Tie And Jeans

I just happened to be here.

I mentioned it yesterday and couldn’t sleep last night for thoughts of GIFing Hal Hartley’s Trust.  This was easier in Schizopolis in many ways, because Hartleys films are already focused on faces and moments.  But, oh… the faces, the moments.  In the kitchen this morning, in between coffee and rinsing a quart of hair gel off of Annika, I watched the last 3 minutes of the film and bawled.  Schizopolis was our Saturday night party film, the “OMG you have to see this!” film, even though most people passed out or lost interest before the dentist-transmigration.

Trust came on after that, and always ended in tears.  My conscious (but always denied) attempt to live in the stilted Hartley language was certainly a contributor to many of friendship disintegrating fights in college.  It’s an old film – almost as old now as The Conversation was when I first saw Trust in 1998.

Even as the fashion ages into comedy, there emotional core will shift and grow with you.  Here’s my attempt to do some meager justice to this in a handful of frame grabs.

The lines and music under that last GIF add everything.

“Why have you done this?”

“Done what?”

“Put up wth me like this.”

“Somebody had to.”

“But why you?”

“I just happened to be here.”

That’s pop song strength – lines that can grow with you from bleak reflection on relationships into a tear-wrenching reflection on the arbitrary unconditional love of parenthood.  They just happened to be there, and I needed them.

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3 thoughts on “I just happened to be here.

  1. I’m not familiar with the film but the quality and choices for your GIFs is top shelf for the isolation of key movement and simplicity in say the second one– the ones with subtle motion are my favorite.

    I’ve not read all the recent ones you did, but if not mentioned please hare your technique!

  2. tieandjeans on said:

    Thanks Alan! Trying to isolate small movements is an interesting and tricky challenge. For example, in the 5th GIF ( Martin Donovan looking up, reaction shot) the actual physical motion is pretty small but the camera push shakes everything up. Maybe I need to lose my attachment to the content of the film and just trim the clip to his body, then mask out all but his head an eyes. You lose the hand grenade from the first few frames, but I bet that’s something I only see because I know to look.

    What’s your rule of thumb for “seconds of action” when making these? I’ve decided that lighting a cigarette is just too long and generally ill-suited for this It’s so incredibly filmic that every other medium eventually tries to capture it. But what makes it great for film (and also comics) is the internal beats of the act. CUP / LIGHT / EXHALE GIFing can get one of those in isolation, but that’s incredibly weak by comparison.

    Or so I say after a week of GIFs. Maybe there’s some incredibly well framed ones that I’ve missed.

    By “share technique” do you mean the mechanical/Photoshop steps?

    • Hey there, namesake!

      You’re really raising a bar here, both in terms of quality and quantity. I’m pretty sure Alan means your mechanical/Photoshop steps. I like the question you raise about “seconds of action.” Viewing some other recent GIFs, there seems to be a range of exactly what gets shown — from a series of clips that replay a scene, to the very small nuance that is communicated through a simple facial expression. I like the simplicity and minimal nature of the nuanced clip. You wind up with a still photo that surprises you with a tinge of motion. That’s cool.

      The Cinegram app for the iPhone is a neat on-phone tool for turning a phone video into an GIF.

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