Your iPhone is a Creative Mobile Studio
There are a lot of things that you can do with your iPhone or iPad. You can count your steps, keep track of your calories, monitor your heartbeat, schedule appointments with dentists…and, believe it or not, do things that not only keep you physically healthy, but creatively attuned.
Here’s one way to hit that 10k a day: get out there, and start creating cinemagraphs on your iPhone. Odds are you already carry it with you wherever you go. All you need is a tripod and Cinemagraph Pro for iOS, and sure enough, you’ve got a state-of-the-art mobile cinemagraph studio with you. From there, things only become more interesting, and you’ll certainly start to see the world a whole lot differently.
But I understand if there’s a little hesitation. Shooting video on your phone? Editing on-the-go? That’s just crazy talk.
…or is it?
No matter your experience or comfort level, I swear to you that shooting and creating cinemagraphs on iPhone is an exciting adventure. One that promises bright ideas— and, after a few trial-and-errors, possibly on selfie mode — better creative work. To help you kick-start your new journey, our team put together a few tips and tricks for creating cinemagraphs on your iPhone. Together, we’ll get you to your cinemagraph destination, one step at a time.
Here are the Best Tips For Creating Cinemagraphs on iPhone
Tip #1: Shoot the Best Quality Video Possible at the Right Frame Rate
Most iOS devices these days shoot a minimum of HD quality video. That means that you can create cinemagraphs based in video footage that captures the details you want to show straight from your iPhone. In fact, many of the latest iOS devices shoot 4K video, so you can capture a video that’s as fresh and crisp as the autumn weather.
But don’t forget about one key setting: your Frames Per Second.
The frame rate you select for shooting video will shape the look and visual experience of your cinemagraphs. Certain frame rates can be used to achieve certain looks, and some will work better with particular motions than others. For example, if you want to achieve a cinematic look, you should shoot at 24 or 30 FPS. If you want a smooth slow motion effect, which is better for motions like snowfall or flying glitter, you should shoot at a higher frame rate—48 FPS, ideally. You can also use 4K video by shooting 30 FPS or under. You can change some of these settings in Cinemagraph Pro for iOS by simply tapping on the FPS setting in the camera.
Tip #2: Always Use a Tripod When Creating Cinemagraphs on iPhone
I can’t stress this enough. I see thousands of cinemagraphs uploaded in user galleries, shared in community groups, as ads and social posts. Sometimes the concept may be fantastic, and the video beautifully sharp, but the lack of tripod ruins the potential for a great cinemagraph story. Shooting perfectly still video on a stable surface ensures that you can seamlessly blend the photo and video elements of your cinemagraphs while editing in Cinemagraph Pro. If your video isn’t still, and if your tripod is shaky in any way (think vibrations from a speaker, shooting on a moving boat, etc), you will see a break between the photo and video elements while masking in Cinemagraph Pro.
Our team created a whole video to demonstrate the difference between cinemagraphs shot with and without a tripod. I’m in it, looking pretty unimpressed. Why? Partially because of oatmeal-raisin cookies, sometimes idue to Aaron’s dance moves, but mainly, it’s those tripod-less cinemagraphs that caused the disgruntlement.
In short: Don’t be an oatmeal raisin cookie (unless you like them. Then, at the very least, it’s okay to eat them.) Use a tripod when creating cinemagraphs for the best results.
Tip #3: Think About the Composition of Your Cinemagraph
There’s a lot of experimenting when it comes to cinemagraphs. That’s a good thing, because that’s how you’ll learn what works, and what doesn’t. But if you’re just getting started with cinemagraphs, it’s best to go back to basics so that you don’t give up on the idea of shooting really great cinemagraphs on your iPhone too fast.
When you’re on-the-go, and you see a scene that can make for a beautiful cinemagraph, ask yourself: “Is there a clear separation between what’s staying still, and what’s moving?” If the answer is yes, then go ahead and tap record on your iOS device. You can easily use the brush tool to create a mask that unveils the video beneath the photo, and create your cinemagraph within minutes of shooting it.
If you’re ready to move onto higher stages of cinemagraph learning, perhaps I can interest you in either the Intermediate or Advanced tutorials the team created for Cinemagraph Pro for iOS. These will show you how to edit more intricate cinemagraphs using a combination of the brush and eraser tools along with the opacity, hardness, and size settings.
What about motions that overlap?
Cinemagraphs with overlapping motion can be a little trickier. Typically, they need a little more thought and planning behind them – but they aren’t impossible. We recently demonstrated a technique we like to call Step Out of Frame on a Facebook Live.
To capture cinemagraphs with overlapping motion, think about what’s staying still in the foreground, and what’s moving in the background. Now, capture your subject in-frame for a few seconds, then have them step out of frame so that you capture the ideal motion in the background. When you edit the cinemagraph in-app, you want to move your trimmer to the portion of video that contains the ideal motion, and move your still image selector so that your subject is the still image component. Then, mask around, and voila! You have a cinemagraph with overlapping motion.
Now, on the topic of planning…
Tip #4: Record multiple videos to achieve the ideal motion
Sometimes the wind blows in your direction, and sometimes, it doesn’t. That’s okay.
There are some things that we can plan for when creating cinemagraphs, but if you’re out and about, fearlessly walking towards a new creative dream that includes living photos, you might want some options. The good news: you can have them. If you need extra time to capture video that contains the ideal motion for your cinemagraph, take it. Record multiple videos until you have an option that contains the ideal motion, then import it into Cinemagraph Pro for iOS for easy editing.
Tip #5: iPhone Accessories That Help You Shoot Better Video
We shoot on iOS devices enough to know some of the tools of the trade. There are some really great products out there on the market that enhance your cinemagraph creation and help make video production on-the-go even more fun. Aaron, one of the Flixel marketing team members that I mentioned earlier, put together a whole list of iPhone accessories that will help you conquer new mountains while shooting cinemagraphs. There are so many to pick from; from Moment mobile lenses that can widen your iPhone shot, to using the free Cinemagraph Pro Apple Watch app for that perfect selfiemagraph, I’m sure you’ll find something that will make you even more excited to shoot cinemagraphs.
But remember: all the tips in the world won’t matter if you’re not passionate about becoming a visual storyteller. If you’ve gotten this far, I’d imagine that you have a little wonder about cinemagraphs in your soul. So…shall we go shoot?