Over the holidays and between trips to visit friends in New York City and Rhode Island, I continued discovering how much fun it is to explore the creative power of generating animated gifs in the little free time I have on my hands. This is my take on the DS106 assignment, “Summarize a movie with Animated GIFs to tell the story of a movie.” I’ve taken a slight deviation from the directions using three movie trailers that feature protagonists finding their way forward in times of great challenges. These examples hail from quasi cult films that take place in the NYC metro area. I was headed to Manhattan the next day so must have been in a New York state of mind.
Working with mainstay DIY tools like YouTube, MPEG streamclip and GIMP, I’ve gotten the process down to the point where it comes naturally without referencing the tutorial. Downloading the video clips can be accomplished in a number of ways. I opened them in MPEG streamclip and extracted the relevant morsels. Exporting as image sequences, I opened the jpeg files as layers in GIMP, scaled and exported as looping animated gifs. Voilà, c’est tout! 2012 has been dubbed the year of the gif. For many, it’s also been a year filled with great odds, great misfortune yet hope and dignity shine through. Man versus man, man versus the machine, humans outsmarting algorithms.
So during the height of McCarthy’s witch-hunts, Elia Kazan struggled with a wave and shadow of reproach following a near career-ending and humiliating inquisition. In On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando takes the high road and highlights one who will not sell out, no matter what. Could 2012 be the year of selling out as MOOCx’s spin-off and the steady stream of anti-education venture capital flows out of Silicon Valley?
Next up, in Escape from New York (1981), Kurt Russell, in the slithering role of Snake receives a bone-chilling 24-hour deadline to rescue the US President and a double-secret encrypted recording (on a cassette tape no less!) from the hands of the Duke and his army of thugs. One of my favorite character actors, Ernest Borgine, shepherds Snake to the other side moments before the jugglar time-bomb detonates. Snake lives, the President lives, and the Duke perishes. Only I could spin it this way, but is the battle between Snake and the Duke emblematic of the intensifying conflict between proponents of open educational resources and the digital publishing industry?
Lastly, Tony Manero (John Travolta) steals the floor and busts out some well-honed disco moves in Saturday Night Fever. In the wise words of Casey Kasem, this gif is a reminder to “keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”
Happy New Year and keep on dancing in 2013.