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Cinemagraph : The Magic of Moving Pictures

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'

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!

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.

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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

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


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


  • 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


Possible UsesNotes



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.




Docmo's Hubs on Art & Design

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.



stillwaters707 from Texas on November 10, 2012:

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 from Orange County (Southern California) on November 09, 2012:

Mohan (Docmo),

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

Shasta Matova from USA on October 21, 2012:

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.

ignugent17 on August 15, 2012:

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

KDuBarry03 on August 15, 2012:

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

Voted up, tweeted, and shared!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on June 25, 2012:

You are most welcomed for the VUMS! :)

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 25, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 25, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 25, 2012:

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!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 25, 2012:

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!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on June 25, 2012:

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

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 24, 2012:

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 from St. Louis, MO on June 24, 2012:

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 and sherry from south Florida on June 24, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 24, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 24, 2012:

Martie, thanks for your vote!

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 24, 2012:

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...

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 24, 2012:

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!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 24, 2012:

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

Audrey Howitt from California on June 23, 2012:

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

iamaudraleigh on June 23, 2012:

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

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 23, 2012:

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..

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 23, 2012:

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

Deborah from Las Vegas on June 23, 2012:

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.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on June 23, 2012:

S0 interesting. I would LOVE to try cinemagraphy.

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

D. Juris-stetser on June 23, 2012:

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!!!!

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on June 23, 2012:

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 from Plano, Texas on June 23, 2012:

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

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on June 23, 2012:


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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

Ishwaryaa- my pleasure!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

epigramman on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on June 23, 2012:

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

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 23, 2012:

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

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on June 23, 2012:

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!

onlooker on June 23, 2012:

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 from Orange County (Southern California) on June 23, 2012:

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 from USA on June 23, 2012:

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!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 23, 2012:

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 from North Carolina on June 23, 2012:

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...

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on June 23, 2012:

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 from Manitoba, Canada on June 23, 2012:

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.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on June 23, 2012:

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!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 23, 2012:

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

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