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Something new in Staff Picks

Jordan McGarry
January 23, 2014 by Jordan McGarry Alum

If you look at the Vimeo Staff Picks Channel right this instant, you may notice something different: certain Staff Picked videos have animated thumbnails. That is, the thumbnails are moving — before you play the video! Don’t worry, we are doing this on purpose.

As an experiment, we’re adding animated thumbnails to select Staff Pick videos going forward. Mostly, we want to know if people find animated thumbnails compelling — on a basic visceral level, is this something your eyeballs enjoy? But we also want to know if videos with animated thumbnails are more likely to be noticed and watched.

We'll ask Staff Picked creators for their official stamp of approval before we apply animated thumbnails to their videos, and, as we mentioned, not every Staff Picked video will get one (for now, anyway!). At the moment, animated thumbnails will only appear in certain places on vimeo.com — in the Staff Picks Channel and on that Staff Picked video’s page.

So let the experiment begin! And please use your words, i.e., the comments, to tell us what you think.

158 Comments

gnakli PRO

Nice I approve !!!
I really like the breath of life it brings to the thumbnail.

At First Sight Films Plus

Great move Vimeo! I think if users had the option to upload animated .gifs (or even better if there was a tool that could select a portion of the video for an animated gif as a tool) it would be great. It grabbed my attention right away, that's for sure. Cheers fellas.

Goes Anime Plus

+1 for the first thing you said. I'm not so worried personally about a tool for this, but sure, if people don't know how to make an animated GIF maybe that is nice for them.

Brian Curtin Plus

Yes, I think that's a great idea. It would be great to have the ability to upload our own .gifs.

Thom Ekers

Looks great!

How can I have my new film looked at for staff pick consideration. I can't find any easy way to submit films to you guys!

I can post on the staff picks channel but with people constantly reposting their films and no way of having the thumbnail appear, I feel like I go unnoticed :(

Francesco Carzedda

It looks like a great idea, creators might make good use of this option to try to synthetize the spirit or the message of the video.

antonio vicentini

Nice idea but after a couple of videos it starts to get really annoying.

Goes Anime Plus

Hey Antonio, I've never seen a bunch in a row. Can you point me to a link that shows more than one of these at the same time, so I can experience what you describe?

Charles Yeager Plus

Creative, but it does look like GIFs & I personally feel like it makes videos look 'cheap'. I like to focus in on the details of a still image.

Jon Roemer Plus

I agree about it looking like animated GIFs. I'll add in, it also looks like annoying cheesy internet ads. Plus, it feels kind of creepy and is unnecessary.

The viewer is going to the video to watch it, see it move. The thumbnail doesn't need to move as well.

DEADBUG says PRO

I think it may work with certain applications but as Antonio mentioned, it may get annoying.

Nemo Gould Plus

I love the idea. I embed videos of moving sculptures on my site along with photos. I'd imagine a moving preview would make the videos more enticing to click. If this was a setting that could be toggled on and off in your embed settings then I think it'd be a win.

PiUcH GX

I think this is a great idea...¡Keep going!

Steven Prael Plus

Sorry! To my mind it's absolutely annoying. I could imagine it if the animations were just veeery tiny, just a little bit, though. The examples which are available right now are too much, too fast.

Steven C. Hight Plus

Unless it's done minimally and slowly, as Steven Prael suggests, I think that it actually detracts from the experience.

Francesco Carzedda

We saw just one, a cartoon pic, I think it will be important to evaluate the impact in a longer time and after beeing accustomed to this way of introducing to a video.

NIC PRO

animated gifs are moving images - a series of still images placed together creates the illusion of movement

lanacaprina Plus

I don't like it at all. Looks very very cheesy to me - really gif like as people said. A nice still is much more appealing (and professional looking).

Chris Diken Staff

At the moment, all of the Staff Pick creators with animated thumbnails opted-in to it and approved the animation — we would never do this without people's permission, or automatically.

Goes Anime Plus

@Chris, that sounds like you're considering offering it as an automated service though... why not simply let people upload animated GIFs they've created? What I truly love about Vimeo is the freedom it allows versus other video sharing sites and that is the reason I not only have a paid account but upload all my content here, and not on YouTube, for example, which even has a bigger audience.

Dan Funk

interesting concept, but I found it quite overwhelming and annoying, almost a bit nauseating after a few seconds. I love the still image model instead.

The Film Artist PRO

It suits some but not others but I like the idea, I do miss the old Vimeo HD channel and maybe you can bring something similar back like Vimeo 4K when you have the technology :)

Davis Silis Plus

They look super good and work well on some videos, but not as well on others... But that said, they look SUPER SUPER good on some.

Eric Paré PRO

Nice! Are we allowed to do the same with our videos ? (using an animated gif as a video cover)

Chris Diken Staff

Not at the moment — that's sort of what this test is meant to figure out :D

Goes Anime Plus

Yes, I would beta test too, though I have no staff pick videos. I as well already made my own animated GIF cover and I understand the necessity to make things subtle and delicate of course. I agree with a lot of people that it shouldn't be overdone. One thing might be to let people upload animated GIFs that only appear animated once you get to the singular video page (the permalink). Could be a good compromise... no?

Yoveo Media Plus

In my opinion, this is a step down from the level of classy we've come to expect from Vimeo. At first I was intrigued, but now I really don't like it.

Daniel Belay Plus

I think this is a great idea, but perhaps leave the choice to the user to enable or disable the feature?

Chris Diken Staff

Totally — if we roll out this feature, it would be completely up to the user to decide what to display.

Goes Anime Plus

But are you saying that the idea is for automatic creation of the animations or allowing users to upload one they've made?

InGage Digital Media

Good start guys. Way to keep thinking on ways to innovate. I think in the long run this idea will blossom into something that works well where one could take a series of compelling shots from the video and turn them into a clever minishow that inspires the visitor to click the thumbnail and play the video. An irritating gif that plays over and over every 3 seconds, no. A more classy piece that might rotate through a series of scenes in 10 seconds, yes. Anything to drive the user to click play!

Chris Diken Staff

Thanks for the feedback — this test is meant to figure out what works. We definitely want to prioritize the classy over the annoying.

GAntico Plus

I find them more annoying than entertaining. In a few cases the loop could be cute, maybe for some animations, but for many other cases it's an odd schizophrenia of random frames.

When you are in a video page and you want just to read the description or the comments, I feel forced to press play then pause to stop it. Yes statistics will say that more people will press play, but someone will do it only because there's no other option to prevent them.

Unit 304 Plus

A couple of things if this goes to full roll out:
1) Make it an option that can be specified (whether or not the thumbnail should be animated)
2) Just as we can choose which frame to use for the current static screenshot, allow us to select a range of frames for the animation, or upload an animation of our own

Chris Diken Staff

Cool, thanks for your thoughts. We would definitely give members full control over what appears on their videos, both in terms of static vs animated, and which frames are animated.

flatland Plus

I fear it would become overwhelming if every user was able to create moving thumbnails. That being said, as an animation studio, we would absolutely LOVE to play around with this option. Until then, we'll just keep aiming for that Staff Pick honor.

Sharon Rogers

how do you connect your tv to vimeo I cant find the place to put my code in

roger van zan

love it! when will this be available to pro (or any other) members?

MOWO Media PRO

Great Idea. Make it a Pro member feature, then it's less chance of being "abused" and overused.

Perfect Code

Definitely don't want it becoming abused. I think it may be best to offer the option to both Vimeo Plus & Vimeo PRO users.

▲Bipolar Spider▲ Plus

....or they could just stick to what they've already stated and make it a staff pick only thing applied to certain videos. Am I reading a different description to people?

Chris Diken Staff

At the moment, animated thumbnails are only on select Staff Pick videos — this test is meant to determine whether this is an option that would benefit the Vimeo community at large. Please note it would always be a member-controlled option.

Jordan McGarry Staff

Hey Bran! Right now we're testing this with videos we've featured in Staff Picks on or since Jan 23rd. If all goes well, we'd love to offer it to more users. Stay tuned!

Chethan Shenoy

what is the difference in load speed of a web page for youtube and vimeo ??

Troy Rockford

Yes, please trickle this feature to members. Even if it has to be limited to 3-10 frames for size.

Troy Rockford

To the people who dont see the point of this, think about how many videos you skipped over because the thumbnail wasnt representative enough. Adding more frames to the thumbnail might help users decide which videos they are interested in, in a shorter amount of time.

POST MAN Staff

I really like where your head's at Troy!! Thank you.

Nicolaus Wegner Plus

This is pretty awesome. Some of the Staff Pick animations look like cinemagraphs.

Mr Movie - Riccardo Ugo Plus

I love it it remembers me the Harry Potter paint on the school stairs :-p
I hope to be able to use them by myself some time...

Steven Prael Plus

IF you let the uploader decide about animating the thumbnail or leaving it as a still - please let the viewer decide to enable animated thumbnails in general aswell! :-)

TrendyMinds Plus

Some of them look cool, but many don't and are overwhelming. The ones that have only one element in the frame moving seem to be the successful ones. If the videos on our feed were able to do this, it would be way too much to handle. Having it work only on the video page or on a channel might not be bad, but I don't think it would attract me to a video any more than a good image. I like the idea of letting the viewer decide, also. I would most likely turn it off.

Kartal Peel Plus

Love this! it definitely made us click on a fees videos that were using this feature. Please O Please develop this or something like this for the members. There is a lot of potential in this. Good work guys!!

Jay Rust Plus

Love It! Please let us know if you roll the feature out to the rest of us!

Seth Eckert Plus

I use animated GIFs to promote my work on websites like Behance and Dribbble, would love to see this feature implimented

Choose901 Plus

Would love to see this option available to all users! Or at least on Pro accounts...

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