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Monday, September 12, 2011

CCC moviebarcodes

Empire (1964/Andy Warhol) 1 shot

Wavelength (1967/Michael Snow) 1 shot

Ten Skies (2003/James Benning) 10 shots (+intertitles)

At Sea (2007/Peter Hutton)

Uncle Boonmee (2010/Apichatpong Weerasethakul) ASL= 34.1"
Source: moviebarcode 

Looking at the whole duration of a film in one glance, like a genome representation.

Each frame of the film (or 1 image every few seconds) is compacted into an image 1 pixel in width, and they are all stuck together, from left to right, like books on a shelf. The 1 pixel wide vertical slit gives the general colour tone of the frame, and the succession of slits shows the evolution of the colour scheme throughout the film, sequence by sequence.

In Ten Skies, it's easy to notice the very regular shot changes, every 10 minutes, with the black screen (intertitles) in between. We also see the drifting motion of the clouds in each scene (slowly moving up in the shots number 2, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10, generally the top of the frame moves faster than the bottom, number 1 and 5 look pretty quiet skies).

In Wavelength, we see the gradual zoom inscribed into the barcode. If the center stripe has divergent edges, the zoom is moving forward, if the stripes are horizontal the zoom pauses.

In At Sea, we can see the changing weather with the colour of the top of the screen, corresponding to the sky, blue or grey, or red for a sunset.

Uncle Boonmee shows the indoor/outdoor and day/night alternations. The dark section in the middle with a blue hue corresponds to the "princess-fish" flashback, ending in a bright blue underwater scene. Followed by  a dark static shot (horizontal continuity): Tong changes Boonmee's dialysis. Then a pitch black portion (crossing the forest at night to the cave). The grey patch towards the end shows 4 static shots of equal length (the 2nd and 4th show the same traces because it's the same framing), ending with faster cutting in the same grey light environment : Jen and her daughter in the hotel room. And the darker ending at the night-time karaoke-restaurant.

I'm confused about the result of the Empire barcode... since it's a fixed shot, it should be remarkably uniform and also mark a clear difference between daylight and nighttime, whereas it looks like a nightscape throughout, interrupted by brief flashes of light at random places... Probably the black and white photography with high contrast gives to the overall frame a dominant tone of shadows rather than bright daylight. Since each "barcode" final image is formatted to the same size (1280*480px) the longest films are more compacted horizontally, thus the screen capture is less frequent, and the ambient tone of the screen might be over-saturated. In comparison, At Sea and Ten Skies are much lighter and also directly readable as is (because the shots are static and fewer). 

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