In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a growing craze in town and it’s called cinemagraphs. The technique, which was created by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck in 2009, marries cool photography with the animation qualities of the .GIF image format. The result is something that’s not quite a photo and not quite a video.
Up till now the only people who could create these awesome pieces of eye candy were the professionals who knew how to use Photoshop layers properly, but of course where there’s a demand there’s a technology, so now we have more accessible tools available to everyone and their cat.
Cliplets is a new Microsoft tool for Windows 7 which lets you turn your video snips into what they call cliplets, but which are actually cinemagraphs. Typical Microsoft to try and capture an existing technique and re-brand it as their own. Adopt, Embrace & Extend they used to call it. But I digress.
The software offers a relatively easy to use interface to let you create these .gifs, and while it suffers from a few limitations (e.g. your output size and quality is limited, and it only runs on Windows 7) it’s actually pretty cool. You can get an idea of how simple it is from the video tutorial below.
A key thing to learn is that you need to grab very short segments to work with, and preferably they should be easily looped; in other words things like running water, steam, fire or other repetitive movements work best to provide the animated part of the image. It also helps to have a good quality video clip to start with, but if you really want to maintain quality, you’ll have to revert to the more complicated Photoshop methods.
For those with little time or computer experience, there’s also a clever little couple of apps for mobile phone cameras. Photodanz for Android and Cinemagram for the iPhone are cool tools which create fun results in double quick time. They’re both free and come with all the bits you need to share your creations with friends and family.