Scifi Radio

Planet of the Vampires: Scifi Radio

One of the things I love about the aesthetic of Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965) is the low tech spaceship control console that seems analog, almost like a radio you’d find in a 60s car. Kinda reminds me of ds106radio—old school tech and aesthetic that meets cutting edge ideas for exploring the yet unchartered space of online connections.

But actually this post is not about Mario Bava, not is it about ds106radio. Rather, this post is about John Johnston‘s awesome application for the Mac, movie2gif, he made using SuperCard. it makes creating animated GIFs a cinch, and it is basically a GUI interface for the open source, command line GIF animator called Gifsicle. It is a clean, dead simple interface, and it makes the process of creating animated GIFs that much more accessible, which any good interface should. it does everything from grabbing the stills, to letting you resixe it, to previewing your animated GIF, it is brilliantly conceived. Kudos to John. You can read his post about it here. What’s more, he even created a step-by-step screencast to get you going quickly.

Movie2Gif from John Johnston on Vimeo.

In his post, and in the video, John really nails the strange fascination that seems to accompany the creation of animated GIFs:

One of the things that the ds106 folk have been doing is creating animated gifs from very short sections of movies. I am still not sure if I see the whole point of this, but it becomes a very addictive process.

I couldn’t agree more, I am not sure if their is a point to these animated GIFs other than personal amusement, but I do know I am addicted. It’s a blast to make them, and it helps me focus on single shots and scenes of film I would have passed over before. I like to think it opens up a new way for me to look at films I love. A way of breaking down shots, and hopefully a way of thinking harder about how the were framed by the artist. What’s more, there seems to be a move towards creating elegant and subtle movements in film and photography that has been termed the cinemagraph (kind of an upscale animated GIF 🙂 ). I found a quick tutorial for the cinemagraph using Photoshop, and I will be checking that out to see if I can get some of the same effects in GIMP. So, all this to say what’s old is new again—despite the fancy clothes—long live the animated GIF!

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7 Responses to Scifi Radio

  1. Jim, that may be one of the coolest animated gifs I’ve ever seen. blinky lights are blinky. I wish I could set it as my desktop! blinky blinky…

  2. Reverend says:


    I love Mario Bava’s aesthetic, he could make just about anything look cool— a master of DIY, low budget special effects—and his design sense was impeccable. I love that guy, seemed like narrative always was simply an excuse to make things look interesting. More of a painter than a filmmaker.

  3. dkernohan says:

    That is a superb gif 🙂

  4. Jared Stein says:

    All this GIFs you’ve been cranking are so tantalizing, that I finally succumbed and made one of my own:

  5. Reverend says:

    That second one is absolutely brilliant, did you mask it? Genius, genius, genius, one of my all-time favorites yet.

  6. Jared Stein says:

    I did use a layer mask at first, but found, in the end, it was quicker to just delete from each frame. This seemed to make a smaller file size, too, for some strange reason.

  7. Reverend says:


    You got to give me a play-by-play on that—were you using GIMP?

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