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MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Video Synthesis  
Author slit-scan

wikipedia wrote:

The slit-scan photography technique is a photographic and cinematographic process where a moveable slide, into which a slit has been cut, is inserted between the camera and the subject to be photographed.

*Use in cinematography

Originally used in static photography to achieve blurriness or deformity, the slit-scan technique was perfected for the creation of spectacular animations. It enables the cinematographer to create a psychedelic flow of colors. Though this type of effect is now often created through computer animation, slit-scan is a mechanical technique. It was adapted for film by Douglas Trumbull during the production of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and used extensively in the "stargate" sequence. It requires an imposing machine, capable of moving the camera and its support. This type of effect was revived in other productions, for films and television alike. For instance, slit-scan was used by Bernard Lodge to create the Doctor Who title sequences for Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker used between December 1973 and 1979. Slit-scan was also used in Star Trek: The Next Generation to create the "stretching" of the starship Enterprise-D when it engaged warp drive. Due to the expense and difficulty of this technique, the same three warp-entry shots, all created by Industrial Light and Magic for the series pilot, were reused throughout the series virtually every time the ship went into warp.

hmmm..... i wonder if this technique could be simulated using analogue video synthesis modules?
I'm not sure how this could be done technique wise, but I know i've been able to "smear" images to some extent.
Interesting, and great discussion!!

As far as simulating it... my upcoming Triple Video Multimode Filter will be able to do complex softening/smearing. You could use a frame buffer (or video effects unit/software with this feature) to mirror and skew two sides of an image to get the effect of animated motion flowing out of a slit towards the viewer. Video feedback could definitely be put into play as well. All three of these techniques combined could probably create a really beautiful effect similar to that 2001 sequence.
thumbs up thanks for the suggestions, lars!

the results i've seen of this technique remind me of sample/hold (modulating filter cutoff, for example) in audio, so i kind of figured that a frame buffer would be one piece of the puzzle...

would video feedback be useful in this context for enhancing things like perceived depth and the sense of motion/animation?

i can't wait to see the triple-video-multimode filter in action, btw! Rockin' Banana!
Have you seen John Whitney's work. Utterly brilliant and disgustingly well done. I believe he pioneered this work. A big inspiration for me.
woah wow - thanks for that reference matos!

i hadn't ever seen any of the james whitney films (i love the name 'uroboros films' Eel Power FTW!, btw)-- totally beyond-awesome!!!

i especially liked the 2:07-2:40 part in 'catalog (1961)' - where the magic-carpet shape is flapping around and floating through the darkness! we're not worthy

...after checking out some of the other work of his on youtube, i found this one particularly mesmerizing:

seeing the recurring video motifs as they appear in that one felt very much like hearing refrains or choruses in a song (even though the sound was not the same)... hmm, what's that called... synesthesia, i think (kind of, anyways)!

i can't even begin to imagine what the effort involved must have been to do all that in 1957!! what on earth kind of synthesizer was he even using back then for the soundtrack (i know there is a lot of tape splicing going on; but some of the fragments sound more like the late 1960s or early 1970s to my ears)? a sackbut (

and to think he did all that (including invention of the slit scanning technique) with the sight optics from a wwii anti-aircraft gun! cool!
I know. Such a ridiculous amount of work went into his pieces. It makes me feel lazy, and pushes me to work harder. Some real lush synesthesia moments indeed. Amazing how far he pushed his vision.
Slit scan is analogue for "time displacement". After Effects has a time displace effect that uses a grayscale image, to displace the pixels in time. So if you shoot someone spinning around on a turntable, use a Y gradient from black on bottom to white on top, depending on the sampling points in time, they can look like they are twisted like a helix.

Like this trippy video I found.

There should be equivalents in most compositing programs. You need a LOT of frames, the higher speed the camera and the slower the movement (and a locked down camera), the better. It's easier to speed up time than slow it down w/o it looking odd and morphy.
Slitscan is all about a longer than real-time exposure of each image. Only part of the image is recorded at any moment so essentially different parts of the image are recorded at different times.

The creativity is changing something over time to create an interesting image. The technical challenge is big in that whatever you capture has to be repeated exactly but differently frame after frame.

John Whitney's work was definitely all about the controlled re-photography of something, most historically a synthesized simple image that became significantly enhanced with the re-photography.

One challenge alone with a CRT image is just getting a perfect exposure of the entire image.

Not that it ranks with the pioneering work here but I once did a digital shot with time displacement using a grey-scale map. The map contained values for each pixel to take that pixel from a different time (= different frame) by the shade of grey. This was by no means real-time. It involved already already recorded video and each frame took a bit to assemble since After Effects had to access and take pixels off a pile of frames to assemble each final frame. It's the stretchy people at the beginning of this -

Relevant to your interests.
the Korg entrancer has some slit scan-esque presets. by creating a video feedback loop with the entrancer in the chain i have gotten at least part way there.
What preset on the KPE?
bitSmasher wrote:
What preset on the KPE?

Sorry, I don't have my video stuff setup at the moment...packed away for now. I think try the presets between 76 and 85 that are referred to as "split" ...somewhere in there I think.
I can't wait to not be sick so I can go to the studio and watch these examples.
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