Koyaanisqatsi Average Pixels

After the IMG_4228 experiments I was pointed by Hannah to Jason Salavon’s work, reducing frames of a movie down to 1 pixel and displaying them in sequence. It’s similar in ways to the movie barcodes but visually closer to my final piece. So I thought I’d give it a go.

I’d recently gotten around to watching Koyaanisqatsi, the film by Godfrey Reggio which is essentially a collection of short clips arranged in sequence to a soundtrack by Philip Glass. I chose this as a candidate because of the music. I was interested to see how it would be affected if the imagery was rendered unrecognisable. The music would now be accompanying block of colour, cycling through the dominant shade for each sequence.

Initially I tried doing the whole 82 minute film but technical limitations prevented me from exporting 123,850 jpegs in to one folder. I decided to take a 10 minute clip from the middle of the film and use that. Here’s the stats.

Exported clip at 15 frames per second as 480×240 JPEG files.
Resized to 1×1 pixel
Enlarged back to 480×240
Created movie from JPEGs at 15 frames per second.
Extracted audio from original clip as AIFF.
Added audio to new movie.

Here’s the result:

This worked well but I felt it might be nice to draw a connection to the original piece, so I inserted a 64×32 pixel version of it in the corner. Here’s that one.

I’m in two minds as to the success of these, or where it might lead. I think more experimenting is needed.

2 thoughts on “Koyaanisqatsi Average Pixels

  1. Stephen Bray

    The problem with the inset, IMHO, is that though it works well in the static frames, on the moving image it draws one’s vision too much. So, in effect, you end up watching the original movie in the corner of a dynamic matte.

    Nice conceptual experiment tho :)


    1. Pete Ashton

      @Stephen Yes, I noticed that when watching it full screen. Ideally I’d have a way of turning it on and off as you watch.

      It did make me wonder about insetting the movie in the middle, which then led to this idea about cinemas where the walls change colour as the movie progresses. But that’s for another time!