Animated GIFs in VJ sets

Animated GIFs has been the preferred formats by hipsters the last year or so. I thought it would be fun to use these GIFs in VJ sets but unfortunately the format is not supported by the major VJ apps on OSX. So I thought it was about time to investigate how to make it work.

To created GIF Animations I’m using Loopcam, a free app for the iPhone. What’s great about Loopcam is that it has a community and an API which let’s you pull images matching a certain tag. I thought it would be a nice idea if people at a party could contribute to the mix with their own animations. If you have an internet connection and everybody tag their loops with the same tag, let’s say “awesomeparty”, it would be possible to download these GIF files a few moments after they have been created and uploaded.

My first attempt was to make a Python module for Modul8. With the help of a couple command line tools I managed to make it work. The downside is that Modul8 freezes while downloading and converting so I need to find a way to do that in the background (let me know if you have any ideas).

The next thing would be a way to make a Quartz Composer plugin that could do something similar. In that way it might be possible to make Animated GIFs work in VDMX, CoGe, Resolume, etc. But this seems to be a bit harder as QC doesn’t support Animated GIFs either. And it’s not that easy to make the comman line tools work in a QC plugin and you would need a at least one extra QC patch installed to make it happen. And even if I manage to pull this off, these VJ programs doesn’t seem to have an automated way of importing media (please correct me if I’m wrong).

I might end up making a separate app for downloading and converting the GIF animations to Quicktime movies. Preferably controllable by MIDI and / or OSC. I’ll keep you posted on any progress.

I must take the opportunity to plug for my Instructions college, Synthetics, how made the track I’m using in the video. Check out his demo and mixes on Soundcloud.

About The Midi Thief

I am an audio-visual artist.
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