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Cinemagraph : The Magic of Moving Pictures

Updated on June 27, 2012
Docmo profile image

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.


Creativity often thrives in the land of 'what ifs'. The creative mind is one that loves synthesis. We only have to look at the billions of bytes of creativity uploaded onto the web every day: a re-edited movie, a fan made trailer, a music fusion, a mad spoof and many more. Artists love synthesis. Fusion, cross fertilization, dissemination, distillation all infuse the life blood of artists.

Now imagine you are a fashion photographer sitting at a New York fashion show. You see cameras flashing all around you, as does yours. You also see video cameras busy capturing the models sashaying down the catwalk. You see people's expressions, mini moments of magic. You see a flick of a hair, the swirl of a skirt, a moist lip, a flash of soft skin.

The moment you click your camera, the two dimensional image captures a snapshot. Yet it feels that misses that little movement of inspiration. A video, is too long and captures too much. You wished you could combine the stillness of a photo but with the subtle movement that enraptured you.

What do you do?

Your 'what if' brain says why don't we create a high definition animated gif that captures that wonderful moment where the photograph has an aspect or an element that moves while the rest is still.

A fluttering eyelash, a soft movement of a skirt in the otherwise motionless picture?

In that little spark of creativity, in that moment of synthesis, the Cinemagraph is born.

Coco Rocha - 'more than a photo less than a video'
Coco Rocha - 'more than a photo less than a video' | Source

What is a GIF?

The familiar 'gif' file format was introduced in 1987 by compuserve. It is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format' . Those who can remember those far away days of dial-up modems and snail paced internet speeds will know how it used to be sitting in front of a monitor waiting for a picture to load. Line after line after line used to appear very s..l..o..w..l..y.

GIFs allowed the user to make images downloadable quicker and also to be able to preview them. The color palette is a lowly 256. Although GIfs have been around so long their use has not evolved beyond crude animations until now with Cinemagraphs. Just shows any tired format can be given new possibilities by creativity and technical knowhow.

The Birthplace of Cinemagraph!

A markerNewyork city -
New York, NY, USA
get directions

What is a Cinemagraph?

Anyone who watched the Harry Potter films would marvel at those wonderful moving portraits that hand on the illustrious walls of Hogwarts Castle. The internet savvy also have a long association with animated gifs. These punchy little animations serve as mini movies that are looped over and over gain. You may have seen people use these as avatars or create a gif of their favorite movie moment.These homemade, often crude animated gifs are good for a quick laugh, but have rarely risen to the level of art.

Cinemagraphs are merely 'grown up' versions of these animated gif ( Graphics Interchange Format), These are created using high quality images while the previous generation of gifs were low definition and often pixellated.

These can either be a series of images knitted together or an image and a video clip merged to create that unique effect. They were first conjured by New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck in collaboration with graphical design artist Kevin Burg.

This brand new trend arrived after the Milan fashion week, where Jamie and Kevin experimented with the idea of creating still images that move in a way that emphasized an aspect of the picture while leaving the rest of it as a still photograph. While their initial attempts looked more like a superior version of an animated gif where everything moved to a degree, they've since refined their technique is such a way as to create a unique art form.

Kevin Burg with Jamie Beck
Kevin Burg with Jamie Beck | Source

A brand new Trend

Once they perfected the art form, their stunning renditions soon captured the imagination of the fashion world, advertisers and the internet generation. They were commissioned to create a series of adverts using the technique as well as fashion shoots for jewellery and clothes.

As one can imagine, the possibilities are endless. Not before long the internet went crazy for these cinemagraphs, One only has to Google to see stunning examples of Jamie and Kevin's work as well as others attempts at creating this art form.

Jamie and Kevin have done studies of New York, a fashion shoot for model Coco Rocha and a project called making food alive. They've also created Cinemagraphs for dogfish brewery with a photoessay of their brewing processes.

Their work is on display at their website

Miracle by Miguel Caballo:  Royalty Free Digital
Miracle by Miguel Caballo: Royalty Free Digital | Source


The Next Big Thing?

Judging by the internet trending and the rave reviews on these cinemagraphs, it looks like they are likely to take over our (cyber) world.

The current method of creating cinemagraph varies with which software we use, the popular picture programs such as PhotoshopCS being the leaders of the pack.

However, you don't have to meddle with sophisticated settings and multiple menu choices as everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Microsoft Research have just announced a quick and easy tool called 'CLIPLETS' that allows you to create these mini-masterpieces. This is downloadable free with Windows7 this makes the whole process simplified as you can see from this video.

Cliplets rendering app from Microsoft- Free with Windows 7. Screenshot
Cliplets rendering app from Microsoft- Free with Windows 7. Screenshot | Source


  • A still photograph is doesn't capture a moment in motion, a video has many moments and many movements. The Cinemagraph captures just the moment we want on just the area we want leaving he rest of the photo still.

  • It was first introduced by NY fashion photographer Jamie Beck in association with Kevin Burg who is a graphical design artist

  • It is taking the art, fashion and advertising world by storm

  • It has trended so much on the web, that Microsoft has released a free software to create easy cinema graphs called Cliplets

  • I am sure Apple wont take it lying down!

  • The video at the top of this hub is a composite of many cinemagraphs created by Jamie and Kevin. Thanks guys!

  • Search and look at many examples of this wonderful new art form.

Turkish harbour at night
Turkish harbour at night | Source


Possible Uses
Fashion Pictures
already being shoot to creat unique photoshoots
Sepcial memories
A wonderful memento of events and memories
Holiday Albums
Wouldn't it be great to capture a sense of movement in a holiday pic
Interior Decoration
imagine having cinemagraphs as part of your wall display
Movie Posters
So many possibilities here
already being used to advertise products
great use for high impact educational posters
punchy infographics
Album/DVD covers
Creat unique sleevedesign
Self explanatory
illustrations for e-books could be wonderful
etc. etc.
I predict a riot of cinemagraphs!

Inspired by

This hub was inspired by hubber Ishwaryaa22's marvelous introduction to Cinemagraphs. Do visit her hub:

Cinemagraph ~ An innovative change in photography.


What did you think of my first attempt at a video hub?

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Thank You!

Thank you for reading this hub! I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at a video hub.

Please do leave some comments and feedback below and vote as appropriate.

If you like what you read share it with friends and family on Facebook/ Twitter/ Pinterest/ Google + or similar.

Appreciate your time and interest, dear reader.

Do come again.



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    • stillwaters707 profile image

      stillwaters707 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for a fascinating hub. I wonder if this will work on a free online photography program. Well, that's something for me to explore. It looks like so much fun!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I came back to view your fantastic video and read your very informative article a second time. Your article is brilliant, polymath!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Wonderful article explaining this wonderful concept. I am glad to know that it is a part of Windows and doesn't require expensive software to create! I am looking forward to being able to make my own someday - once I upgrade.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Cleverly done! It is really great to look at the little details in watching movies. Voted up and more.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Well researched and very thorough, Docmo; well done! You must be a man of many talents :)

      Voted up, tweeted, and shared!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      You are most welcomed for the VUMS! :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      TT, I am grateful for your compliments. Like you, its my curiosity that pushes me to new arenas. Thank you for VUMS!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      AliciaC- thank you. I ma sure you'll enjoy creating them. Share them as a video if you can.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Amy- you're right the fashion mags are already lining up cinemagraph photo shoots for their online mags. Glad you enjoyed this- thanks for coming over and commenting!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      drbj, I knew this would pique your interest, and I am glad it did. It is hard to come up with stuff that is new to your prodigious cerebrum. Thanks for your visit and comments!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Your list of talents continues to grow and to amaze me. Well done! Loved this. :) VUMS (Voted Up, More, and Shared)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a fascinating and very useful hub, Docmo! I love the look of cinemagraphs. I'm looking forward to creating some myself. Thank you very much for the information.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I am addicted to the fashion magazines, mainly for the works of art in the photography, more than the haute couture. The cinemagraphs is news to me. Your's is an amazing adventure that captures, not only the eye, but ignites a feast for the imagination, putting the focus where the creator's imagination lies. I would think that Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire will jump on the bandwagon with their online advertising imagery. I adored every piece you gave life to, Docmo. A visual feast that tells a story in the blink of an eye. Thank you

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Docmo, for sharing this fascinating information about cinemagraphs. Thanks to your impeccable presentation, I have become a believer and will attempt tinkering with it myself.

      Bravo to you for your first and excellent video.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Nithya, Ruby, Audra and Audrey - really appreciate your visit and comments. Makes doing this all the more worthwhile!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Martie, thanks for your vote!

      e-Healer- glad you came over and enjoyed this presentation.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Dotti -thanks for the visit. I know technology could be intimidating. (and time consuming the first time around) Having made the video I find the process actually quite enjoyable and will get easier if I do more. If you have a PC or a Mac making a hubpage vid is actually quite easy...

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Ge Hi- thanks very much!

      Tina- I too hope Apple come up with something similar as I'm sure they will. Glad you found the video enjoyable!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Purple Perl- thank you- its nice to introduce a new idea!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Gotta say--I loved this!!! Can't wait to do it myself!

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      Likethe music in your clever video...great hub! Impressive presentation! Votedup!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      The video is beautiful. Cinemagraphy is new to me. I wish i had your talent. I can see this will be big..Voted up and interesting..Thank you..

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Awesome and interesting. The video was great and the music background simply blended with the video. Fantastic. Enjoyed and Voted up.

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Very interesting and beautifully done. I love making videos and have done some strange things for fun on youtube. thank you for the great info.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      S0 interesting. I would LOVE to try cinemagraphy.

      Voted up, well-written, well-presented and ayoba!

    • profile image

      D. Juris-stetser 5 years ago

      Amazing, exciting, and your presentation was absolutely perfect. You answered the pertinent questions of viewers new to this whole process, and , of course, with your usual impeccable style! I am NOT cyber oriented, that side of my brain apparently likes to kick back put its feet up, and say maybe later when it gets easier, so I'm envious of anyone so tech savvy and admire them no end. Thanks so much for making it seem actually 'do able'. Awesome!!!!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      I love this, it is absolutely awesome and I hope Apple will come up with something similar soon. In the meantime, I will enjoy the cinemagraphs in this inspiring hub and from others who for once seems to have the right software:) Your video is beautiful, interesting, lovely and magical. Thanks Docmo, you are a genius!


    • American View profile image

      American View 5 years ago from Plano, Texas

      There is nothing I can say that has not already been said, anyway Freakin Awesome!!!!!!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 5 years ago from Bangalore,India


      This sure is magical. I was blown away by your video. Many thanks for introducing this creative idea.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Epi- you're a gent. Thank you so much. I keep looking outside to check how the long line of women are doing, but I only see tumbleweed, my friend. tumbleweed. ( and yes, I'm taken!) I love your comments and you are always such a great sport for sharing this.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Realhousewife. I am delighted that you came over and commented ( so much so I'll forgive the little typo of my name!) thanks again!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Ishwaryaa- my pleasure!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Audrey, you're a star. Thanks for visiting, commenting and haring. Glad you liked this.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      you are a genius. period. a romantic genius and a very creative one as well. So glad to know you and this beautiful video and hub presentation will be posted to our FB group Let's just talk music or cinema with a direct link back here - lake erie time ontario canada 12:45pm

      Are you married? You must have a long line of women waiting to marry you - for you are the most romantic desirable gentleman in the world, I would imagine

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      onlooker- every time a new technology comes in the creative mind that combines arts with science is a wonderful combination. Thanks for your insightful comments and visit.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Daisy. Bless you for conferring such platitudes on this wannabe polymath. I'm merely riding on the shoulders of giants. And the wonderfully supportive hub community. Thank for your wonderful comments and your support.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very cool Focmo! You did a great job - on the hub and the video! Excellent!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Stephanie- thanks a bunch for commenting and sharing. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Ishwaryaa, all thanks to you! when I read your hub, I couldn't see the video. I also knew we couldn't post stand alone cinemagraphs due to hubpages not accepting .gifs. So it made me think about making my own video which I hadn't done until now! Thank you for your wonderful comments.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Denise- I am glad I got an 'OMG' I love that grade. I'm glad you're enthusiasm is sparked. They did stun me when I first saw them.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Julie, can't wait to see your cinemagraphs. Have you downloaded cliplets? I'm going to have a go at it on the laptop. Thank you- this is what I said about creativity and cross fertilisation. Isn't it wonderful how this sparks off a million ideas just like how I got inspired reading Ishwaryaa's hub. This thing needs to go viral!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Most welcome, it's a grew, creative hub with well thought out ideas!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Susan, thank you for the wonderful compliments. It makes the work put in worthwhile.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Linda- thank you. You don't need to 'pose' you already are a 'supermodel' that smile can light up a small town.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Michelle - thanks for being here first and your nice comment.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      I am honored by your kind mention of my name. Thank you. Happy hubbing. Take care

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      This is pretty amazing stuff! I love cinemagraphy after watching your video. Wow! It's hard to believe this is your first video. Excellent! Voted up and across but not funny. And I'm proud to be sharing this everywhere!

    • profile image

      onlooker 5 years ago

      Brilliant stuff, Docmo. The way the creative minds think and are able to apply it on to technology is just amazing. Insightful and interesting, I loved the video too. Thank you!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I am stunned, absolutely stunned by the originality, creativity, and beauty of your Cinemagraph video.

      You say you want to become a polymath. Mohan, my good friend, you already are a polymath. Anything else you achieve in life will be a bonus. have published the very best Hub I have ever seen.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      This was an excellent introduction to cinemagraphy for someone like me who is so new to the idea. I loved your video presentation of cinemagraphs and found your explanations and research fascinating. Thanks for opening new doors in photography! Voted up!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An extremely helpful and informative hub! You further increased the knowledge of readers concerning content including GIF and Cliplets. Even in case of my research, GIF was not popular till now thanks to cinemagraph's talented creator-duo. Unfortunately, your first video was not visible to me (it happened to me in case of many other fellow-hubbers). Also thank you for alerting me about YouTube video. Its uploader closed his/her account and hence the video is unavailable (this message flashed across the non-working video). I uploaded another YouTube video and it worked. A well-presented and well-written hub! Well-done!

      P.S. Please let me link this engaging hub of yours to my cinemagraph hub.

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      OMG, Docmo-this was outstanding. I am SO intrigued by this and have not heard of it before your hub. I am definitely going to check it out. Amazing! Voted up and across...

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Docmo, great first video, congrats! I have just downloaded the software from your provided links - I love this sort of thing, very interesting. I will have a bit of a play with this later on today and may post some into a hub if they're any good :o)

      Voted up, shared (other hubbers need to see this stuff) and pinned!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Docmo, that was outstanding. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome! I appreciate learning about new technology and this does blow my mind! Fabulous, thank you so much.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Well done Docmo! I felt like I should be posing like a supermodel while watching the video and reading your hub. This was very entertaining!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Well researched, Docmo. Should've taken on that fim, sound and video course I qualified for! Fascinating and well-researched.