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Break from Real Life with VR Cinemagraphs [Exclusive]

It's like being able to freeze time.

Subtly-moving GIF cinemagraphs are a relaxing way to escape from a stressful or boring moment into one of peace and focus. This liberation is even more palpable in filmmaker Eran Amir's latest pursuit, Virtual Reality Cinemagraphs. They're just like their flat, rectangular counterparts, except you can dive wholly into the illusion of frozen time, focus 100% on the tiny rhythm the artist has captured, and recharge your brain without emails, co-workers, or family members peeking out at you from the margins.

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Amir has spent the last several years making illusion-based shorts during his studies at the University of the Arts, Bremen. One film was shot backwards but looks almost normal, and another appears to be black-and-white thanks to intensely detailed set design and make-up. His "conversion experience" to the medium of 360-degree video came when he was spirited away to a whole other part of the world in a VR headset.

Images courtesy the artist

"It was a visit to the north-pole, at 12:00 in the afternoon during an otherwise totally standard day at school," he tells The Creators Project. "As the sun set over the horizon, the night sky filled with stars, and the magical lights of the Aurora Borealis appeared. I was completely and totally transported to a different reality. Coming back out of the experience I was left dazed and speechless. For the rest of the day I was in a really good mood. It was at that moment I realized that VR is an experience, not 'just' another medium, and that VR is here to stay."

Now that he's finished his degree in digital media, he's invested in the burgeoning medium, designing a simple $10 camera rig to capture 360-degree video. Check out some exclusive pictures of the setup, and see how well it works in Amir's Virtual Reality Cinemagraphs below.

See more of Eran Amir's work on his website and YouTube channel. Watch the video in VR on Vimeo.

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