Cinemagraph courtesy of From Me to You.
Cinemagraphs are the grilled cheese sandwiches of photography: done right they are deceptively simple, and oh so satisfying. We’ve talked about them here before. Making a real, full-on cinemagraph takes hours, sometimes days, of patient artistry and serious hardware. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create one yourself with just a few tools you have lying around the internet. Here’s how:
Step 1: Location, location, location. Cinemagraphs are delightful because only a tiny portion of an otherwise still image moves. So to create one, start with a place that’s tranquil — a quiet street corner, a close-up of a flower, or maybe a single person sitting at a bench. Capture a few, high quality images here to use as a base image. Use the basics of photography: good lighting, zoom with your feet, and follow the Rule of Thirds. This base image we’ll call Condition One.
Step 2: That magic moment. Once you’ve captured several still images as Condition One, now it’s time to capture that magic moment — the moment that you will sprinkle into the looping image. Perhaps it’s the person at the bench taking a sip of water, or a car driving through our street corner shot. For the cinemagraph to work convincingly, the magic moment has to return to the static Condition One that it started from. So if your subject takes a sip of water from a glass, the subject should then put that glass down to return to Condition One. Capture the moment in several frames.
Step 3: Close the loop. Once you have our images, now you can create a looping .GIF. Any number of software and internet tools can do this. For maximum effect, have your Condition One image take up most of the loop. This way it seems like the .GIF is just a regular picture. Then put your magic moment into the loop at the very end. Remember that you have to return to your Condition one so you can start the loop over.
Step 4: Profit! Enjoy your new do-it-yourself cinemagraph! And see more at From Me To You.
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