GIF master Tim Burke takes art to a new level

Jay Hart

Unlike many online trends, the GIF has proven its staying power. Deadspin, the sports blog that, among other things, broke the Manti Te'o story, has perfected the art and science of the GIF, thanks in large to the work of Tim Burke.

Tim Burke (via Twitter)
Tim Burke (via Twitter)

In a recent profile in the New York Times, Burke speaks about the GIF's power to capture key moments in sports -- the things people want to share on Facebook and Twitter.

Via the New York Times:

"Video requires a reader’s intervention to play, whereas a GIF adds itself forcefully," Burke said.

He added: "It’s an art object. You’re taking this little moment and making it exist in perpetuity, because it constantly loops," as in a GIF of a fumble by Bears running back Matt Forte.

“A lot of stuff I do here — nobody’s done this stuff,” he said. “How did I learn to do it? I messed around with stuff until I found something that worked.”

The profile from the Times is well worth a read, especially for the descriptions of Burke's bunker, where he uses 10 monitors and 26 video sources to watch all manner of sporting events from dusk until dawn. The man is dedicated.

Sure, many of the GIF-able moments come from actions taken on the field or court. But just as often, Burke sees something happening in the background. Fans, they do the darndest things.

In honor of the man's work, here are five great GIFs from the good folks at Deadspin. Some are glorious, others are embarrassing, and some are just plain odd. And yes, we included the Butt Fumble. Because how could we not?