“This picture is hypnotic!” “I could look at it for hours!” “I’m enchanted, how can you get your eyes off the screen?” – these are only few of the comments people left me over the months, every time I published a cinemagraph, and they are the reason why I’m creating new and unique ones every day.
What are they?
Dynamic images, moving pictures and hybrid photos… many are the ways you can describe cinemagraphs, but my favourite definition is “pictures becoming alive”!
They’re half way between videos (cinema=movement) and static pictures (graphs). Photos featuring a repetitive movement.
A relatively recent marketing tool, since the term “cinemagraphs” has been introduced in 2011 by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg – two American photographers who started using this technique in the fashion sector.
5 reasons why you should start creating cinemagraphs
Let’s get real, what are the five simple reasons why you should start creating cinemagraphs too?
1 To differentiate from others
Cinemagraphs have been trendy for the past few years, but not everyone really understood their big potential. These dynamic images are extremely versatile: they can be used as social ads, as website banners, or simply to enrich one’s instagram feed or blog post…
So, if you’re an Instagrammer (emerging or well-known), a blogger, or a marketer in search for the right tool to attract customers, cinemagraphs are what you’ve been looking for.
Doubtlessly, you’ll manage to win over your competitors, by creating something innovative.
2 To increase brand’s visibility and engagement
It goes without saying: if you’ll manage to differentiate, your visibility and user interaction will be boosted.
Painters and artists of any kind are perfectly capable of capturing the observer’s attention, by manipolating it. With static images, we don’t often get to do the same, especially on the web, with people scrolling pages so fast.
Good news: our brain is naturally attracted by what’s moving, therefore cinemagraphs happen to be a great tool to automatically capture attention, and increase the possibility to be noticed.
3 To increase storytelling’s potential
Pictures are capable of freezing moments, telling a story and making us dream. Cinemagraphs really boost these features with their hypnotic power.
Try to imagine a picture and a video: which is best at evoking feelings? For sure, the video’s dynamicity. That’s another reason why cinemagraphs are our companions.
4 To broaden your horizons
We’re all keen on searching the perfect moment to capture in a photo, but things get even more interesting with cinemagraphs. To create an appealing image, we need to decide where to focus the viewer’s attention, we need to think out of the box.
Cinemagraphs require imagination and a smart attitude, as you need to go beyond your horizons and think “What can I draw attention on, what can I give life to, with this cinemagraph?”
5 To have fun!
At this point, you only have a question in your head: “How do you make these animated images?”
It’s not difficult to create cinemagraphs, if you can capture the right moment and if you put enough attention in the post-production phase.
You only need:
1 A sturdy tripod (like my Manfrotto 190go! Aluminum 4 sections + 3 way head)
2 A video camera (or a smartphone, but in my opinion you get the most quality results with a camera)
Third key element: imagination! Think out of the box, do something different, something capable of keeping the user in front of the screen. Decide where you want the user’s eyes to look at (e.g. melting ice-cream, steaming hot tea, milk being poured into a cup of coffee, a moving leaf, a blowing dress…).
Post-production is the crucial moment: to complete the video, you’ll need a graphic editor like Photoshop (great for beginners) or After Effects if you’re an expert. You can find online tutorials on how to easily and quickly edit your file. Once you learnt the steps, creating cinemagraphs will be a piace of cake.
Save your file as a .gif (it will be less quality, but less heavy too) or save it as a video (higher quality, heavier file).
Magic: your photo’s now alive!
If you like to daydream, if you like to express your creativity through photography, and if you like to create…I’m sure you’ll fall in love with cinemagraphs as much as I did.