Cinemagraphs - capturing a living moment


If you follow me on social media you will have noticed that I've been posting a number of cinemagraphs lately. Cinemagraphs are a hybrid between moving images and video. They often look like regular stills at first glance, but have an element of motion.

I've always been interested in blurring the boudary between stills and motion, using my long exposure time lapse, and morphing techniques for example. So when I first found out about cinemagraphs a few years ago, they immediately grabbed my attention. There was something mesmerizing to them. I found that they had the ability to capture my attention for much longer than a still image, and at the same time were more intriguing than a regular video.


In general, there seems to be a trend towards capturing longer "moments" instead of just stills. Even the iPhone has a built-in function that lets you easily capture interesting snippets of your life in a moving image, called a Live Photo. Also in the world of advertising, you see more and more traditional billboards being replaced by screens, showing a mix of still and moving images.

Cinemagraphs fit right in with this trend. Meanwhile, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram auto-play and sometimes even auto-loop video content, which makes sharing cinemagraphs a lot more fun and appealing. Having to click a play button, after all, removes thesurprise effect that forms the allure of most cinemagraphs. Originally, most cinemagraph creators used to share their work in the form of animated GIF's, which by default play automatically, but take up quite a bit of bandwidth, making it hard to share fast loading, high resolution cinemagraphs.


Creating cinemagraphs used to be a somewhat cumbersome and frustrating affair, but custom software has made the process a lot easier lately. I will cover one of these applications in more detail in my next blog post.

You can find more of my cinemagraphs here.