Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Alien (1979)
Just when you think you've seen it all, something comes along and shakes you out of your jaded, cynical worldview and finds a way for you to see something differently.  Such is the case with Movie Bar Codes.

The idea is simple.  Very simple.  You take a single frame of a movie and compress it into one long sliver.  Then you do the same with the rest of the frames and put them together.  What follows is an abstract reinterpretation of the film through color.  

Take a look at these and see if anything strikes you...

Annie Hall

Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen is a neurotic.  His films reflect that -- but even the movie bar code above seems mentally fractured and disjointed.  When you compare it to the others, there is something unsettling about it.


Fargo (1996)
It's cold, blue color scheme is evident when shown this way.  "Is that your friend in the woodchipper, there?"   


Goodfellas (1990)
You can almost see Henry Hill's dark descent into the violent world of organized crime.  Can you point to the place on the screen where Billy Bats was beaten to death?

The Wizard of Oz 

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This is the most interesting example of the abstraction.  You can follow the story through color.  Even the Emerald City is evident as a wide swath of green.  

Prints of these barcode images are available on a tumblr website called Movie Bar Codes along with a long list of others, both classic and modern.   I sent a message to the site to see if they take suggestions of movies to compress.  No word back yet.


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