I just love cinemagraphs. My favorite type is those that look like photographs and then, without warning, they start to move! This unexpected movement causes people to jump in surprise–think of the painting you might see in a haunted house where the eyes blink or start to follow you. This unexpected connection is at the heart of a cinemagraph. This unexpected movement causes people to jump in surprise–think of the painting you might see in a haunted house where the eyes blink or start to follow you. This unexpected connection is at the heart of a cinemagraph.
Cinemgraphs are a fun way to share emotion in images that go beyond what a photo can convey.
This cinemagraph introduces a quick blink at the end paired with a dead stare into the camera (looking at the viewer). It says, “I am so irritated with you.” or “Really, mom? You want to photograph me AGAIN?” I chose to make this into a cinemagraph because her attitude was funny to me and very universal, having raised three other teenagers before her. Now, that isn’t to say she is moody like this all the time, but this one moment really expressed that turbulent shift in mood, so common in households with young people trying to be adult-ish. 🙂

Here are my top two tips for shooting cinemagraphs:

1. Plan out your cinemagraph to have an unusual element.

One option may be two kinds of motion–say a window curtain blowing and a candle flickering, but one of the moving elements is frozen. Releasing the other element to move is very unexpected! Another option may be movement on a delay that creates a surprise. I used this method here.

2. Make sure any motion in your original video clip is NOT overlapping with any other movement!

For instance, if a person is holding a candle and you want to release the flickering movement, make sure the person is rock solid! If they sway, even the slightest amount, you will not be able to mask through to the movement of the flickering flame without the body movements giving away the illusion.

Watch my full tutorial on using Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro program here: