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Movies

Charting the history of cinema in frames per second

I was commissioned to produce a data visualisation piece as part of an exhibition curated by Signal Noise.

The brief was to illustrate how technology allows huge amounts of data to be processed in a very short space of time. The exhibition was titled ‘Less Than a Second’, and I worked with Cai Griffith and Jason Drew to produce a piece about cinema.

The piece was one of nine shown at the Blackall Studios in Shoreditch in October. Here’s a description that accompanied the work:

“The first moving images in 1888′s Roundhay Garden Scene weren’t moving at all – they were individual stills captured at 12 frames per second (fps).

Advancing technology has propelled cinema a long way since those first shaky seconds, moving from black and white to colour, silent to talkie, 35mm film to digital, 24fps to 48fps.

But a second of footage still remains just a blend of static images, now captured at speeds as fast as 4000fps.

The data inside that fraction of a second is growing exponentially too thanks to huge leaps forward in resolution. One frame at 4k contains more than 8,000,000 pixels.

This visualisation charts the history of the moving image, and how technology means that just one second of film shot at the end of the 19th century is so different from a second at the start of the 21st.”

See a high-res version of the poster here.

Read more about the exhibition from Signal Noise here, and a review by Design Week here.