'Pottergraphs' transform photos into movies

August 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It appears to be a common photograph until the eyes move. Is this a photo that is part movie? Or a movie that is part photo?

In tribute to those animated pictures in Harry Potter's papers -- we'll call it a Pottergraph -- most people call it a cinemagraph. Chuck Jones calls it a videograph.

"I really see this as a completely new art form," he declares.

Jones is an Oakland artist and photographer who has caught the bug. On the Web, this phenomenon is credited to New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck, often seen in cinemagraph self-portraits.

"I really see a huge future for it in advertising," says Jones. "Because the whole point in promotional marketing is to get the consumer's attention. And this gets your attention!"

A videograph begins life as a movie: copy one frame from that movie and lay it on top to mask the movie. Then begin to erase that top image to reveal only part of the movie through a hole. Also, you need to edit the movie to isolate a section to loop. You need to save the whole thing as an animated GIF to be enjoyed on a website. All of this takes lots of tools and lots of time.

"Moving from After Effects to Photoshop to Final Cut to Premiere," says Jones as he throws up his hands. "It's just too confusing."

So Jones developed his own app to turn the affair from laborious to point-and-click -- a program for anyone.

He demonstrates his videograph designer program on a dancing puppet image.

"Let's say we want to set that as the Still Frame. Set the In Point as well. Step through the frames. Set my out point, and you're done," Jones said.

His program is still in beta, but Jones' goal is to transform anyone into a Pottergraph wizard.

"You have to get to think in the terms of Potter magic," Jones said.

------ LINKS -------

Videograph Designer
Home page of artist/photographer Chuck Jones

From Me to You
The cinemagraph blog of Jamie Beck and graphic artist Kevin Burg

Macho Arts
A collection of cinemagraphs by a fan

IF WE DON'T, REMEMBER ME.
Cinemagraphs from cinema


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