A Fistful of GIFs

The Western 106 force is strong with me these days. I even watched John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) last night, but more on that in another post. For now I’ll be talking about today’s Daily Create which asks us to make GIFs from the “Get three coffins ready” scene in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964). I used Giffy because I am starting to dig the SPLOT-like GIF services like Giffy and Imgur’s Video to GIF. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have made half as many GIFs if I was using my old gold technique of MPEG Streamclip and GIMP.

I had no plan going in, I just wanted to make some GIFs and have some fun. It’s amazing what a good ds106 course can do for your blog. I watched the scene through once, and decided I would try and isolate Clint Eastwood swinging on the lamp post. Once I did it, I realized I could actually play with the horse eternally coming underneath him making it like a primitive carousel of sorts. Hence, my first GIF of the series was born.


In the next GIF I wanted to isolate the old man planing the coffin, but it wasn’t smooth. I did, however, isolate Clint Eastwood blowing out smoke from his cigar, which then made me think, “What if this GIF was a play on the Marlboro Man and anti-smoking ads?” I added fake dialogue, trying to keep who is saying it somewhat vague. Weird how the mind works, even if the GIF doesn’t 🙂


The third GIF I made was simply the default GIF Giffy gave me. I like it. It epitomizes the lone gunmen figure of Leone’s Westerns beautifully. What’s more, you know a shootout will soon follow, hence the cheesy MEME text “Here Comes Trouble.”


But the deeper I got into making the GIFs, the more I could see the artistry of the scene. And the following GIF wherein Leone communicates everything you need to know about the moment before a gunfight through a series of close-up facial shots. It’s a clinic on creating tension in film, and provides a brilliant example Leone’s signature genius.


And then putting the actually gunfight (can you even call it that?) on constant repeat is just plain fun, it slows down a really quick scene (so different then the shot of the faces above) and allows you to analyze a scene that would be impossible in a movie theater, and laborious on a DVD, etc.


You begin to pickup small details like the movement of the outlaw’s leg, or the subtle spinning of the gun before he reholsters it. The magic of the GIF is you can get even deeper into a scene by isolating moments that might otherwise pass you by.


Nothing like a GIF-themed Daily Create to get the ds106 creative juices flowing, thanks CogDog!

This entry was posted in 106movies, digital storytelling, Western 106 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Fistful of GIFs

  1. iamTalkyTina says:

    Well, these are all fine GIFs that you made when you were getting up early to eat worms. And the GIPHY way is an easy way to start making GIFs if you are new to making them. Because it was a quick way for me to dash one off before they were all used up before my breakfast. When you are all the way in Italy, UNCLE Jim, the sun comes up before here.

  2. Jim,
    This is a very engrossing discussion of how a mind very different from mine engaged with this particular prompt. I was also moved to write a blog post about it (as I also did yesterday http://bit.ly/1JVIC48, again in a take very different from yours).
    In case you’re not cruising through today’s posts,: http://mindonfire.us/2016/01/05/revenge-fantasy/
    I was more absorbed by the visual politics; you drew my attention to the artistry.
    This western themed DS 106 is off to a dynamic start!

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