CINEMAGRAPHS – WHAT ARE THEY & HOW TO MAKE THEM

By Zaman intern Maryam Ahmed

Cinemagraphy is one of the more recent photography techniques in the creative world that’s causing quite the stir. According to a Wikipedia entry, the word  ’cinemagraph’ was coined by New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck & motion graphics designer Kevin Burg. A technique of blending the effects of images and videos, cinemagraphs are also commonly referred to as animated GIFs by virtue of the fact that this is the most common format in which they are published but the subtle difference is that in a cinemagraph only a portion is of the photograph is moving in an infinite loop in an otherwise frozen pane. So what I find particularly interesting about cinemagraphs is that they are essentially photographs that have been edited to create another dimension – a slight repetitive movement (see below).

I find cinemagraphs very intriguing visually, as they enhance the stillness of the image and the captivity of the moment. That is because of the subtle repeated movement which contrasts with the rest of the image which appears to be static. This is an interesting visual blend between the concept of video and image. In terms of visual communication, cinemagraphs are a great way to bring the viewers attention to a certain aspect of the image.

Whereas in still photographs, like below, the use of color, contrast, scale and depth of field are things one must consider when wanting to bring attention to something specific.

As a visual communication student I always look for the visual focus in the image or the message behind the visual content, so it is very interesting to see that photography has evolved a step further in terms of communication. However, this also brings out issues in terms of communication as the technique may seem overwhelming to some and the image might not be thought out so well. So as cinemagraphy is emerging in the photography realm other kinds of design considerations arise when composing a cinemagraph.

Interestingly, as cinemagraphy became apparent in the creative world an app called Cinemagram has been created based on the technique of cinemagraphy. This app allows iPhone users to transfer anything they capture into a moving photograph. Though I haven’t personally used it myself it seems that Cinemagram is an app that resembles the famous photo editing app Instagram; where the user gets to choose the effect, capture the image and then share it via Cinemagram. The bombardment of photography related apps seem to have an impact on how people perceive media and design. As said by a friend, the new photography apps seem to make people see everything around them more artistically.

Below are links to some websites that feature beautiful cinemagraphy & I’ve selected a few images that I think are really cool.

From Me To You

Cinemagraphs

Tripwire Magazine

If you’re as inspired as I am and wondering how to create your own cinemagraph here’s a link to great tutorial I found online on the Tested.com website. A few other sites you could take a look at include detailed posts on Labnol.org, Net Magazine and LifeHacker.

All the best!