Cinemagraphs are great for capturing attention in the crowded digital space, with the ability to mesmerize viewers by isolating a single element for movement while the rest of the image remains still. Better yet, they’re relatively easy to create. In fact, anyone who has ever recorded a video on a tripod probably already has suitable footage for creating great cinemagraphs.
While you can create cinemagraphs using video from Pond5 or your own footage in any non-linear editing system, Cinemagraph Pro from Flixel was designed specifically for easily creating and sharing cinemagraphs. Available for macOS and iOS, it offers the ability to export multiple versions of your creations. Here’s how to get started with Cinemagraph Pro.
Pre-Production and Shooting
Whether you use new footage or footage from Pond5, perfectly still video is the key to a successful cinemagraph. Using footage shot from a tripod will ensure that the motion in the cinemagraph blends seamlessly with the rest of the image. The video should also be composed in a way that separates motion, so you can easily isolate a single moving element.
We started with this clip by Pond5 artist Anna_Om:
Only a few seconds of video capturing repetitive motion is required, but if you’re recording new footage, it doesn’t hurt to have multiple takes. If you’re selling cinemagraphs made from your own footage, buyers will appreciate having variations to choose from. Whenever possible, record in 4K and check that your camera settings take the environment into consideration.
Editing Your Video
Import your video into Cinemagraph Pro and drag to adjust the trim on the timeline. Select a frame for your still image or import one that’s separate from your video.
Use the brush tool to paint a mask on the still image and watch your cinemagraph come to life in real time. If your composition doesn’t completely separate moving elements, you can adjust the size, hardness, and opacity of the brush and eraser tools to blend the motion and still image together. Bounce or repeat the loop and adjust the crossfade and speed, or add a delay in the motion.
Choose from a library of presets or create your own by adjusting the light, color, tone, and vignette. Because people are often searching for very specific content, if you’re an artist planning to sell cinemagraphs made from your own footage on Pond5, it’s best not to over-stylize them.
You can crop, straighten, and flip your cinemagraph or select from common aspect ratios and social media presets to frame your image. Image and text overlays can also be added to incorporate branding and other creative effects.
Sharing Your Cinemagraphs
When you’re ready to export, you can choose an export preset to apply the preferred format, size, frame rate, and length for each social network you want to share to, or customize the settings. As a general rule, export your cinemagraphs at the highest possible quality with enough repetitions to equal a few seconds.
When you upload cinemagraphs to Flixel galleries, an embed code is generated that is supported by most websites. The Flixel embed will autoplay and loop your cinemagraphs on all browsers and devices in HD quality so you don’t have to use rely on GIFs to tell a story.
If you’re looking for more info, check out additional Cinemagraph Pro for macOS and iOS tutorials. As a Pond5 user, you can also sign up for a free 30-day trial of all Flixel apps and services, including Cinemagraph Pro for macOS and iOS, Persecond for macOS, Blendeo for iOS and hosting.