Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vide Oh’s—A healthy part of your daily breakfast

Working on two simultaneous video projects at the moment dealing with our perception of digital quality:

Hamster Dance: Special Edition is a reconstruction of the original hamster dance animated gifs, with big, enlarged pixels, hand looped on the stage of Final Cut Pro, and presented on DVD with a "Digitally Mastered" bumper trailer from that company with the note which is deep.

Binaryqatsi might be the first of my re-interpreted ‘qatsi Trilogy... Ch 1 of the Koyaanisqatsi (1982) DVD, rendered as ASCII with a low-bit audio filter. If it seems worth pursuing, I may take a chapter of Powaqqatsi (1988) and run it through Cinepak compression. Granted Cinepak came out in 1992, but I like the idea of doing the first film in 80's tech, the 2nd in 90's CD-ROM movie compression, and perhaps the third, Naqoyqatsi (2002) with an even later codec, maybe with a YouTube slug in the lower corner.

It's a bit of a challenge getting my ASCII rendition to look decent in DV/NTSC... My first video-to-ascii filter didn't export movies at all, so I used SnapzPro to screen-cap the whole playback, then tried to scale it into the proper format. Came out pretty ugly. Currently trying Quartz Composer, exporting that, and dropping it into FCP to add the re-filtered audio (currently done with the Bitshredder filters in Garage Band). In neither filter can I set the frame rate... they both run much faster than 30fps, so conforming to NTSC is probably also introducing blur or averaging, which further hinders legibility.

Even on a 2x2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro, the muxing of this stuff takes a long time. I can only imagine trying it on my old 2x1 GHz G4 MDD.

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