A beginner’s guide to Cinemagraph Pro
Those moving pictures are easier to make than you might think.
Imagery That Gets Noticed
A cinemagraph looks like a photograph – but one with a section that magically moves in a loop. Ocean waves crash in the background as a sunbather remains perfectly still. A sparkler twinkles atop a birthday cake.
It’s a mesmerising effect; a blend of photography and video that looks straight out of a Hollywood special-effects studio.
With Cinemagraph Pro, making one is much easier than it seems. We’ll show you how to get going so you can dazzle your friends (and social media followers) in no time.
Step 1: Get the shot
Cinemagraphs work best when they feel like a photograph that’s come alive (rather than a video that has a few static sections). The more subtle the movement, the better the effect. Looking for inspiration? Check Cinemagraph Pro’s Discover page, where you can see thousands of dazzling examples from other users.
To shoot a cinemagraph, you’ll need a tripod or a stable surface on which to rest your iPhone. This is critical; even the steadiest handheld footage will cause the moving part of the frame to wobble and look unrealistic. Capture simple movement, like twinkling holiday lights or fluttering leaves on a tree branch.
In the app, tap the circle in the middle of the bottom toolbar to enter filming mode. At the top of this screen, adjust aspect ratio, white balance and frame rate.
Now hit the big red Record button. Be sure to grab multiple takes – you’ll appreciate this later.
Step 2: Mask the motion
After you’ve recorded a video, the edit screen will open. This is where the cinemagraph magic happens. To start, designate a start and end point for your video by dragging the white bar on either side of your clip. To ensure a smooth loop, look for where the end point transitions smoothly back to the beginning. To make this easier to find, Cinemagraph Pro shows the first frame faded out.
Now you’re ready to mask the portions of the frame that should remain still.
Tap the purple circle in the top toolbar – this is what you’ll use to draw over the portions you want to remain still. By tapping on the brush in the bottom toolbar, you can adjust the size and hardness of your brush.
Try to zoom in and isolate the movement from the rest of the image as much as possible, and watch the clip as it repeats to see if it looks unrealistic in the edges. If it does, try masking less of the static image (tap the other circle at the top of the screen) and see if the effect still works.
If it looks close, but not quite there, that’s fine! In the final step, you’ll put finishing touches on the edit and prepare it for export.
Step 3: Set the loop and publish
Typically, a cinemagraph loops the same motion over and over. By sliding the Crossfade bar up, frames at the end of the clip overlap with frames at the beginning, which smooths out the the looping effect.
You might want to try the “bounce” setting. Instead of looping from the end back to the beginning, a bouncing video goes from A to B, then from B to A in reverse. For some types of movement, this will result in a smoother cinemagraph.
In the bottom toolbar, you’ll see adjustment settings. Play around with the exposure and contrast to fine-tune your image. Cinemagraph Pro’s preset video filters make it easy to get a cinematic look.
When you’re finished, head back to the library, select your cinemagraph and tap the Share button in the bottom-right corner. Select Export Cinemagraph, pick the app you’re posting to, and voilà! A perfect cinemagraph for the world to see.