We’re exposed to thousands of videos, images, and various media that vie for our attention every day—making it a huge challenge for a single visual to stand out. The need for eye-catching content led to the birth of the cinemagraph: a combination between a still image and a video, with just one element in motion. Now an explosive trend, we’ve outlined six ways to use cinemagraphs for your own creative projects.

Before diving into these ideas, watch a preview of cinemagraphs from the VideoBlocks Unlimited Library to get a feel for how they work:

Now that you’ve seen cinemagraphs in action, here are our six favorite ways to put them to use.

1. Bringing Digital Displays to Life

Who wouldn’t stop and stare at a 30-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe in motion? The pedestrians in Times Square certainly took notice when this cinemagraph was projected onto the sides of iconic buildings in New York City. The creative folks at Flixel had the ingenious idea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Seven Year Itch by turning one of the most recognizable scenes in film history into a cinemagraph. The concept showed that outdoor art could really take advantage of the new medium to capture the attention of passersby, even in one of the most media-rich corners of the world.

2. Producing Unique Short Films

With focused motion, filmmakers can use cinemagraphs to control the eye of the viewer—drawing attention to the one moving part of the frame.

Michel Mölder composed a stunning short made entirely of standalone cinemagraphs called #WOKEUPLIKETHIS. The effect is eerie and dramatic, but it also pokes fun at itself with the absurdity of the story’s scenario. We look forward to seeing how auteurs in the VideoBlocks community use our cinemagraphs in their own original shorts.


3. Generating Social Media Buzz

The relatively small file size yet highly compelling visual of cinemagraphs makes them super shareable—bringing action to images that would otherwise be static. Cinemagraphs work across most social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Instagram’s automatic looping makes it is especially well-suited for cinemagraphs.

This particular post captures the essence of the critically-panned Batman v Superman that was just released into theaters. You’ll probably get more out of this cinemagraph than the 153-minute film.


4. Boosting Advertising Success

Perhaps the greatest success of cinemagraphs thus far has occurred in advertising. From big fashion brands like Chanel to international wineries like Ecco Domani (pictured below), companies are finding that cinemagraphs drive much higher levels of engagement. Some claim to have experienced a 5x increase in click-throughs compared to still images.

Motion grabs the eye of Internet users when they’d usually ignore the static ad in a sidebar. It allows brands to uniquely showcase their product, whether it’s a swirling beverage in a glass or the spinning wheels of a skateboard.

Ad for Ecco Domani by Ann Street Studio

5. Making E-mail More Engaging

The same principal applies to e-mail. When a user sees a captivating visual, they are less likely to ignore the content. Netflix has taken to using cinemagraphs to reach their audience’s inboxes—capitalizing on the motion of the image to allude to upcoming scenes from certain shows.

6. Building Showpiece Websites

The Nature Conservancy wanted to make their educational website about water extra impactful. So, they took the video clip of falling droplets below and turned it into a cinemagraph—making it the background of the site’s homepage.

A cinemagraph can be embedded just like a YouTube video and enabled to auto-loop in HD. Since they’re compatible with all devices and browsers, you know your website will look good no matter how it’s being viewed.

Ready to see what you can do with cinemagraphs for your own projects? Then download the entire collection from our Unlimited Library today!

Start Downloading Cinemagraphs