During a discussion I had with a group of faculty this evening about managing their own domains, one professor asked how he might approach blogging in his film class. Because I can’t help myself, I immediately mentioned to GIFs as a way to capture and analyze specfic moments in a film. A way to pepper a textual analysis with the visual manna. I quickly introduced the Video to Gif tool on Imgur to demonstrate how simple this could be for him and his students. While screen sharing to a room full of faculty I was able to create and embed an animated GIF in less than 3 minutes. THAT is technological progress!
This simple GIF of Danny and Wendy enjoying a wholesome PB&J before all hell breaks loose was created from this Shining trailer on YouTube in seconds. More than anything, this example underscores a domain isn’t necessarily a neat, packaged solution to digital pedagogy, but rather the place you chronicle and archive frequent, free-wheeling jaunts all over the web. And the more GIFs the better.
It’s not the traditional looping of a moment, but I really like the potential of Full Movie GIFs as a way to close read a film. Some of them definitely are made by auto-generators that pick every 100th frame or so, but a few show what appears to be selected frames sequenced. This A Clockwork Orange GIF appears to be one in which the effect to emphasize particular moments of various scenes is clear.
Maybe in the classroom it would less daunting to start with a “full scene GIF.” And students document how and why they selected various frames for the GIF. I think there’s the potential for students to organically build an understanding of the language of cinema as they deliberate over which frames are most important to communicate the intentions of a scene.
I like the idea of a full scene GIF, and then moving to a full movie GIF. I myself might have to go through that process. I tried a couple of scene GIFs for the Dead Zone crash scene and the Red Sorghum sedan scene. I want to see the Clockwork orange GIF now, no link? We should teach a film/art class focused on just these things, we have been talking about this for long enough 🙂
I like the multi-GIF approach to dissecting a scene – a night at Elwood Blues is a favorite of mine. Lot’s of reading of visual language as well as blocking of actors and camera position. I also think it would be really interesting to add the layer of traditional storyboard shot/action description to go with each GIF. I did that for the Psycho shower scene Tumblr. All the point of view camera blocking is revealed as well as very specific instructions Hitchcock must of given to Janet Leigh on how he wanted her to move before the stabbing.
And count me in to be part of a class dedicated to studying film through GIFs! Maybe a York special topics class in the near future! 😉