Creating a Very Slow Movie Player
Rendering digital images in a new way holds a lot of possibilities
Walking around Brasília some years ago, I had the distinct feeling that I was doing it “wrong”—because, of course, I was. The center of the capital city of Brazil is organized along the Eixo Monumental, or Monumental Axis, and features an array of important buildings that form a long spine. It is a place designed to be “read” at the speed of a vehicle, so taking it in by foot is like watching a movie in slow motion.
But this can be rewarding in unexpected ways. Pedestrians in Brasília have an opportunity to discover the subtle variations between the seemingly mega-scaled buildings. Rhythmic reflections and shadows bring surfaces to life under the tropical sunlight in beautiful and nuanced ways—just don’t forget to put on sunscreen.
Slowing things down to an extreme measure creates room for appreciation of the object, but the prolonged duration shifts the relationship between object, viewer, and context. A film watched at 1/3,600 of the original speed is not merely a very slow movie, it’s a hazy timepiece. And while a thing like Very Slow Movie Player (VSMP) wouldn’t tell you the time, it helps you see yourself against the smear of time.
How ‘VSMP‘ Works
VSMP is an object that contains a Raspberry Pi computer, custom software, and a reflective ePaper display (similar to a Kindle), all housed in a 3D-printed case. Every two-and-a-half minutes, a frame from a film that’s stored on the computer’s memory card is extracted, converted to black and white using a dithering algorithm, and then communicated to the ePaper display. The video below explains the…