2001: A Space Odyssey as an Animated Barcode

2so reslice

Here you see a “movie barcode” created from 600 186×84 thumbnails which represent the first frame of every shot in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I originally stumbled upon this monstrosity by randomly playing around with some of ImageJ’s built-in functions. This particular one is called “Reslice;” it transforms a stack of images into something like the above, with the option of exporting it as a single frame or an animated gif. At first, I was genuinely baffled by what I had created—now I think I can explain it as follows.

The gif is 600 pixels wide, so it seems like a reasonable assumption that each 1px column represents a frame from the original film. The gif’s height is 186px, which corresponds to the width of the original thumbnails. And finally, the animation has 84 frames, which corresponds to height of the original thumbnails.

So effectively what we’re seeing is a series of 1px-wide slices of the film arranged chronologically from left to right. Over time, we see 84 lengthwise slices of each frame, cutting (I think) from top to bottom. Think of it as a throbbing film-strip style montage. I think this is an interesting way of reducing frames to sheer color, almost as if I were making 84 different color palettes per frame and juxtaposing them in time. Not sure how useful this will be as an analytic tool, but you have to admit it’s damn mesmerizing!

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