While cinematography is about the motion pictures, from 2011 there has been another buzz word hitting the press-cinemagraphs, which refers to still photographs with some sort of minor repeated movements. Many call these creepy, but this term coined by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck in 2011 have become an inspiration for Toronto based startup Flixel.
Cinemagraphs for iOS Users
CEO and cofounder of Flixel Philippe LeBlanc chanced upon these beautiful cinemagraphs sometime in late August 2011. Intrigued by this technology he was already thinking about the possibility of having an iPhone and iPad experience of the same. 2011 was a time when photo apps were ruling the app market. When a tinge of video was merged with still photography, the idea became essentially compelling to a startup like Flixel. To add, till date there has been no centralized point for viewing cinemagraphs. Being the foremost curator of this new medium, Flixel seeks to introduce this new form of art to consumers worldwide. The basic app comes for free and the “pro” will cost $10 only.
We have still pictures, we have videos- but an idea of merging the two takes static photo to another level. It heightens its message and meaning. The idea of storytelling has grown with cinemagraphs mesmerizing everyone with its beauty. Be it any other iPhone or iPad user, or a brand or agency- Flixel opens up doors for everyone to make their storytelling imaginative by holding onto one’s attention a little longer than a still photograph. With the emergency of digital billboards, Flixel gives its users the opportunity to distribute cinemagraph campaigns- not only online, but offline as well. With Flixel, “a hint of motion brings breakfast to life as bacon sizzles away and steam endlessly rises from a cup of coffee”.
“Flixel: Definitely Not The Instagram of GIFs” ~ Inc Magazine
Taking a deep dive into Flixel’s technology, its clear that Flixel’s intuitive interface pulls cinemagraph creations from the realm of complexities and makes it something that is easily accessible to anyone. Photographers need not spend hours struggling with Photoshop- They can simply invest their time in focusing on their craft. The secret sauce of Flixel happens to be its patented technology- which consists of the ability to paint motion into otherwise still scene, while providing a live preview of the final result.
Flixel is not just a destination for iOS devices- creating, sharing and viewing cinemagraphs- it is also a creative agency capable of consulting brands and offering complete visual package to enhance a campaign using the cinemagraphs. It is a one-stop shop for living photography. Co-Founder & CMO Mark Homza quotes “We had the pleasure in recent months of producing flixels and thus propagating the art form to millions with such iconic brands as Tyra Banks, America’s Next Top Model and Macy’s Marilyn Monroe Collection to name a few”.
Flixel’s Leading Investor & Fan- Tyra Bank
Tyra Bank happily calls herself “obsessed with technology”. She was delighted with this concept of ‘living photographs’. She called them ‘ghostly’ but love the idea. Tyra has claimed herself to be a fan of Flixel signing up as a supporter, and now her investment company Fierce Capital has invested in it recently. Being a modelling icon, she chose to feature Flixel in the current season of “America’s Next Top Model”. An unique feature that has made Flixel loved by all is that cinemagraphs are saved as looping GIF files that are easily shareable on the web. Banks attempted to bring ‘live photography’ to her work, thus ending up being at app Flixel.
Mark Homza and Philippe LeBlanc faced a lot of challenges while trying to build not just the “best” but the “right” product for the audience. It took them time to identify which features were truly necessary in providing the best experience for the growing community. They ensured that they had the resource and capital to expand, hired right people and cemented the right partnerships. Homza quotes “Starting up is never easy and don’t expect it to be. It requires immense dedication, resilience and the ability to be brutally honest with yourself and your fellow founders when changes need to be implemented”.
When Flixel released the original version in March 2012, they got in touch with many media contacts leading up to the launch. However, there were some hiccups initially with the site despite a quick fundraising. Flixel team bounced back in no time fixing all the hiccups because they knew tolerance level of their users were not to be tested.
StartupsFM cheered with Homza as he concluded with his vision on starting up – “Running a startup is an extreme endeavor and the pressure of hitting certain milestones for many entrepreneurs will bring about a degree of emotional strain. I think it’s important to always remain level headed, enable good communication channels with your fellow teammates and schedule time to focus on anything but the business”. If you have some awesome shots ready in hand, download the Flixel app and start imparting life to it.