Cinemagram Turns iPhone Photos Into Animated Gifs In Seconds

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Remember when the iPhone app GLMPS launched last summer, seemingly heralding the start of a new image format that blended static photos and video? No? That’s OK. Today, there’s a new twist on the idea of reinventing the mobile photo, this time by turning static photos into animated ones. With the newly launched app called Cinemagram, you can turn your iPhone pics into animated gifs in a matter of seconds.

Cinemagram isn’t quite the same as GLMPS, to be clear. “The GLMPS app embedded an entire video as a picture-in-picture onto the image,” explains Cinemagram’s co-creator and company CEO Temoojin Chalasani. “Cinemagram is just one image with a subtle animation,” he says.

The new app was designed by the Montreal-based startup called Factyle, Inc., which you may know as the makers of Smartr, the personalized, social newspaper app for iOS and desktop. And it really is kind of fun. Especially if you like making those animated gifs and posting them to social networks. But the app’s overall UI (user interface) feels a little rough, and frankly, too Instagram-like. Or Instagram-lite. I’d love to see app makers think outside the Instagram UI for a change. (Cheers, I’m looking at you, too). Besides, haven’t you heard? We’re all ripping off Pinterest now, anyway.

But back to the app at hand:  why try to reinvent the mobile photo? Especially when apps like GLMPS seemed to be, for all their bells and whistles, a flash in the pan?

“We’ve been fascinated by this art form since its first appearance last year in the world of fashion photography,” says Chalasani. (Last year? Update: Oh this.) “We see it as a way for photographers to bring out the essence of an image, and tell the story behind their pictures in a fun and beautiful way.”

What’s more, the company said they were shocked to find that photographers spent hours in PhotoShop trying to create these sorts of images, so they decided to make an app that could do it in seconds.

You can see some of the gifs in question here on Cinemagram’s blog.

Factyle, which has been in development for over 2 years, raised $150,000 in seed funding last April from Montreal-based Real Ventures. In addition to Chalasani, who describes himself as an electrical engineer with a love of mobile and social apps, there’s also co-founder Marc Provost, a former Mathworks Inc. employee.

Cinemagram ($1.99) isn’t the first to do this on the iPhone, for what it’s worth. Kinotopic’s app (free) was previously featured by Apple for a similar effort.