352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Cinemagraph Experiment (including Tutorial Research)

As you may have seen throughout the development of my FMP, in the first Formative Feedback Review session that we had on the 4th March 2015 (please see the “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 7 (Formative Feedback Review)” blog post), course peer, Charli-Nicole Collins, suggested that, in relation to the recommendation of experimenting with both video and audio, I should also experiment with the creation of cinemagraphs. Having originally considered the use of this technique as an experiment to see whether it enhanced the viewers engagement and immersion with the project, creating a greater contextualized understanding of the subject depicted, thus increasing the viewer’s accessibility, after receiving this feedback from Charli, I decided that I would in fact spend some time investigating the use of this technique within my FMP.

Similar to both the “Ambient Audio” and “Video” experiments that I conducted (please see the blog posts entitled “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Ambient Audio Experiment” and “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Video Experiment”), throughout the fourth and fifth weekend trips up to the Lake District (please see “352MC Fourth Trip to the Lake District (Thursday 12th March – Saturday 14th March 2015)” and “352MC Fifth Trip to the Lake District (Friday 3rd April – Monday 6th April 2015)”), I therefore decided that I wanted to record a variety of video and photography data from the different locations that I was shooting in, in order to see if the creation of a cinemagraph was a relevant output to consider in terms of representing the narrative and concept that I wish to portray.

Differing from the previous experiments that I have conducted, as this is a new technique that I am yet to explore, below you will be able to find research in the form of a link to a website and a video tutorial (that took me through the creation of a cinemagraph), followed by notes about the “Cinemagraph” experiment (including the equipment and methodology that I used), the cinemagraphs that I created, and a reflection regarding the use of the technique within my FMP:

 


 

Research:

Research 1:

 

Research 2:

  • How To Create A Cinemagraph In Photoshop” Video Tutorial
    • For this particular piece of research, I watched it once (after I had collected the relevant data from the trips to the Lake District, and before attempting to create a cinemagraph), in order to see the steps that are required to be taken throughout the creation of a cinemagraph (in Photoshop), and then took time to go through the video, step-by-step, during my cinemagraphs creation

 


 

Equipment:

  • Canon 5D Mk II
  • Canon EF 24-105mm lens
  • Tripod
  • Sekonic L-308S Flashmate (light meter)
  • Photoshop CS6

 


 

Methodology:

For the methodology of this particular experiment, I considered a number of variables in order to allow me to try and create a cinemagraph to a professional standard. Once again, differing from my previous experiments, this section simply bullet-points some of the factors I considered (through the obtaining of data and the cinemagraphs creation), rather than the general technique I underwent to create my cinemagraph (as this can be seen in the “How To Create A Cinemagraph In Photoshop” video tutorial included above):

  • As you will see from the cinemagraphs that have been included below, throughout this experiment, I was only able to create two completed pieces
    • This is because, when looking through the video footage that I shot for the previous “Video” experiment throughout the two trips (as I thought that I could reuse pieces of this footage for the cinemagraphs experiment), I soon realized that there were only a few videos that I took using a tripod (for the “static” section of the “Video” experiment), as I was mainly focusing on the creation of my “official” Mamiya photographs (as well as the more “contemporary”, hand-held videos)
    • However, although I still managed to capture a number of videos using the tripod, when I looked through this particular selection of footage, I then noticed that a majority of them didn’t include a lot of “natural” movement that I could isolate within the cinemagraph
    • Nevertheless, although I wasn’t able to create as many cinemgraphs as I had initially hoped for throughout this experimental stage, similar to some of the other experiments that I had conducted, I found that the creation of two cinemagraphs still allowed me to gain an understanding surrounding the techniques and any positives and negatives that came with it
      • Bearing this in mind, however, if I do decide that I want to continue with the use of this technique throughout the rest of my FMP, I will obviously take the time to revisit the specific locations in the Lake District (as I have a possible weekend that I could use if necessary) and capture more appropriate shots for this particular technique
  •  Also, although I had obviously decided on the use of a “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic within my FMP images (please see the blog post entitled “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Project Development (Using a “Middle-of-the-Road” Technique to Document the Pathways)”), as you will see from the cinemagraphs I created below, I not only experimented with this particular compositional technique, but I also experimented with a “less controlled” composition, in order to experimented with varying compositions to see if one was more successful than the other
    • With this being said however, after conducting this experiment, I personally feel that it is the professionalism of the technique that is used which creates a more successful piece, but that, similar to photographs, compositions obviously play a strong role in the understanding of the cinemagraph
  • For this particular experiment, as you will see from the cinemagraphs that I have included below, I mainly focused on the creation of the technical aspect of the cinemagraph, rather than it’s aesthetic quality, as I wanted to test out the technique in order to see if it was appropriate to apply to my FMP, before taking the time to choose aesthetically pleasing conditions
    • This particular choice of focusing primarily on the creation of a cineagraph also therefore meant that I didn’t include any audio to accompany the cinemagraphs created
      • Although this was primarily due to the fact that I didn’t know how to incorporate sound into a cinemagraph in Photoshop, as this was simply an experiment, I decided that I would focus on the visual aspects that it provided to see if I thought it would be relevant to use for my FMP
      • However, looking at the pieces that I have created, if I decide to continue with this development throughout the rest of my FMP (similar to the information I provided in both the “Ambient Audio” and “Video” experiments), I would spend time experimenting with the use of accompanying ambient audio within the cinemagraph, as I personally feel that this would enhance the viewers engagement and immersion with the project, creating a greater contextualized understanding of the subject depicted
  • Finally, however, looking at a slight disappointment in relation to the cinemagraphs that I have created, I personally feel that only one of them has been created successfully (the one of the pathway)
    • This is because, as you will see in the second cinemagraph, within this particular frame there were two separate movements that overlapped (the movement of the reeds in the wind, and the lapping water), which made it very difficult to isolate the movement that I wanted from the one that it overlapped
      • This therefore means, as I’m sure you’ll probably be able to notice, that the edges of the isolated movement within this cinemagraph, also show some movement of the water, greatly reducing the professionalism of the cinemagraph
    • However, with this being said, when looking at the “successful” cinemagraph (the first one of the path), although I wasn’t able to see this during it’s creation within Photoshop, once it had been saved as a looped GIF, I soon noticed that it was relatively easy to distinguish the point in which it looped, once again, slightly decreasing the professionalism of the cinemagraph

 


 

Experiment Cinemagraphs:

“Buttermere” Cinemagraph:

"Buttermere" Cinemagraph

 

 

“Stickle Tarn” Cinemagraph:

Cinemagraph-2---Stickle-Tarn

 


 

After-Thoughts and Reflection:

After looking at the cinemagraphs that I created for this particular experiment, as suggested above, I feel that the first piece is slightly more successful than the second, but they both contain aspects that decrease their professionalism. Also, although I feel that (with the inclusion of ambient audio) this particular digital technique could create a more engaging and immersive piece, allowing the viewer to gain a greater contextualized understanding of the subject depicted, thus increasing their accessibility, similar to the reflection that I provided for the previous “Video” experiment, I personally feel that the use of photographs (as well as other accompanying aspects to enhance the contextualization of the images – for example, text, collected materials, or audio) will create a much more successful output for this particular project. This is not only due to the fact that I personally feel my photographic skills are much more enhanced than the creation of my cinemagraphs, but also because, after conducting this experiment (as well as the “Video” experiment), I found that the photographs I have created can be seen as more conceptual through the representations and the readings that they provide, thus making it a more appropriate form to document and narrate the concept that I am exploring. Also, as suggested within both version of my proposal (please see the blog posts “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Original Proposal” and “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Revised Proposal”), I stated that I wanted to return to my photographic roots of landscape photography as I feel that this was a major part of the relationship I shared with my Grandpa, and is therefore very important to include as a representation of the projects concept. Finally, I also personally feel the connotations associated with the photographic documentation, of capturing a moment in time, could be used to symbolize the fact that, through the recollection of my personal, fading memories, I am trying to (psychological) return to a singular point in time.

Taking all of this into account, I have therefore decided not to continue on with the use of videography throughout my FMP.

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