If I’m working late and waiting for renders, I often hop between work and dump.fm. It’s not the most effective way to work, but makes things amusing… Last night, folks were posting GIFs of text re-scanned off a television. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the GIFs before (if you know the origin, please post a comment) The source on dump was “http://www.animaginaryplace.com/spelling/_img/fuzzytv/Z.gif”
Much of “contemporary GIF culture” is about preserving, organizing, and curating nostalgia. I’m enjoying the backwards-transcoding of the two anti-quality/pro-distribution formats of GIF and VHS.
I became super excited by the GIFs and downloaded the entire alphabet. (I did the same with some text I saw a bit ago) It turns out that the collection oscillated between black-on-white and white-on-black. Being sourced from video, they were also 16:9 aspect ratio at 499×281. For some reason, I became interested in the formatting artifacts and logic (black & white oscillation based on every other alphabetical letter; scale being dictated, in part, by video tools: TV and the rescanning camera) embedded in a source images (the compressed animated GIF) acting in a new context (as TXT). Trying to spell words with 16:9 letters isn’t very useful; There’s a ton of space between letters. A type-setter would use kerning and tracking to get letters to fit nicely together. I decided to create a more workable animated GIF VHS alphabet.
First, I split the alphabet into every other letter, due to the black/white/black/white letter logic. I then cropped the edges and inverted each set. After that, I re-combined them into one black alphabet and one white alphabet. Dump.fm allows for multiple images to be posted in a row, so, I shrunk the alphabet to allow for words larger than “POOP”. (If you want larger images just remove the -sm in the URL; here’s a legend) I’m having a blast w/ it… It would be cool to organize a GIF alphabet site; ala http://textanim.com/
Man… writing this post is almost more nerdy than going through the process described above…