Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Hills Are Alive...with Animated Gifs

Make an animated gif from your favorite/least favorite movie capturing the essence of a key scene. (Make sure the movement is minimal but essential).

I didn't really want to do this exercise until my Frainger Ary Aranguiz told us she was hooked and posted 3 in a row.  Another DS106er asked why all the fuss about animated GIFs.  It was Alan Levine's response and Jim Groom's detailed instructions that won me over.

"Why is there such a focus on GIF animation? Do they really hold that much potential as a tool for communication or art form? Should I spend my time trying to learn this? I can, probably, get the tech...but Why?"

"But when you go through a mindful process-- identifying a subtle piece of the world to isolate, or a moment/character in a film, it gets interesting. I am curious how people develop a sense for what might make a good GIF (I have some ideas). But for a film clip, it is this great reductionist process to extract a few seconds form a larger work, focus it down to a short video clip, then import into Photoshop/GIMP, and reduce it even more to a number of frames, and reduce it even ore to emphasize the moment, or reduce the file size..And when you get to the point of being able to isolate movement to just a small portion of a frame rather than just flipping them like cards.. well you have arrive IMHO to an artful process."

I selected the classic Sound of Music for my project.  I saw the film when I was about 7 years old. I try to watch it at least once every year.  I know every song, and I always cry.  I even saw the picture when I was in Salzberg, Austria at a guesthouse.  Their idea of afternoon tea was to offer wine and cheese and play the Sound of Music.

When I reread the instructions, (Make sure movement is minimal but essential -- and Jim Grooms recommendation to not exceed 10 frames), I simply could not clip her midway through the line.  The result is 19 frames and you get the ALIVE.

For me, this particular scene says it all.  In fact, what she is really saying is "Yeah.  I completed my first animated GIF!"


  1. Like you I was very doubtful about spending my time animating gifs, but once you start there are so many interesting facets, both in the decision making and technical aspects that it quickly hooks you. It also gives you another tool for watch film.
    I've watch the Sound of Music many times too, mostly driven by a daughter. Julie is certainly a good character for gif aspic!
    Finally I not the 'first' which implies more to come;-)

    1. I am definitely hooked. When you slow things down, whether it is images, sound, or words, you learn so much more. In fact, that is the subject of my weekly blog. Thanks for checking it out. And yes, I already have ideas for my next ones....

  2. I love it!!! Now I'll be humming the song all night!

    1. Seemed like the perfect place to start! A great learning experience. Thanks for the inspiration!