Animated .gifs seem all the rage now adays, and from what I can tell the idea of a 'cinematograph' is like a classy version of the same form. They are, lets say, to animated .gifs, what the Criterion Collection is to America's Funniest Home Videos.
Poor analogies aside, the idea is that with a cinematograph, you capture a subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) movement. Its not quite a film, but its a little more than a photograph. Its a photograph with movement. This would be a fun project for a photo class- it might also be a great way to get a video class to focus on creating a single beautiful moment.
Click over to Filmmaker IQ to see a whole set of Cinematographs adapted from Stanley Kubrick films. I might be a bit of a Kubrick fanboy, but really, where's the challenge in finding a beautiful frame sequence in a Kubrick film? Try finding a bad one, now that might be a bit more work.
At the bottom of that page is a link to a bunch of different tutorials if you'd like to try this yourself.
Now, I'm wondering if some of those digital photo frames could handle a cinematograph... I'd love to have a little movement on the walls... or is that too Harry Potter?