I recently bought a VCR/DVD combo in order to preserve family recordings from a couple of decades ago. Initially, I am importing them into my laptop using the Power Director 9.0 program that came with the component video/USB adapter I bought. That works fine, but produces a MPEG-2 file, which doesn’t play well with many video players. So, I am using MPEGStreamClip to convert to MPEG-4. (I had to remove QuikTime and install a QuikTime substitute to be able to work with the MPEG-2 files.)
One of the old tapes was made by my then seven-year-old son. Using a camcorder as we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, he was learning to narrate his journey. As I started the conversion process, I noticed the first frame in MPEG StreamClip had a nice glitchy look to it. In fact, most of the video is black background with lights moving around in and out of focus. Before I continued the conversion, I used the Snipping Tool that Microsoft so kindly provided in my operating system to copy that first frame.
Now the fun began. Since the conversion takes many minutes, I decided to work with that frame snip and see what I could do. I use GIMP as my photo editing tool since it is free, open source, and reasonably powerful. Most of what I did for this image had to do with altering the colors. Playing around with Auto Color Enhance, White Balance, and adjusting contrast, and also inverting the colors, making changes, and inverting back, I was able to produce a range of interesting effects.
The animated GIF is easy to make in GIMP. Once you have the frames you want to use, export the file as GIF, select animation, and the frame-time you desire. I used 330 milliseconds.
The interesting thing to me is that the initial image, mostly black with a bit of color and light, actually has much pixel differentiation. By changing contrast, enhancing color and white balance, and other options, I was able to bring out sections of colors that weren’t apparent. Those colors weren’t necessarily there, but the original image contains the seeds for change.
The original frames (and more) can be found at my Flickr glitch and databending album.