PBS does "animated jifs"


In this short documentary, PBS explains animated GIFs in a way that makes you never want to make or look at one again.

It's the usual narrative: GIFs were web 1.0, then they went away (except they didn't), embraced by young people around '07 (right when everyone moved to Facebook, which didn't allow GIFs), then movie clips on tumblr, then ART (cinemagraphs).

No true GIF artistes could be found for an interview because they're all semi-anonymous, so PBS used the cast of Ace of Cakes.

The pretensions of calling GIFs "cinemagraphs" have been much lampooned (Paddy Johnson dubbed them "hair GIFs") but the Net is so vast none of the smirks made it to the PBS home office.

Was writing down phrases as I watched:

"Beyond the limits of the filename"
"You have... the glitch art..."
"It makes you so cool."
Fashion Jifs!
"It's about doing the next thing in technology."
"It allows a moment to live on."
"We see [cinemagraphs] as an evolution of photography."
"Essentially something you've never seen before" (accompanied by meaningful nod).

Fortunately some YouTube commenters are helping to straighten out this mess:

*cough* 4chan. Also, Unisys' snit when it tried to extract money from the patent on LZW compression, used in the GIF format, slowed uptake.


"Jif" is a peanut butter brand.


Sorry folks, but the correct pronunciation has always been GIF as in Growl or Goon or Ground or Guess or Gimmick, etc. No 'Jif'.

I only know one hard-shell GIF maker who calls them Jifs -- he goes by the pronunciation favored by, well, the inventor of the GIF but "the street" overran that long ago.

hat tip lh - ongoing edits - the horror

Update: PBS or PBS contractor.