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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Les Quatre Saisons: One Year Time-Lapse Movie Posted

After a year of photography and almost a month of post-production, I have posted Les Quatre Saisons, a time-lapse movie created by taking a photograph every day (with a few gaps due to this and that) from an east-facing window of the Fourmilab conference room which, at the start of the project in March 2005, looked upon a hay-mow that has been agricultural land since the Roman Empire, but went and sprouted three new houses in the last twelvemonth. Each season of the year is set to an excerpt from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, custom arranged from a MIDI sequence for this film. A tremendous amount of detail is captured in these images as the seasons change, the weather flaunts its fickleness, plants flower, flourish, and finally fade, and the relentless process of urbanisation continues. If you spot something interesting in the movie and want to look closer, you can visit Les Quatre Saisons: Jour par Jour, a Web document tree which lets you explore all of the individual frames of the movie as high-quality JPEG images with information about the circumstances (illumination and weather) on the day the frame was photographed. The main document contains a complete description of the production of the movie, a link to download the custom Perl programs used to produce it, and links to all of the software tools used in the process. No proprietary software was used in the creation of this movie.

The full movie is 37 Mb, so if you don't have a fast Internet connection you should give it a miss; if you're curious, you can still explore the single-frame edition. Because of the potential a file of this size has for eating my own Internet connection alive should somebody post a link to it on a public discussion board or, even worse, use it in a distributed denial of service attack, this time I'm trying something different with the hosting. While the links above and the single frame edition are served from my Web server as usual, I have placed the movie in the public domain and contributed it to the collection of the Internet Archive where it is hosted on this page. When you click the download link for the movie you're getting it from there, not here. The process of uploading the film was reasonably painless, although be very careful if your metadata contains ISO-8859 characters: it appears that if you use the browser's “Back” button, they can get accidentally transformed into UTF-8, mangling every accented letter. This may, of course, be specific to my configuration or just my customary luck with such things.

Posted at April 29, 2006 02:06