7 Quick Tips for Creating Mesmerizing Cinemagraphs by Cassandra King

March 31, 2015



With the FREE Flixel Cinemagraph Pro (available at the Mac App Store), creating a cinemagraph is easy. The hardest part is conceptualizing your scene and shooting the desired footage. Follow these 7 steps and create mesmerizing cinemagraphs today.

1. Frame like a Photo

The key is to frame your scene like you would frame a photo. Since a cinemagraph is a photo with small elements moving in a loop, it is crucial that the captured video is shot with clear artistic direction. If you’re a videographer, you will be familiar with this style of framing. Each scene needs to tell a story. Capture the video, and through selected motion, tell the unique story.

2. Smooth Loop

Cinemagraphs are all about illusion. Think of it like a magic trick; if your loop is not smooth or seamless, then the illusion will be broken. To achieve this, play with minor adjustments in the trim/timeline, speed, crossfade and type of loop (bounce/repeat).

3. Be Different

Flowing hair, rushing water, and blinking eyes; there are a few common cinemagraph genres that continue to reappear. These are all great examples of the medium, but if you want to stand out, try to create something different. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Be bold and use your imagination. The possibilities are endless.


4. Tell a Story

You bring the talent and creativity, we produce the tools for magical, visual storytelling. Every cinemagraph has the potential to tell a story, endlessly looping as if time has stopped. By highlighting certain elements in the photo, tell your unique story

5. Engage

Whatever the content of your cinemagraph may be, make sure it is engaging. For optimal engagement, think about these few questions:

What is the purpose of your cinemagraph? Is it an advertisement?

Who is your target audience? What are their interests?

Where will this cinemagraph be viewed? Social media? A digital display?

Like any other artistic medium, there are many different questions to consider when creating an impactful cinemagraph. Plan ahead and you will succeed.


6. Less is More

When it comes to cinemagraphs, less is (usually) more. If you’re masking over more than 2/3 of the image, you’re probably not doing it right. Of course, depending on the cinemagraph, some require more movement to create an impact; such as grass whipping in the wind with still clouds above. For the most part, you want to highlight subtleties in the scene. Too much movement will end up looking like a video, and not enough movement will go unnoticed. It’s up to you to find the right balance.


7. Use a Tripod

We say this all the time, but, please use a tripod. Whether it’s a pocket tripod for your iPhone, or a standard tripod for your DSLR, use it. A steady surface is essential for creating cinemagraphs. You CANNOT make a cinemagraph with handheld video. Set up your scene, use a tripod, capture the footage, and the editing will be easy.



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