The simple creation of a great photograph can turn a bland, quick-hit recipe post into a real hit, while a long, intricate article that you slave over gets no attention because it has no pic, or worse, a crappy one. And producing that great photo can be quite difficult, which is why some of us do such a good job, and some of us don’t.
But the bar has just been raised, folks. Above, you see an incredible “new” format of electronic imagery, the Cinemagraph. Actually, it is simply an animated GIF, a format old as the (internet) hills, with a specific, very striking style. Rather than creating a quick and dirty video substitute, the Cinemagraph has the appearance of a still photo in which a single, important element is just slightly… alive.
Here’s another from the same source, fashion and occasional food photographer, Jamie Beck:
It’s an incredible effect, and one that she and financé Kevin Burg have pioneered. Like all great ideas, it looks so wonderfully simple, but takes great skill and special circumstances to execute.
A good drink photo is also harder than it looks, of course. You need a good camera, tripod, and especially good light to shoot one. To do even a decent cinemagraph, you need all that and a few things more. You work from video, so you have different camera requirements and no flash, and you need to carefully compose your shot to have only one thing moving in it. Then there are the technical challenges of translating your video to a GIF.
Why not just use a video?
The thing that makes this technique so striking is that around 90% of the shot is a still photo, with none of the artifacts, grain, or simple, almost invisible motions that are found even in video of a static subject. This is what brings out the movement you preserve so spiffily.
I haven’t tried this yet, as I don’t have the right camera for it, but I hope some of my fellow bloggers will give it a shot. Here are two good tutorials to get us all started on the techique. The first is from Fernando J Baez, and the second by Christopher Burt. They each cover some different aspects of the challenge and are clear and concise. For more on the thinking that went into the technique to begin with, here’s a good interview with Jamie and Kevin in Turnstyle.
So, my fellow denizens of the Cocktailosphere, who will be the first to give us a cinemagraph of a stream of Martini sluicing over an olive, or a sultry bartender swirling a barspoon in a glass?