2001 A Space Odyssey: Unwrapping the Slit Scan sequences

While watching Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey", I thought it would be fun to write some software to unravel the slit scan artwork in the psychedelic sequences of 2001, to see what they were. The results of this experiment are below.. (This page was uploaded in 2002)

The technique used to unravel the sequences involved using an SGI's real time video hardware, with a hacked version of 'videoin.c' (from the SGI example programs) to accumulate scanlines from the DVD and concatenate them back into the original artwork. So as the film played, the program ran, unrolling the scanlines in realtime; it was really fun to see the first results..!

Seq29, Shot27: "Slit scan Under Octahedrons"

Original Shot from the film.
The expanded slit scan is below.

Note the 'white stripe' going by in the original shot above,
and it's corresponding mark at the very bottom of the expanded slit scan (below).

I'm not sure what this original artwork was, looks like a posterized photograph closeup of coral in an aquarium, or flowers.

Seq29, Shot29: "Final Slit scan"

Original Shot from the film.
The upper slit scan is expanded below.

It's amazing how clearly this de-scanned. Not sure what the artwork is. The bottom section appears to be a heavily posterized hicon image of a flower's seeds, and the upper section appears to be an image from a microscope.

Of interest, the same 'white stripe' artifact from shot27 appears in this image as well, towards the top, suggesting this artwork might be a continuation of the artwork in shot #27. Other clues in the image detail indicate this is the same artwork, just posterized with different (cyan) filters.

Seq29, Shot4: "Slit Scan Graphics"

Original Shot. The upper slit scan is expanded below.

Artwork is backlit graphic shapes, some might be screen graphics (eg. computer displays), and some might even be blowups of photos of computer lights towards the end of this shot. In the original (above), you can see the 'yellow spider' graphic scrolling by, shown below in the middle of the artwork.

I need to work on this sequence some more. Grabbing scanlines doesn't work as well in this sequence, because the graphics scroll by very quickly, so I'm missing a lot of detail. That could take a lot of work, might be a while for that.

Seq29, Shot8: "Abstract Slit Scan" ***

Original Shot. The left slit scan is expanded below.

Artwork is a composite of backlit abstract graphic shapes, graphic spirals, I think even a photo or two of a galaxy mixed in there. Probably all taped up as a long 'pan cel'.

In the original (above), the 'green circle graphic' is passing the camera, which can be seen below, to the left of the yellow spiral graphic.

There's also some other 'work in progress' stuff to see as well.


Visitor 169198 since 02/18/02.