Get Ready, Mobile Photography; Here Comes The Cinemagraph

Create stunning content with Cinemagraphs and the Flixel app.

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Your iPhone is a powerhouse. Creating visual stories on-the-go has never been easier. And now, we have a brand new tool to explore!

Our friends at Flixel have changed the game. Composed like a photo and brought to life with subtle motion, cinemagraphs are not as complicated as you may think. In reality, this media can be created in just a few minutes, right on your iPhone or iPad.

Cin-e-ma-graph: an exciting new visual medium that blends photography and video together.

Cinemagraph shot on iPhone by Jimmy Cheung

Here’s what you need:

  • An iOS device: an iPhone or iPad that shoots high definition, quality footage.

  • A tripod: Cinemagraphs rely upon perfectly still footage to create a clean blend between photo and video. You’ll need the stability of a tripod.

  • Cinemagraph Pro for iOS: available on the iOS App Store. Download here.

And here are a couple of tips to help you create mesmerizing cinemagraphs:

1. Frame Like A Photo

At its core, a cinemagraph is a photograph. The key is to frame your shot like you would frame a photo. Since a cinemagraph is a photo, with small elements moving in a loop, it is crucial that the captured video is shot with clear artistic direction. If you’re a videographer, you will be familiar with this style of framing. Each scene needs to tell a story. Capture the video, and through selected motion, tell a unique story.

Cinemagraph shot on iPhone w/ Moment Wide by Aaron Paul

2. Create a Smooth Loop

Cinemagraphs are all about illusion. Think of it like a magic trick; if your loop is not smooth or seamless, then the illusion will be broken. To achieve this, play with minor adjustments in the trim/timeline, speed, crossfade and type of loop (bounce/repeat) in Cinemagraph Pro. With the capabilities of auto-playing and auto-looping videos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and so on, a perfectly looping cinemagraph will definitely bring your viewer to a dumbfounded standstill.

3. Less is More

When it comes to cinemagraphs, less is (usually) more. If you’re masking over more than 2/3 of the image, you’re probably not doing it right. Of course, depending on the cinemagraph, some require more movement to create an impact; such as grass whipping in the wind with still clouds above. For the most part, you want to highlight subtleties in the scene. Too much movement will end up looking like a video, and not enough movement will go unnoticed. It’s up to you to find that perfect balance.

Cinemagraph shot on iPhone by Mariah Harkey

4. Use A Tripod

As mentioned earlier, you CANNOT make a cinemagraph with handheld video. You can ‘try-pod’ your best but you won’t succeed. (Great pun, Aaron!) Whether it’s a pocket tripod for your iPhone, or a standard tripod for your DSLR, use it. A steady surface is essential for creating cinemagraphs. Set up your scene, use a tripod, capture the footage, and the cinemagraph editing will be a breeze.

Cinemagraph shot on iPhone w/ Moment Wide by Aaron Paul

For more on creating cinemagraphs on an iPhone or iPad using Cinemagraph Pro for iOS, check out this tutorial:

Visit the Flixel gallery and be inspired! Let’s get creating!

Aaron Paul

Aaron is a Marketing Specialist at Flixel. Based in Toronto, he loves Jesus, jazz, photography, running, and coffee. If you're ever in the Great White North, don't forget to hit him up!

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