This Make is opportunity to learn how to make an animated GIF from one of the Screening Surveillance short films using the Giphy Gifmaker. The process of choosing a segment of less than 10 seconds makes you focus on a key scene. The captions you add can add commentary or suggest an alternative narrative.

In these films, the protagonists are forced into situations by surveillance technologies. Here is an opportunity to imagine alternative paths of the plot if (a) characters made different choices or (b) the technology behaved in a different way. Or ponder what this might suggest for our post=pandemic future

These are the the films in the series

The third movie A Model Employee is too long to use with the web site, but if you have a Mac, try the Giphy Capture app that lets you record any screen action, add captions, and upload to Giphy.

Using Giphy GIF Maker

UPDATE:  Giphy GIF Maker no longer works for videos longer than 10 minutes, ruling out all three of our films! BOO GIPHY! As alternatives try one of the following (or see below for the desktop GIPHY Capture app)

It’s not required but if you think you might create more than just one GIF, you might want to create an account on giphy. This will make it easy to find all your creations, and it creates a nifty portfolio for you.

The Giphy GIF Maker allows you several ways to create animated gifs.

We use with the bottom option entering the URL for the YouTube link for one of the three films. Paste in the URL for it e.g. for the Blaxites film, we use the address

This brings up a (silent) view of the video. Use the Trim Video to select a portion of the video to make into a GIF. With giphy you can select up to ten seconds of any video clip to generate as a GIF (3-5 seconds is a better length to keep the file size smaller).

In the example below, we have zeroed in on the scene where the doctor slides Jai the box with a tracking device in it.

Pick the start point and how many seconds your GIF will last. Aim to make as smooth a loop as possible.

Use the bottom slider to select the start time of the GIF and the bottom one to pick it’s length. The preview will show you the loop for just this selection. Aim for the shortest length possible but also that makes use of the looping point to emphasize something important in the clip.

When the loop looks okay, click Continue to Decorate.

Here you can place a message or caption. Explore the different text styles and colors. Typically these must be short, but as shown above we can use a special trick. By breaking a message into multiple lines, and using the Old Switcheroo animation, we can make the text play out in segments, one line at a time.

Once your GIF looks complete, follow the button link for Continue to Upload.

Be sure to add netmirror tag as as one for the movie title, and make sure the public option is on. Then click Upload to Giphy.


Using Giphy Capture (Mac only)

For videos too long for using the Giphy GIF Maker on the web or to have more options for multiple captions, download the Giphy Capture app.

The app opens with a recording window that must be positioned and sized to the part of the screen to capture, in this case, a YouTube video.

Press record, click back to the browser window to make it active (pressing spacebar will start and stop the YouTube video as you cannot click the controls). The animated bar will indicated how much you can record (it’s not much). Click the red button again to stop.

A new clip will appear in the grey bar below. Click it to enter the editor.


Here you can trim the start and stop point as well as change a few other options. Experiment. Click the captions tab to add text.


While you have fewer formatting options here, in this app you can create multiple captions that can be set to appear at different points in your video. Click the Options tab again to access the controls that can let you save the animated gif as a file or upload to Giphy.

Make The GIFs!

Give it some time, when uploaded to Giphy, you will end up with a URL you can use to tweet, embed the GIF in your blog, and add below as a response to this Make.

Like these!


Frames GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Netmirror GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Netnarr GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


See what detail you can GIF from a Screening Surveillance video, and how you might do some “Old Switcheroo” on the plot. Or insert commentary, make inference to our current context.

Example for "GIF a Key Scene of a Screening Surveillance Film":

Frames GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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2 Responses for this Make

  • Love Work More Than School
    by Alan Levine (@cogdog))

    I felt this moment where the model employee seemed to be lost in the enjoyment of the alley grafitti. Might she want to soak this in? Does she want to make art? We know when she gets her text message, that she has come to love her work even more. Isn’t that twisted? What a more… »

  • Don’t Send Us Back to Crowded Lecture Halls
    by Alan Levine (@cogdog))

    I chose this scene from Blaxites because it’s definitely on a college campus. Jai is definitely upset as she tries to explain how going back to the crowded lecture hall is going to cause her stress, but her pal is not very supportive (and neither of them are wearing masks). So this whole normal things more… »

3 Guides for this Make

  • Free GIF Maker
    shared by Alan Levine (@cogdog)

    If Giphy does not work, this is another GIF making site worth trying.

    shared by Alan Levine (@cogdog)

    If Giphy does not work, this is another GIF making site worth trying.

  • Make a GIF
    shared by Alan Levine (@cogdog)

    If Giphy does not work, this is another GIF making site worth trying.

Creative Commons License
This work by Alan Levine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1.  Isolating Plots – NetNarr 2020: Net Mirror
  2.  Silly Media in Narrative Space – NetNarr 2020: Net Mirror
  3.  #NetNarr Season 4: Net Mirror Post Script – CogDogBlog
  4.  The GIF is the Message? – NetNarr 2021

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