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The Morning GIF: Capturing Hollywood blockbusters

Idle Screenings takes entire movies and turns them into thousands of animated GIFs.


Lorraine Murphy


Posted on Mar 7, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 8:26 pm CDT

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the GIF fad has reached it post-logical conclusion. That’s it, stick a fork in it, it’s done. This cannot be topped.

Idle Screenings is a new website devoted to the comprehensive GIF-ing of five Hollywood blockbusters over the course of a week.

The screensaver, blog, and presentation all consist of thousands upon thousands of animated GIFs containing the entirety of a small but growing database of major movies, in order. So far it includes: Avatar, The Dark Knight, and Transformers. Titles coming soon include Inception and The Hangover.

Once the movies are all uploaded (at one a day) the experiment will end.

The goal is to push the boundaries of copyright and question the very nature of creation.

Who, after all, is the creator of a GIF-memorialized moment in, say, Avatar? The actor, the director, the person who rips the GIF, the person who comes along 300 reblogs later and captions it, driving it to even greater popularity?

As site co-creator Mitch Trale told Mashable, “There’s a disposability to a single GIF when seen in the context of a blog full of them, yet that GIF can still retain a power to evoke feelings or memories of a shared media experience.”

All of the GIFs, being GIFs, are silent, and none are captioned.

I’ve seen none of these movies, so I chose Avatar semi-randomly (I vaguely remembered hearing it had some pretty pictures). Fair warning: your WIFI connection may be strained as you download hundreds or thousands of animated GIFs at one time. So to avoid the ire of your fellow Starbucks patrons, you may be best advised to watch at home.

This GIF of the eloquent encounter of two solitudes hasn’t turned up on Tumblr yet, but we bet there will be a lot of GIF-mining going on over the duration of the five-day experiment.

And then perhaps a few lawsuits, if Hollywood runs true to form.

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*First Published: Mar 7, 2012, 11:29 am CST