Tipps – Cinemagram

June 17, 2012 by Andreas in Blog & News, Tutorials & Tipps

Cinemagrams are basically animated GIF files in the 2010s. Animated GIF files were the first and only manner to create something on a website that would not be entirely static. The first banners, navigation button and other things that were animated, used to be small in size, poor in terms of design, limited to available bandwidth and rather rudimentary overall. When other technologies started to make animated GIFs almost obsolete, artists discovered its universal compatibility with browsers in times when the great Adobe Flash does not work on certain poor devices on the market in 2012 anymore. It is like someone seems to have realized that the bandwidth is not a matter anymore and GIFs can be perfectly fine for artistic purposes. So what is is a Cinemagram? It is a mixture of a fixed flat photo with a little bit of animation. It is like freezing a moment, while keeping time going on. A typical example could be a photo of a central station, where the only thing that keeps moving is the clock high up the wall. You could play with shadows. A group of people, everything still, but their shadows dancing. You could shoot someone reading a book, everything still, except the flipping over of the pages of the book, repeated forever. Another example you can see below, myself with my daughter Tamuna, just some photo, where the water keeps pouring out of the stone basin.

A great Cinemagram could be a photo of something, where there is a mirror and only in the mirror it is where the actions keeps going, e.g. a couple kissing, a man adjusting the tie, etc. You could shoot the street with lots of cars, everything still, only the traffic lights changing from red to orange then to green. You could have a wide angle photo of a football stadium, all players and fan just still and the scoreboard changing the results. You could have a wide angle photo of a kitchen, where the chicken in the oven keeps going. You could have people on the beach, everything still with just the water coming forth and back. There are countless ideas, some rather simple others more complicated. In almost all cases you will have a reference photo where there is only a small part, usually 1-3% of the area available, being the animated bit of the scene. The photo above uses just 8 frames and it appears pretty fluid. Depending on what you shoot you may need more or less images. It is best to shoot with a tripod and separate the one fixed still image from the burst shot images that form the moving part. I will post a full gallery on this if I get to some 20 or more of them later on. Keep tuned.

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