In the current world of photography people are always looking to do more with their photos. We are pushing resolutions so far that photos almost come to life. If you have ever wanted to take your photos just one step further and actually make them move than Flixel’s Cinemagraph Pro is what you need.
We have all seen the GIFs around that almost have a mesmerizing effect as only a little part of the image moves. It is just enough to catch your attention and keep it there. If you have ever wanted to make these images then this is your app. Cinemagraph has a free version and a paid version for iOS. There is the basic ($49.99) version and Pro ($99.99) version for your Mac. Each of the versions are fully functional and produce HD cinemagraphs that can be exported in various formats. For a full comparison check here but for the rest of this review we are going to focus on the pro version for Mac.
When I first saw these kinds of “living photos” I was intrigued but I also thought that it was a gimmick as well. However, when I got my hands on the Cinemagraph Pro app and saw Flixel’s site where they showcase the cinemagraphs that have been uploaded, you can see the potential. My first thought was to combine my HDR shots with the moving elements to create a living HDR shot.
The app itself is extremely straight forward and allows the user to progress through the development stages easily. To be honest, it was quite simple to get the hang of it the first time around. This is something that is a bonus for beginners. With a bit of knowledge when it comes to image quality and video, you can get some stunning results.
As you can see from the image above, the app is extremely user friendly and if you follow the icons across the top from left to right you will end up with something cool. Starting with the “trim” section you basically find the sweet spot for your images. The app will automatically choose the still image for you but you can also upload your own. A handy feature here is that you can also export the selected image, edit it and then upload it, so that you can get the best look for the cinemagraph.
The mask feature works the same way as layer masking in photoshop. You are erasing parts of the still image to reveal the video or image sequence below. This is where having a pen and tablet comes in very handy. The biggest tip here is to not brush away too much of the still image. The video underneath may be a bit darker or less saturated and having a clear cut between the still and the video will destroy the illusion.
The loop is where you will have to spend some time. There are two options “bounce” and “repeat” and they do exactly that. Bounce works great for something with no clear direction. So a flickering flame works well with the back-and-forth motion of the bounce effect. Repeat is your basic loop. You can adjust the crossfade to make a smoother transition to the start. This again is something that you want to play around with to get that infinite flow feel instead of a choppy stop and start.
The adjustments come in handy if you just want to boost colour and contrast. While they can get the job done, I have a little secret. You can actually edit your video in camera raw to improve the overall look and quality of the video. The effects are your basic filters. If you want to add that stylish feel then you can click on any of the filters to get that look.
Finally you can with render as a video or GIF. I have been experimenting and the GIF option produces some great files. The best part about this app is that you can upload your cinemagraph to the flixel website and from there you can get an embed code to drop into blog posts and sites like tumblr. This is a handy function as some GIFs might be too big for the file size of some social sites.
After using this app for the past couple of days, I am sold. It may not be fore everyone but it does have a charm. There is a learning curve and I am working on improving the quality of my cinemagraphs. However, it is something that is very interesting to produce and to look at. The fact that it is so easy to create is another reason why I am constantly trying to think of new ways to use this app with my style of photography. It you are looking to create something more intriguing than your usual photo then I would highly recommend checking Cinemagraph Pro out.
With the profile and hosting on flixel’s site, it also makes it really easy to share your work. Once you upload your cinemagraph from the app, you can get the embed code immediately to be make posts like this without having to upload all the gifs from your computer. I also find that my images look better embedded than uploaded as a GIF. Having this service makes the app even more useful in my books.
For more information and where to download, head over to Flixel’s site. Currently Cinemagraph is available only for Mac and iOS devices (sorry PC).