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A Seagull Walks into a Five and Dime…

I haven’t had time to post much lately but I did leave a trail of breadcrumbs in the form of 3-4 blog titles to remember what I was thinking along the way. This one, for example, is about animated gifs. The gif I saw that week, which has been around for several years, is a continuous loop of a seagull walking into a shop and coming out with a bag of crisps–-it was in Scotland; hence, crisps.

seagullWhat’s awesome about it is how the bird looks both ways and kind of tiptoes before grabbing the bag and running out. It’s the perfect clip, with a near-Chaplinesque sense of comic timing. A viral video distilled to its purest essence and delivered not as a video but as an animated gif. Someone in my social marketers group posted it as a Facebook status update and people couldn’t get enough of it, even though the thing is years old.

At first I thought the “accident” of someone walking across the path of the camera just as the bird steals the bag was proof of a cheat but now I see it as proof of its authenticity. Doubtless, scholars will debate this for years to come.

However, my interest was in seeing whether I could create an animated gif of a clip from my kids show DooF. It took a few tries with some software I downloaded, and I’m still not sure how not to have the video come out so pixilated. Still, I was able to create a cute little animated gif of one of the DooF kids mugging with some pizza dough while filming with restaurant owner-chef Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaiolo, in Oakland. You can see it on the DooF home page. I decided it was too annoying to have it run as a continuous loop, so settled on 3x, which you can select for in the settings of the gif program. The clip stops after the third play and if you want to see it again you have to refresh the page, twice.

Animated gifs are a simple thing and possibly of limited use because you cannot use sound and only certain videos are going to be powerful enough visually to be effective in this format. Then again it’s a reminder of the thing we were told in film school that if it’s any good you should be able to play it without sound. Yeah, kinda, sorta. But I am convinced that the solution to our online video challenge will be something simple and obvious. As a matter of fact, I’m starting to feel like I have a better idea what it is (if I can only find that other breadcrumb). And it’s not animated gifs, though their power does remind me of the famous early film clips from films like The Great Train Robbery that even today are iconic, and of course Chaplin.

Marketing Video Experts