What the Tech: App of the Day—Cinemagraph


If you’re ready to take your smartphone photography skills to the next level, you should check out some of the creative apps in both app stores. One of the more creative apps of this type is Cinemagraph. It combines still photography and short video clips into unique visuals like you may have seen in corporate advertising.

I first saw Cinemagraph when it launched at CES 5 years ago. At that time it appeared to be technology more for Fortune 500 marketing and advertising companies than for amateurs with a smartphone. Now it’s an app easy enough for anyone to use to create gif-like video/photos just by swiping your finger across the screen.

Cinemagraph asks you to steady the camera and record 10 seconds of video. For the best effect I’ve found shooting two subjects, both with some movement. One in the background and one in the foreground closest to you. I cannot stress enough the importance of using a tripod as just the slightest movement will ruin the effect.

For example, I rolled video at a lake with a group of ducks a few feet away. The wind was blowing through the trees and a fountain in the center of the lake sprayed water 20 feet into the air.

After recording the video within the Cinemagraph app, I could trim the clip and even zoom in closer.

With a paintbrush type tool, I swiped my finger across the screen of a frame from the video. The swipe brought a portion of the still photo into motion. In the clip, I chose to put into motion the tail feathers of a white duck, the clouds and the fountain. Other ducks in the video did not move, nor did the water in the lake or people walking beside it.

It really is easy, but again, you cannot hold the phone too steady. I highly recommend using a tripod with your phone or tablet. Yes, tablet. Cinemagraph works great on iPhones but you have much more real estate with an iPad. I found it to be much easier to do very detailed touch-ups. Cinemagraph is a professional product, used by marketing companies and advertisers around the country. It is a free download and you can use it for free with watermarks. To remove the watermarks, Cinemagraph subscriptions start at $15/month.

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