GIF is an image based animation file format that has been around since the beginning of the internet, long before YouTube, Twitter and Facebook had existed. Today in 2018, GIFs are more relevant than ever! They serve as a quick way to share and communicate social memes. In this video VJ Fader talks about the importance of GIFs for VJs and live video mixing using AVmixer, as well as how to find GIFs and create your very own collection.
There are two major platforms to find GIFs on the web. They are Giphy and Tumblr, both are amazing resources for browsing through millions of GIFs created by other people. You can quickly search via hashtags. Almost any word you can think of, there's a GIF available for it. You can make your own GIFs on websites like gifmaker. With major social media platforms such as Facebook supporting GIFs for posting and sending as a message, the popularity of GIF as a sharing visual medium is growing. If you are looking for high-quality visual animations then check out AVLoops.com.
GIFs are low quality but that's totally OK!
Although GIFs are mostly low quality and unlike video format they come in different aspect ratios (square, tall rectangle...). For me personally, the amount of content available as GIFs really out weighs some of these negative aspect. VJing is about visual communication, a dialogue between the performer and the audience. What does an image or animation is 'saying' is very important. Because you can find almost any GIF associated to a word or hashtag, that makes GIFs a super valuable source for finding a loop that 'says' exactly what you want at any given time.
Giphy to AVmixer via Syphon
VDMX has a nice handy utility called GifToSyphon for Mac. You can use it to search through Giphy's library of GIFs and send the video to most VJ softwares including AVmixer via Syphon. There's no browser function so you can only skip to 'next' GIF which can be very random. Nevertheless it is a nice little utility if you need something on the fly. Do keep in mind that you will need an internet connection otherwise no bueno.
looking for the right GIF is like digging for gold
I believe the low quality nature of the GIF contributed to its success and popularity today. Because it is so 'shitty', it falls in the cracks of copyright laws and major media corporations' watchful eye (lawyers). Don't forget GIF has no sound, and have no monetary value. Yes, some artists tried to sell GIFs as 'art'. For the most part GIFs as we know today, are being copied, shared, remixed, re-shared in a never ending cycle. And the content itself, the message of the animation seems to be more important than it's source or the creator. This makes GIFs a true visual remixing medium, perfect for the internet that we know today and perfect for VJing.