I Gif You the Bird

One of the assignments for #ds106 is to create an animated GIF of a scene from a favorite movie that captures the essence of the movie or a scene from the movie. Or something like that. I had trouble thinking of a movie, but I have been wanting to return to a favorite movie that Clint Eastwood produced about jazz giant Charlie Parker after seeing some of the rave reviews of Forest Whitaker for The Butler (Whitaker broke out in Bird, I think.) As a saxophonist, I was always in awe of Parker and Bird showcases not just the talent but the destructive streak, too.

I am no expert in animated GIF files and used a Mac program from the App Store called Gif Animator. You can move either video clips or single photos into it, and it will create animated GIFs. I’ve used it for a series of single photos before, but this is the first time using it for video. I am not sure I like it all that much. I downloaded a clip (with Download Helper add-on) from YouTube of Bird in the midst of playing a solo, which is where he was most powerful. Then, I dumped the clip (after converting it from flash to .mov with the Leawo video converter app, which costs a lot more now than when I bought it a few years ago) into Gif Animator. The first time, my clip was way too long, so I went into iMovie and edited it down. The clip was again way too long, and so on the third try, I reduced it down even further.

The result, though, is a GIF that is dark (literally and not just the dark soul of Parker) and in slow motion, for some dang ereason, so I suspect I need to tinker with the app settings some more. And I don’t have the patience for it right now. So I am Gif-ing you the Bird.


Peace (in the gif),



  1. Hi Kevin:

    I’ve never used the apps you’re talking about here, so I can’t help with the technical issues–why is it dark? why does it go slow? I don’t know!

    What I have used, and what I’ve found really, really easy, is MPEG Streamclip (free) and GIMP (free). Here’s the tutorial I used: http://ds106.us/wiki/index.php?title=Creating_Animated_GIFs_with_MPEG_Streamclip_and_GIMP

    I’m not sure why you’d have a flash file after downloading from YouTube–I’ve never had that before. But once I get the video file I pop it into MPEG Streamclip to get just the right starting and stopping place, then export as layers, then import to GIMP…and if all has gone well in the first step, it’s really just a matter of exporting it to gif at that point. That is, unless you want to do anything fancy with the video frames, but for this sort of assignment, it’s not necessary!

    • Oh, and I should also say that when you use GIMP, you can set the time delay between layers in the gif, which will allow you to adjust how quickly or slowly it plays! That isn’t in the tutorial above, but if you want any help with that, let me know!

Leave a Reply to Christina Hendricks Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *