frederic brodbeck: cinemetrics data visualization
aug 02, 2011
frederic brodbeck: cinemetrics data visualization


frederic brodbeck’s ‘cinemetrics’ data visualization program creates unique ‘fingerprints’ for films

a computer application created by netherlands-based designer frederic brodbeck,
cinemetrics‘ seeks an alternative way of measuring and visualizing movie data,
creating a ‘fingerprint’ or ‘barcode’ for each film.

brodbeck explains:

I wanted to use the movie itself as a source of data, to see what sort of information can be extracted from it,
to find ways of visualizing it and to create the necessary tools to do this. since motion pictures are a time-based medium,
they can only be seen one image at a time– only as a fraction, never as a whole. ['cinemetrics' involves] extracting
and analyzing information–such as the editing structure, use of colors, speech or motion– and transforming them
into graphic representations, so that movies can be seen as a whole and easily be interpreted or compared [...]
both in print and digital media.


video overview of ‘cinemetrics’

brodbeck first wrote a program to disassemble video files into their component parts: footage, audio, subtitles, and metadata.
to process the files, he created an algorithm to calculate the length of each shot of the film, breaking down each into five
predominant colours that are then used to determine the colour palette of the segment and film as a whole. the amount of motion
in a scene is calculated based on the difference in pixel tone over the course of two successive frames, and this data is used
to affect the extent to which the segments in the visualization jump around.

additional tools that the software can utilize are a language processing algorithm that determines whether the language
of the film is predominantly positive, neutral, or negative; and a face detection feature that determines the face to non-face ratio
of a movie. the application can easily integrate data from the international movie database, offering a host of additional possible extensions.

python and openCV were used for the majority of the background algorithms. brodbeck wrote an interactive application
in processing to generate and compare different movie fingerprints, and enable the visualization of the data in different ways
and at different levels of abstraction.


application interface, depicting the visualization of ‘the shining’, with a particular scene clicked on from within the rings


the ‘fingerprint’ for ‘the shining’, abstracted to the film-level colour scheme visualization


comparison of two films about space: ’2001′ and ‘aliens’


comparison: ‘solyaris’ (1972) and ‘solaris’ remake (2002)


comparison of films directed by wes anderson


flip-through of brodbeck’s documentation of the project and its findings

via creative applications

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