Exploring the territory

Yesterday’s Daily Create looked interesting:

Exploration video. Maybe you’re exploring a new land, the depths of quarks, outer space, the mind, the soul, etc.

Given the excessive rain, I started thinking about exploring the mind, vaguely thinking of some sort of psychedelic movie, or even La Belle et la Bête which I’ve grabbed more than one gif from.
I don’t really have the toolkit or skills for skewing some sort of kaleidoscope, tunnel nightmare vision but I remembered I’d used Screenflow to do something like this with titles in my BRIGADS106 movie. and though I could do a little testing.
Screenflow is designed for screen-casting, but it lets you layer video (from its builtin screen-capture and elsewhere), text, and images. It allows you to zoom, arrange, rotate and transition to and from these effect on a layer-by-layer basis.
My first idea was a journey through a dark tunnel/gallery with animated gifs lining the wall. As I started experimenting I realised that this was probably doable, but not by me in an afternoon. I pivoted to do a journey into ds106 as a slightly wizzy screencast using some of screenflow’s effects, even this took most of the afternoon to complete.
In ScreenFlow you can add a ‘video action’ to a clip. After adding this you can set the zoom, rotation etc of the clip before and after the action, Screenflow will tween between the two.
Here is a screenshot showing a clip with a video action (click for full-sized):

Screenshot 2014-02-09 13.42.43

And a gif taken from the exported video.


Interestingly you can use gifs in screenflow, I guess they are played via Quicktime, but unfortunately they do not loop. You can get round this by recording the gifs in screenflow. As I’ve been writing this up, I made a very quick experement.

  1. Made a webpage with a few gifs on it.
  2. Recorded the page with screenflow.
  3. In screenflow cropped to a strip.
  4. Imported into screenflow and made a movie rotating the first clip.

To make this work properly I’d need to think a good bit more about angles and timings, but I think there are some possibilities for fun.

A beautiful face

Part of week 2 in the headless ds106 is to Say It Like the Peanut Butter.

Make an animated gif from your favorite/least favorite movie capturing the essence of a key scene. Make sure the movement is minimal but essential.

I’ve done a few of these and made a wee tutorial last week for doing it with Fireworks. At first I had another dig through blade runner and La Belle et la Bête, but wasn’t delighted with the results.
Then last night I went to the movies to see The Great Beauty, which was a beautiful movie in all sorts of ways. I was a fan of Toni Servillo from The Consequences of Love and Il Divo and this increased my admiration. So here is his beautiful face, ripped from the trailer on youtube.
I duplicated the very short segment and reversed it to hide the seems. The gif started out a over 2mb and I crushed it as much as I could, eventually resizing down to 360 pixels. I am going to scale it up in the html here.


Make the wolf hole

According to Headless ds106 Week 1: Are You Ready For Bootcamp? we are asked to:

In this first short clip, listen to what art critic Robert Hughes has to say about why Art is important- and keep in mind this entire course is about creating art. Go beyond the fact that he sounds like an art critic. Listen to what he says.

I listened, I didn’t really like this:

it’s not a task achieved by groups by movements it’s done by individuals

It rubs against what I feel I gain for ds106 meeting and learning from folk in an interesting space. It smells a we bit of Thatcherism.
I also feel uncomfortable with the idea that I am making art in ds106, I am minded that art should be a bit harder, more difficult than what I am doing.

Watching the movie through a couple of times I flicked on the close captions, I often find these amusing. Rather than think hard about Mr Hughes’ word I decided to play.

Using 4K Video Downloader which is free, I downloaded the video and a srt (subtile file, generated from the captions). This allowed me to use gifboard to grab a gif with a caption from the video, I basked it down to B&W with Fireworks.

Robert Hughes on what art is wolf bw

And do a wee bit of editing of the srt file:
Make the wolf hole

Optimism is coming next,
Fish out the crystal,
Rush towards insignificance, 
This is the real thing.

This needs respect,
And nobody can,
Pollack with the server.

Matisse with with the puzzle,
Make the wolf hole,
Listen all its glory,
The true feelings.

Close the gap between you,
An experience of the world,
Levelled out,
Always going to have ups.

Created by deleting some text from the file, I added one the and a l which are in italic above.
Here is the .srt file: Robert Hughes on what art is.srt
I blogged about gifboard at the start of this year. It is a nice tool to have in ones gif toolbelt.


August 2013 GIF Challenge #10: Monster Chiller Horror Theatre 3D Style GIF on I am Talky Tina.

look for a part of a scene in a 3D type movie where the thing comes right out of the screen at you and then makes a GIF out of it.

This could be quite a time consuming challenge, unless you were a 3d fan.
I just went to youtube and put 3d movie in the search. Halfway down the results was Ramayana – The Epic I clicked through and skimmed through the movie. I usually use Fastesttube to grab youtube videos but this one was over an hour and a half long, so I used quicktime to record the screen to a movie file for a short section. This section I opened with MPEG Stramclip and trimed to a shorter section. This was exported to an image sequence, setting file type to jpeg, quality to 80% and 12 frames per second.
I got 60 images in a folder. I had exported at full size 1280 pixels wide so I used the sips program in the terminal to resize them (I could have done this in MPEG streamclip, in the export settings or later in Fireworks, but sips is a handy thing).


To use sips you open a terminal window and type:
sips –resampleWidth 640
Then drag all the images from the finder into the terminal window. This lists the paths to these files after the command you just typed. It looks a bit of a mess but just hit return and all of the images are resized.


I open the first image in Fireworks to create a new document, then drag all of the other images onto that document window. This gave me a 60 layer doc. I clicked on one layer in the layers window and then cmd-A (Select all) .

Next I open the frames window and from the popup menu at the top choose Distribute to Frames this gives me a 60 frame animation. It is also about 3mb.

In the frames window I cmd-click on all the even frames and drag them to the bin. I select all the remaining frames and double click on the Frame Delay column, I double the delay to 14/100 and preview. Still a bit big.

I delete some of the initial frames as not a lot happens there. I repeat the removal of every second frame, but don’t delete the one (5) in the middle of the big move. This time I set the delay to 21/100, it looks ok so I set the delay to frame 5 and 6 (now out of 11) back to 14. I set the delay to frame 1 and 11 to 50/100 to get a bit of a pause.

A preview shows this looks not to bad so I have a look at the Optimise window. Mostly adjusting the number of colours. Exporting a gif each time to see what it looks like. (I really like the feature in fireworks that in a file save the warning dialog that you are going to replace a file has its default to OK to replace rather than cancel). I finally settle on 128 colours which give a 750k gif:

snake 012

A couple of weeks ago I did a screencast of using fireworks for giffing, but missed a couple of important points. I will redo and publish in case other ds106ers would find Fireworks a useful giff tool.