Official music video for Sa'eed Ali's track Helios | Divine designed by Michael Betancourt

This movie follows the development of a revelatory experience from a 'parting of the veil' into the emergence of a new landscape where the 'distractions of physicality' are replaced by the 'numinous encounter' and beyond.

This synchronized combination of music and visuals denies editing to create a mood of suspension and continuous flow. It is the result of several distinct phases of planning and preparation so the visuals would synchronize after being distorted through a process of glitching that left only the parts of the image which were in motion visible. This altered source material became the foundation for the actual construction of the final piece and was subjected to complex compositing and additional transformations using a time displacement effect so the finished motion picture unfolds into four distinct sections that move between being recognizable and fully abstract.

I am very interested in finding ways to bridge the gap between accidental and intentional ways of working that emerge from using technical glitches as a primary production tool. Unlike my work which tends to be highly labor intensive, this movie was produced using highly automated processes, resulting in an all-over form resembling abstract painting put into motion.

Produced using Adobe After Effects, glitched (datamoshed and databent).
The image was initially produced by a complex grid of temporal delays that was then datamoshed, a technique that retains the motion of a digital video, but removes the high-resolution image to eliminate the blurring apparent inside these delays (different levels of detail produced by this matrix), effectively transforming the material into an abstract grid of uniform sharpness and detail. Databending was employed to create the visible glitches that were synchronized with appropriate glitch sounds in the music.

This piece required formal experimentation to produce the finished piece. The goal with this design was the generation of a visual field in motion that relates to the abstract paintings of Chuck Close and Gustav Klimt. Unlike my earlier works which were produced using a highly labor intensive process, this motion picture was producing using almost entirely automated procedures available in Adobe After Effects. Using these processes needed a series of tests and experiments with spatial montage, automatically produced using time displacement.

It builds on several years work with identifying the visual results from databending, so the use of this procedure that directly alters the data in the video file, can produce predictable results.

There are two levels of synchronization in the finished video. The first is a low level sync to individual notes, the other is to the four sections of the music. This second type of sync required several restarts of the whole process because the duration and timing of the material changes when it is datamoshed. These restarts caused a loss of several days work and required a 5 hour re-render of the initial file to be datamoshed. Since this design eliminated editing from the finished video, getting the timing of the sections right at the beginning required that the changes imposed by the datamoshing be accounted for in advance (this technique meant the datamoshed video was 25 seconds shorter than the original one).

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