Tech from the '80s

Flixel, 1 year, 9 months ago

Flixel pits the two mediums head-to-head

GIFs vs Cinemagraphs: It's Time to Stop Using Tech from the '80s

Crazy as it sounds, most people still use technology created in 1987 to 'show-off' their cinemagraphs on the web. You heard it here. The infamous GIF file format dates back to the dark ages — long before the birth of the Internet. Why the heck is it still around?

We all love seeing GIFs used for memes and looping cat videos. Heck, one silicon valley startup even raised an ungodly sum of money as a platform for sharing animated GIFs. Unfortunately, the GIF file format was created for tiny little images made up from a handful of colours.


But for beautiful cinemagraphs? Come on, give your head a shake. It's time to grow-up and leave the animated GIF to your nephew that loves making looping Brady Bunch or Homer Simpson animations. Now that major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter support HD cinemagraphs, you should be focusing on high resolution images.

Click the image to see it full screen. (Trying doing this with a GIF)

The cinemagraph images created in Cinemagraph Pro are often based on HD or 4K resolution video. If you're converting an HD resolution to a GIF, it's the worst thing you could do. Your beautiful cinemagraph will become a bloated bandwidth hog that will bog-down most web pages and won't look nearly as good as the original source video. Stop it right now.

All Flixel cinemagraphs include an embed-code. The embed code ensures that the cinemagraph will play at HD resolution with millions of colours. This is similar to embedding a YouTube video on a web page. It'll look fantastic in any browser and on any device while keeping the file size very small.

What's even better is that social media is starting to open its doors wider for high quality video content. Thanks to recent auto-play and auto-loop functions on Facebook and Instagram, your cinemagraphs can now live endlessly in all of their video glory without sacrificing their quality in a compressed GIF format. 

Don’t believe us? Wizards, you say? Possibly. How about you take a look at the stats first before jumping to such presumptuous conclusions.

Seriously, you still need convincing? Alright, take a look at the cinemagraphs below for some visual validation. Unfortunately, if you're using a mobile device you won't be able to see the difference. There is no way to control the autoplay in a mobile browser, so we send a GIF with our embed code to ensure it loops. Check it out on your computer for the full effect.

Flixel Embed


GIF Embed


This is the hard truth, people. It’s pretty amazing that the GIF format has lasted this long! At the most basic level, the definition of GIF is: a lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images. Overtime the word GIF has become wrongly interchangeable with short repeating videos. Lets be real; looping videos are awesome. Looping videos will most likely always be awesome, but now we have a solution to maintain HD quality AND lower the file size. Why not get the best for less?

Category: Online , Publications and media

Genre: Digital