This Slit-Scan Video Will Break Your Brain

This video shows every day scenes in a city, in the most impossibly awesome and freaky and mind-twisting way I can imagine. It's the antithesis of the soothing time-lapses we are used to: a slit-scan video. What is it? Kamil Sladek explains:

You can make your own slit camera out of any video capable digital camera with a regular sensor and a regular lens. All you need to do is the following:

1. record a video of your action
2. extract each frame as an individual image (the opposite to what you would do for a time lapse)
3. extract a vertical single pixel wide line from each image (for example a line from the center)
4. stack those lines horizontally from left to right to form an actual "slit scan" image

This can be automated by tools like e.g. ImageMagick and the longer your initial video was, the wider your image will be. In fact, the width of your slit scan image will have exactly the same amount of pixels as your initial video's frame number.

Now, to go one step further you can proceed for all the other vertical lines of your images and create one slit scan image for each particular set of vertical lines. This will give you a set of as many slit scan images as your initial video was wide in pixels. Combining that set of slit scan images to a video (this time exactly as in a time lapse) your result can look like this.


We'd seen slit-scan still photos before, but the video form is just incredible. Do you make slit-scan videos? Anything really cool? Send me your YouTubes and Vimeos. [Petapixel via Petapixel]


Douglas Trumbull (of Blade Runner fame) did something he called slit scan photography for the film 2001 in 1968ish. It was in the scene where we see the close up of the main character staring forward, the footage is what he is looking at. The magazine American Cinematography did an exhaustive article about it some time in the 70s. I read that story 10 times and never understood it.

This digital thing look much different from a film version. I guess digital is different, show how.