Source: favim.ru

Liv­ing pic­tures from “Har­ry Pot­ter”, of course, are not embod­ied in real­i­ty, but human­i­ty man­aged to come up with some­thing very sim­i­lar. Cin­emag­ra­phy is a hybrid of pho­to and video, “mov­ing” or “live” pho­tog­ra­phy. She gained par­tic­u­lar pop­u­lar­i­ty in social net­works, with the help of this tech­nique they do every­thing from meme gifs to real works of dig­i­tal art. Today we will share life hacks that will save you from many mis­takes and help you cre­ate beau­ti­ful cin­ema­grams even for begin­ners.

Use a tripod

Of course, this advice may seem obvi­ous to many more advanced cin­ema­g­ra­phers, but for begin­ners, it will save a lot of unnec­es­sary work. If you try to edit mate­r­i­al shot with­out a tri­pod, you will imme­di­ate­ly under­stand what it is about. There­fore, tak­ing “live” pho­tos is much more effec­tive with it.

A tri­pod is not only a land­scape painter’s best friend, but also a cin­ema­graphist! Illus­tra­tion: @photojojo / giphy.com

In this case, the tri­pod itself is high­ly desir­able not to move even a mil­lime­ter! It’s very sim­ple: take a pho­to and imme­di­ate­ly after that shoot a video with­out mov­ing the tri­pod. If the light sud­den­ly changes dur­ing the shoot­ing (and this hap­pens when you work out­doors), take a pho­to again and imme­di­ate­ly shoot a video from the same point. Believe me, it’s eas­i­er to reshoot every­thing than to deal with light­ing lat­er.

You must have a plan

This is use­ful advice in the most gen­er­al sense, but, above all, it con­cerns mov­ing ele­ments. “Live” pho­tos are espe­cial­ly inter­est­ing if more than one object moves in the frame. So don’t get hung up on just one par­tic­u­lar ele­ment, include sev­er­al in your cin­ema­graph at once!

The com­bi­na­tion of move­ment in the back­ground and in focus always looks advan­ta­geous. Illus­tra­tion: @very-well / reddit.com

How­ev­er, it will be eas­i­er to coor­di­nate sev­er­al mov­ing ele­ments at once if you think it over in advance. Doing every­thing on the fly, most like­ly, will not work until you gain enough expe­ri­ence. So even before you arrive at your loca­tion, think about what ele­ments should move in the frame. Some­thing in the back­ground like cars? Or maybe there will be sev­er­al peo­ple in your “live” pho­to at once? Or maybe there should be a time-lapse on the back­ground? Think ahead and set up your tri­pod wise­ly! And of course, if you are going to shoot in a loca­tion where you have not been yet, it is bet­ter to vis­it it in advance to take into account all the details.

Try available apps and tools

Of course, there is a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion: select­ing image ele­ments in Adobe Pho­to­shop with fur­ther export (as a png file) to Pre­miere Pro or After Effects from the same Adobe.

For own­ers of devices run­ning on macOS, there is a spe­cial appli­ca­tion for cre­at­ing “live” pho­tos: Cin­ema­graph Pro from Flix­el. There is also a ver­sion for iOS. For Android devices, you can use the Cin­ema­graph app from Crazy labs.

The effect of water move­ment is a very pop­u­lar tech­nique in “live” pho­tographs. Illus­tra­tion: @orbojunglist / reddit.com

But today, many effects are eas­i­er and faster to make using sim­pler (for ordi­nary users) pro­grams: for exam­ple, some move­ments are sim­ply cre­at­ed in Pix­aloop. So try and explore the avail­able appli­ca­tions.

Save layers while editing

When you’re work­ing in Pho­to­shop, select­ing and edit­ing the right ele­ments, con­stant­ly copy­ing lay­ers is nev­er super­flu­ous (unless, of course, your com­put­er smokes, although then you can shoot a cool cin­ema­gram). This way you will always keep track of how the process pro­gressed and pro­tect your­self from acci­den­tal mis­takes dur­ing the edit­ing process.

One day, at the very end of the work, you will sud­den­ly find an over­sight and, if you do not save the lay­er in which you screwed up, you will have to redo every­thing again!

For such work, you do not need to shoot a video, but you will have to sweat over the lay­ers. Illus­tra­tion: @alcrego/giphy.com

Start with gen­er­al col­or grading/lighting adjust­ments, and then save copies of all lay­ers as you edit details. But addi­tion­al effects and all sorts of “glitch­es” can be left at the very end.

Make transitions as smooth as possible

You want the first and last frame of your cin­ema­gram to match or be as sim­i­lar as pos­si­ble. Also, it is bet­ter not to leave all abrupt move­ments and tran­si­tions at the begin­ning or end of the sequence. This is very impor­tant for cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious “live” pho­to, espe­cial­ly for Insta­gram or Tik­Tok, in which video con­tent is auto­mat­i­cal­ly looped.

Com­pe­tent loop­ing dis­tin­guish­es a good “live” pho­to from anoth­er “gif”. Source: giphy.com

This tip also applies to sound, in case you decide to go even fur­ther and add it to your work. When a smooth visu­al is accom­pa­nied by a sharp break in the sound and its begin­ning on the “glue”, the mag­ic is some­what lost. If you don’t know how to process audio, add a fade and/or pause to your audio track with sim­ple online audio edi­tors. The same can be done in most video edit­ing pro­grams.

*In prepar­ing the arti­cle, an inter­view with Jen­nifer O’Brien for bhphotovideo.com was used