Abstract Rearrangement

Experiment in Video Collage where an abstract artwork has been cut-up and rearranged in various ways, including using some of the fragments as masks.

The idea here is to see if it is possible to make an interesting video from photographs of a single artwork.

In fact, this short video is made from a single photograph.

That photograph is cut up into a collection of smaller sections of the original. These sections overlap. In all, about a dozen sectional images were created.

The next thing is to create the frames of the video which are going to be shown at one frame per second.

Each frame is made from three of the sectional images. Three different sections, chosen randomly.

One of the three images is used as a mask, so it is thresholded at a level that turns it into a black and white graphic. The only tones in the mask are pure white and pure black. The threshold value ensures there is a reasonable balance between black and white pixels.

This mask is then used to combine the other two images by printing one through the black pixels and the other through the white. This way of composing images, as opposed to blending, ensures that the only colours in the composed image are colours that appeared in the original photograph.

So this process creates a single frame, a slide in our slideshow. At one frame per second we need only 60 such frames per minute of output video. In this case the video is 2 minutes long, so required 120 frames. They didn't need to be all different, but they are.

One detail of the transition between frames needs a little attention. If the component sectional images are chosen randomly from our collection, there is a slight chance that they might not all be different. If we want them to all be different, then we must be careful to ensure that happens, in particular if the selection of three from twelve has been automated.

The audio here is only loosely synchronised by the percussion having an emphatic beat every second. The rest of the audio, some scraping and banging of instruments, is not synchronised.

There is an interesting consequence of using Bluetooth connected headphones. Some set ups can have a Bluetooth-lag, which means the audio can be delayed by a few milliseconds, even up to 1/4 second. This might affect some users' experience.

You can compensate fir this possible lag by shifting the audio a little so that the beat happens a little early. This is a matter of judging the experience and deciding if that is necessary. It hasn't been done here, although it is not uncommon in video to start the audio early, before a jump cut, which can engage the viewers attention appropriately. This video is too simple to benefit from that.

Updated July 2018