I come to this news late, I know, but I certainly would hate to pass up the chance to engage in some gratuitous GIF love. The word of the year, according to the Oxford University Press, is GIF. That has been the word of the last two years here at the bava thanks to ds106. The new breed of GIFs that broke on the web over the last two years deserve all the love they are getting right now, they’ve supplied me with countless hours of pure enjoyment.
This past year I had the opportunity to present on GIFs with Alan Levine just a month or so ago (see all the GIFs and here the audio on the GIFing it Up page). What’s more, back in April I delivered a presentation consisting solely of animated GIFs at the American Museum of the Moving Image for TedxNYED (in fact, the museum had an animated GIF installation running in the lobby, very surreal). GIF mania really has taken hold, and for me it has been nothing but fun. It’s good to see an image format rise from such sordid beginnings to the pinnacle of web aesthetics—it’s a truly amazing rags to riches narrative for a habitually disrespected technology.
I spent a few hours tonight sifting through the more than 100 GIFs I have published on the bava since January 2011. Looking at all the GIFs I made was very telling, a number of them suck, some of them are technically good but lack any soul, and a very few of them have soul and precision. But most of them just tell the story of my love affair with a variety of films. What’s great about that is there are still so many films I love that I have yet to GIF (I can officially say that now 🙂 ).
Bill the Butcher (A scene from a film I actually don’t like all that much, but Bill the Butcher as a character is nothing short of brilliant.)
Alien GIFs. (I made 5 or 6 of these and they were actually all pretty inspired because that film is so damn beautiful.)
Criss Cross (This may be the best GIF I have made to date.)
The Kraken Rockin (the colors and the movement of the neck skin are hypnotizing)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Creepshow (I did a bunch of Creepshow GIFs I totally forgot about, this was my favorite)
Talos from Jason and the Argonauts (Ray Harryhausen’s animations were my most frequent objects of desire—a did a ton of them. I love the blue grain on this one, as well as the crotch-cam angle 😉 )
The Love Birds from The Birds. (This was one of my first experiments with playing back the original frames to create a perfect loop.)
Bubo from Clash of the Titans. (I include this because a master of the form, Tom Woodward, paid it some attention. He is one of the few in the field I still aspire to, him and IWDRM.)
Ted Knight in Caddyshack. (Such a memorable scene of movement for me from the film caught in looping eternity.)
Dead fish and fan from Blood Simple.
Not the best GIF, but love the way it captures the iconic image from the 1978 Dawn of the Dead—a truly brilliant film.
Endless Skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts
Hydra from Jason and the Argonauts (I think the Jason and the Argonauts GIFs are the most consistently good because the animations in that film are possibly the best ever.)
Two Months Bender from Breakfast Club (My most popular GIF by far, gets tons of traffic every month.)
Uli the Nihilist from The Big Lebowski. (A less than perfect GIF that I keep promising myself I will return to, but nonetheless I still love it.)
Love this GIF of the children from the beginning of The Wild Bunch, still one of my favorite scenes in all cinema.
Another from The Wild Bunch, it might not be clear just how dark and comical this GIF is unless you know the scene from the film. “I kill ’em now?”
The Voight-Kampff test from Blade Runner
Strangers on a Train. This is a recent GIF, and it proves it’s all about knowing your shots and scenes. GIFs are criticism!
400 Blows. (One of my favorite GIFs because the film/scene is so perfect for it. In fact, I am convinced Truffaut was thinking about how this carousel ride is a visual metaphor for cinema. He may have even been thinking this would make a perfect GIF.)
And then there are the Animated magazine covers and comic books 🙂