Catching a few lobsters...
/ Databending Deep Dive

When I joined the group back when the idea for the project was simply an uplifting animation or visual effects piece set in space, there was talk of ways to make certain parts of it strange in ways that are not often thought of. Right away I thought of two things that I had been researching and dabbling in, databending, and analog film manipulation. While it is still possible to add in analog film manipulation towards the end of the project, we centered up on what we could do now, which is databending. It is a practice unknown to most outside of a few tumblr posts, and as far as any of us know it has never been applied in a professional film setting. Since I was the only one with any sort of experience in the ways of databending, and I suggested the idea, I got to work figuring out the practicality of the idea. Soon enough I figured out ways to apply databending to moving images using both image sequences and uncompressed .avi files.

From there the next step in working out how to use data corruption as an appealing visual tool was understanding the various ways that I could maneuver the data to achieve consistent effects. I proceeded to build a catalog of noted effects and what worked best, as well as how bending specific color channels can work. I also began working on learning the effects of putting different types of raw dato on top of each other and expanding to programs beyond Audacity.

But databending represented something more than just making the project stranger to me. For the first time it seemed like I could do something that was breaking ground in my field even in a small way. I wanted to try something where there wasn’t anyone there to show me the way. Anyone can databend and, as mentioned before,there are a few pages on the internet that give instructions on how anyone can do it in minutes, all they need is some free audio software. However, one would be hardpressed to find detailed documentation on the effects one can achieve with it and the extent to which it can be utilized. This inspired me to want to push databending to its limits in the project (even if it’s not all included), and truly understand what it is that I’m doing. It feels like I’m figuring out a new science in imagery. It’s also astonishing to look at, and can make one feel like a wizard with a computer. Since it is so rarely seen especially when dealing with moving images it presents a new oddity on the silver screen, and does something that due to the emergence of cg animation programs is rarely asked in the modern age of cinema  “How’d they do that?”

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