Cinemagraphs: WOW factor content


Cinemagraphs are a fun and exciting way to add a little bit of gravitas to your content. Captivating and inspirational to your audience, they provide a different dynamic; a new way to look at art and an interactive, visual form to work with. A cinemagraph is a living image - a still photograph that contains an element of movement looped seamlessly to create a never ending moment. It is a mixture of both photo and video and creates something magical by tricking the mind into thinking it’s seeing something truly different.

In short, they can breathe life (or bubbles) into a piece of content to give it that real WOW factor.

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Cinemagraphs: A brief history

The first cinemagraph was created by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg in early 2011. They used this new technique to animate fashion and news photographs, giving them a living element and huge impact. 

Campaigns such as Chanel have used cinemagraphs extensively in their campaigns, in a truly fascinating merging of technology, fashion and art. 


Where can you use cinemagraphs?

Cinemagraphs are a wonderful way to for schools to express themselves, by adding exciting, highly engaging, content to a website or blog. Just take these great examples from Kings' Bruton's homepage experience:

You can use cinemagraphs on social media too, or for any number of projects. How about these for a few classroom / school marketing ideas:

  • cinemagraph album art: bring the recording of your next school production to life
  • cinemagraph year book: give your parents a yearbook they will never forget
  • cinemagraph event promos: upcoming Open Day? Use cinemagraph to lead the creative promotion for the event


Planning is an essential first step when looking at creating a cinemagraph. Answer these questions to help define your content:

  • What type of photo / scene are you looking to create? 
  • What is it you are trying to convey?
  • Are you trying to create something interesting, innovative, colourful, or artsy?
  • Most importantly: What will be the action piece?

Less is definitely more when it comes to cinemagraphs, so make sure you choose something that isn't too difficult to edit! It's all about hitting that perfect level of subtle to create a wondrous effect.  

Here are some of our favourite finds:

Recording and Editing

For maximum impact and ease, be sure to invest in a tripod to keep your camera as still as possible. Too much movement will make it much harder to edit later on.

A good cinemagraph should be short and sweet, between 5 - 10 seconds, so that it can work easily during editing.

The next step is a little more complex and does require some Photoshop skills! There are some wonderful tutorial videos on YouTube, to help guide you through this. While the output may require more investment in time, the result will ultimately be a great piece of content for the school.

There are some Apps that you can download to create your own stunning images:

Flixel Cinemagraph Pro is an app that you can use on any iOS device; it’s also a cinemagraph software available for macOS devices. It simplifies how to create and edit cinemagraphs on your iPhone and iPad. 

Another App that you can try out is  Fotodanz This aims to keep cinemagraph creation simple. You can record your video in-app up to 3-5 seconds. A photo is taken at the same time so that you have both the video and photo parts ready to use. This App is somewhat limited as it only allows you to manipulate a few seconds of the video but it is a great way to learn the basics of creating cinemagraphs.

Cinemagraph alternatives

    We can appreciate that not all schools are able to produce these, so what alternatives are out there?

    One big contender is the ever-popular Boomerang. Boomerangs are essentially short video clips that are set on a bouncing loop. Instagram actually owns Boomerang and is the key place you'd be able to find some examples. 

    What makes a 'Boomer' so special in this case is that they are easy to create, just requiring a phone / tablet and the app. You don't need to edit them at all, which is a big bonus.

    Why not create some stunning images and share them on social media? Tag us in it! We would be eager to see your creations!