Datamoshing using Avidemux 2.7.0

Ever since I came across datamoshing in around 2010 via Bob Weisz‘s infamous datamoshing tutorials I have only successfully created a few datamoshed videos “by hand”.

Most times the video I created would be completely broken and not in a good way! And so since them I have used semi-automated datamosh scripts for my needs, like Autodatamosh from grampajoe.

Recently as part of my lecturing role at Staffordshire University I was asked to do a workshop on datamoshing. “This will be easy” I thought as I would just dig up Weisz’s tutorials and teach that. Sure, I couldn’t datamosh back in 2010, but since then I have become way more competent in creating glitch art, learning how software works and programming in general, so learning this widely practiced process didn’t seem impossible.

Of course I was wrong.

Y’see, in the 8 years since I came across datamoshng there have been a lot of changes. Specifically, Avidemux 2.5.4, which was released in 2010 and is the version referenced in Weisz’s tutorial, has been superseded many times and is currently at version 2.7.0. From reading different community pages it was my understanding that the changes in this new version (apparently) “fixed” or “corrected” features that allowed it to be (mis)used to make datamoshed videos. For the unaware, Avidemux is free and open source software that can be used for editing video files. It’s not an NLE, but if you need to make a quick edit to a video it can be useful. It’s also the gold standard for datamoshing.

As a workaround various people have suggested ways to use the 2.5.4 version of Avidemux, even to go as far as running an old OS on a virtual machine or not updating ever. Whilst this might work for now it’s not a recommended or sustainable. In time your OS will outgrow the software which will make it or impossible to install, and old software can introduce security bugs (yes, even buggy video editors can compromise your system). So I set about trying to provide a fix and datamosh a video using Avidemux 2.7.0. Below are my results.

After downloading Avidemux 2.7.0 you will need to do convert your video to the right format for datamoshing. Grab your input video and drag it into Avidemux. For my example I’m using this clip of a person getting hit with a balloon in slow motion.

Under the Video Output change Copy to Mpeg 4 AVC (x264). Click on Configure. In this window click on the on the Frames tab and under B-frames change “Maximum Consecutive B-frames to 0”, and under I-frames change GOP- Size Minimum to 0 and Maximum to 999.

Press OK when done.

In the main window leave Audio Output as Copy and Output Format as Mkv Muxer. With the settings now specified, go to File > Save and give your reencoded file a new name (file_reencoded.mkv).

We now need to open this new file to actually datamosh it! Go to File > Close and then File > Open and select your reencoded video. If you’ve ever followed Weisz’s tutorial, especially the 2nd and 3rd part (or the many copies that have since been made) you’ll already know the process of datamoshing. You can do exactly the same at this point, but for completeness in this tutorial I will go through how to manipulate P-Frames to make the “bloom” style of datamoshing. One of my favourite videos showing this style is Monster Movie by Takeshi Murata.

Using the playhead on the Navigation toolbar, or Left and Right on your keyboard, seek to a part in the video that you want to datamosh that is also a P-Frame. I recommend finding a part of the video that has lots of movement immediately before or after that point. You can tell that you have a P-Frame as the Frame type marker in the Navigation toolbar will tell you. Once there you need to select a P-Frame and copy/paste it over and over again. To do this press the Start Marker button (a red “A” button) (or press Ctrl + PgUP). Then move one frame forward and set press the End Marker button (a white “B” button) (or press Ctrl + PgDn). With the P-Frame highlighted copy it (Ctrl + C) and then paste it (Ctrl + V). And then paste it again. And again. Many times.

The more that you paste the P-Frame the more movement you will get in the bloom effect. Now, be careful and patient when pasting your P-Frames. There is a temptation to paste it hundreds of times but this will definitely slow down Avidemux whilst it catches up. You may also crash it but I haven’t had this happen yet. Perhaps 2.7.0 is a bit more stable than previous versions!

With your P-Frame(s) now repeated set the Start and End markers to be the whole video instead of just the P-Frames you originally selected. When you do this the blue highlight box might not cover the whole area of the timeline. It’s a UI error but it didn’t negatively affect anything. Leave all the Video and Audio options as they are (set to Copy) and then save your video (File > Save). You will get a warning about cut points not being keyframes.

Ignore this and press Yes. Open the finished file in VLC (other players might not like the video).

Voila!

As many others before me have suggested, you may want to resave, or “bake” your glitched file so that your datamoshed file, which is technically a “broken” file, will play well with other video editors and viewers.

As with all things concerning glitch art when you make it you’re doing something unconventional to a file in order to corrupt it in such a way that is aesthetically pleasing. As such, sometimes things just don’t work. Perhaps your video didn’t bloom as much, or maybe removing I-Frames made the file corrupt. I’ve tested this process on Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 10 and Mac OSX and whilst I feel confident that the process will work, the results will be unpredictable. If your result doesn’t turn out as you expect on a particular file then try a different file! Maybe try copy/pasting three P-Frames at a time, or remove some I-Frames. Experiment!

My thanks go to Bob Weisz for originally writing the tutorial and to the community over at the Avidemux forums for clarifying a few things with the new version of the software.

Curating the Machine

Since May 2017, alongside everything else, I been undertaking a fellowship with Near Now in Nottingham. The Fellowship, now in its third iteration, is for anyone interested in developing a project that uses technology in a creative way.

For my fellowship I have been conducting research into the relationship been copyright, curating and automation. There are no concrete outputs yet but do take a look at the blog, Curating the Machine, which collates all of my research to date.

If any of this sparks an interest or it you want to know more please do get in touch! I’ll also be at Transmediale on a research trip (thx Near Now) at the end of January if you want to meet IRL 😺

Granular: The Material Properties of Noise, 16th January – 3rd February

From 16th January – 3rd February my 2016 piece Transformative Use will be on show at University of Greenwich as part of Granular: The Material Properties of Noise.

Granular noise is explored as a condition of material transfer in this exhibition. A central concern across the works on display is the material state change that occurs within the processes of mediation. Here, disintegration and/or reintegration of elements at a granular level is encountered as a mode of transference between states, whether physical or digital, and as a phase at which a thing starts or ceases to be.

Exhibiting artists include: Jim Hobbs, Benjamin McDonnell, Antonio Roberts, David Ryan, Audrey Samson and Rob Smith.

The exhibition features my work Transformative Use, which was originally commissioned by Hannah Pierce for the Common Property exhibition in 2016. It’s the first time it’s been exhibited since then. If you want to see some work-in-progress installation shots check out my all new arty Instagram account.

Alongside the exhibition is the Granular Colloquium, taking place on 27th January:

Utilising a range of formats from audio-visual performance to talks, this event is an experiential investigation of noise as a granular entity. State changes are a central theme. Processes of disintegration and/or reintegration of material elements at a granular level are explored, both as the mode of transference between states (whether physical or digital) and the means by which a thing starts or ceases to be.

I’ll be at that, talking a bit about glitch and its relation to copyright, as well as regular ol’ copyright. Tickets are £10.

If you didn’t get the chance to see Transformative Use in 2016 now is a great time to see a new and updated configuration of it.

Basquiat’s Brain, 12th – 28th January 2018

From 12th – 28th January a series of animated portraits, developed in response to the Boom for Real Basquiat exhibition, will be on display at Barbican.

Barbican young creatives, along with artist and curator Antonio Roberts, present a collection of work in response to Basquiat: Boom for Real

Artist and curator Antonio Roberts worked with a group of Barbican young creatives over three months to create artwork in response to the exhibition Basquiat: Boom for Real currently showing in the Barbican Art Gallery.

Over the course of four sessions the group examined artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s explosive creativity and imagined the techniques and methods he might use if he was still creating art today.

The resulting animations combine more traditional methods of creation such as photography and collage, with more experimental practices such as glitch art, digital collages, animated gifs and projections. Each animated selfportrait reflects the identity of the artist who created it.

Artists:

  • Max Baraitser Smith
  • Isabella Barbaro
  • Alex Cole
  • Hector Dyer
  • Antonio Roberts

The animations will be projected near the exit of the curve exhibition space where people are often studying. It’s hard to miss as it has my big face on it.

Many thanks to the Barbican Creative Learning team for inviting me to do this 🙂

<2018>

</2017>

After a two year hiatus I’ve decided to bring back the end of year blog posts. As you will have noticed this blog isn’t updated that much aside from event notifications, and as I’m not on Facebook any more it can be a bit difficult to follow what I’m up to (psst look at my Events page).

January

January as always is a bit quiet. For us freelancers it’s a chance to catch up on the millions of e-mails we didn’t do over the year and hassle people to pay invoices, and to do all of our taxes (yay!).

February

Short Circuit Terminal 2 launched with a show in Venice. This second iteration of the work showcased the more complete web interface of the piece.

Short Circuit - Terminal 2

Exposed

Also there was my first Algorave performance of the year over at Rough Trade in Nottingham.

Algorave Nottingham

March

I provided visuals for Steve Davis (yes, the snooker player) at Hare and Hounds (thanks Capsule). The night was just generally full of joy 🙂

Steve Davis at Hare & Hounds

After doing a workshop in ImageMagick at BOM I jetted off to Montreal, Canada to talk to lots of Canadians about digital art and Copyright for the Arts in a Digital World Summit. It was a pleasure to have been invited and help reflect on digital communities. I also got to meet the awesome Carrie Gates for the first time IRL!

The Arts in a Digital World Summit

I did a small writeup of my experience for the New Art West Midlands website.

April

My biggest curated exhibition to date launched in April. No Copyright Infringement Intended opened its doors at Phoenix in Leicester. The exhibition featured 10 artists whose work tackled copyright in a variety of ways. I’m of course very thankful to Phoenix and Arts Council England for their support (and to Kerry Leslie for her awesome graphic design for the exhibition).

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

Elsewhere, in my Curating role at Vivid Projects we, in collaboration with Flatpack Film Festival, presented the first UK screening of all four episodes of Ways of Something.

Hybrid Landscapes launched at Digital Catapult in London and featured a video of Unauthorised Copy.

Later that month I welcomed various artists from the No Copyright Infringement Intended exhibition to a panel discussion called Copyright as Frame and Prison.

May

Short Circuit Terminal 3 – the final one – launched in Venice and showcased the most completely versions of both Unauthorised Copy and Exposed.

Short Circuit - Terminal 3

I then made my way up to Newcastle for the Chemical Algorave, which was my first time experimenting with Pure Data and OBS for live coding visuals.

Chemical Algorave

Chemical Algorave

Why this is notable is because prior to this I wasn’t able to overlay my patch onto my visuals. So, whilst I was live coding no one could tell! Using OBS I was able to do this and much more (for example try using the LUT effect).

June

Aside from curating work at Vivid Projects June was relatively quiet and focused on Algoraves. For the first I curated and performed at an Algorave for Supersonic Festival, which featured Miri Kat, BITLIP and Heavy Bleeding, which is/was the collaboration between Blood Sport and Heavy Lifting.

Algorave Supersonic Festival

Algorave Supersonic Festival

I then made my way over to Kortrijk to provide visuals for Yaxu at an Algorave for the BUMP design festival.

July

I continued my Summer of festival Algoraves with a performance at Bluedot Festival at Jodrel Bank. We couldn’t quite compete with Orbital but we drew good crowd 🙂

Back in May I started a Fellowship at Near Now in Nottingham. My project, Curating the Machine, aimed to investigate the relationship between automation (AI) and curating. In July myself and the other Fellows did our first public presentation about our respective research projects.

You can read more about my research here: https://curatingthemachine.wordpress.com/

August

My main task of this month was to embarked on one of my most ambitious projects/artworks to date at Green Man Festival. My work, Mirrored, aimed to replicate the experience of live visuals but in a fixed form.

Mirrored

Mirrored

Many thanks to Green Man for supporting this art work. It was tough at times but I enjoyed it 🙂

If doing that project wasn’t enough I also performed at Green Man’s first Algorave in Einstein’s Garden.

Algorave Green Man

At the end of the month I published my five days of Pure Data series of blog posts and tutorials, something which I had been meaning to write and publish for many years!

September

Barely a fortnight after being in a field for a week I was back on curating duties for the second iteration of No Copyright Infringement Intended at Vivid Projects.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

This time the exhibition was only three weeks long but it still had the same amount of activities as the exhibition at Phoenix in April. In fact I somehow managed to add in a meme-making workshop and a presentation from Gretchen Andrew!

Other activities in this busy month included a commission for Spon Spun’s Art Trail and a performance with Michael Lightborne at the Coventry Biennale.

With the Support of my Near Now Fellowship I did a presentation about No Copyright Infringement Intended at CopyCamp in Warsaw, Poland.

People like myself, Nick Briz, Ariele Elia, and Mitch Altman provided takes on the state of copyright from the perspective of creators and artists, which was a great complement to the insightful presentations from copyright lawyers and professionals.

To round off the month Exposed and Unauthorised Copy were exhibited at the V&A’s Digital Design Weekend.

Digital Design Weekend 2017

October

This October was a bit quiet due to teaching again at University of Westminster and starting occasional teaching at Staffordshire University.

I also started a series of regular workshops at the Barbican in response to the Boom for Real Basquiat exhibition. This kicked off with a bit of live digital and collage art with Maria Midttun for their Too Young For What event.

Too Young For What?

Too Young For What?

Towards the end of the month I was back at Parsons Paris to give another talk about my work but this time focusing on No Copyright Infringement Intended and remix culture in general.

November

The biggest event of November was a performance at Algomech in Sheffield. I had previously provided visuals at their closing party in 2016 but this year I was on visuals duty at their main Algorave. The Guardian even did a feature on it for their series on underground music.

You can see your favourite visuals live coder throwing some shapes at 0:27 😉

December

I actually had no events in December!

As you can probably tell, this post wasn’t originally written in 2017, or even in early 2018 as I had planned. Instead it got pushed further and further back until now, December 2018. With the deletion of many social media accounts I eventually want to return to writing more on this website and elsewhere. Oh, and make art 😉

CopyCamp 2017 video

The video of my presentation, No Copyright Infringement Intended, from CopyCamp has now been uploaded.

The presentation is largely about the No Copyright Infringement Intended exhibition along with some thoughts about how we can help artists better understand the complex area of copyright.

Photo by Rafał Nowak

Photo by Rafał Nowak

It of course featured sharks 😉 I posted a more detailed writeup of my experience for my Near Now fellowship blog, Curating the Machine.

Copyright as Frame and Prison video

The video from the Copyright as Frame and Prison panel discussion is now online. Many thanks to Michael Clifford for filming it.

Copyright as Frame and Prison

Copyright as Frame and Prison

Copyright as Frame and Prison

It was a very lively discussion, touching on many of the issues from the previous talk in Leicester but also had more viewpoints from within the creative industries. Many thanks to Lisa Beauchamp, Nikolai Nelles, and Francis Clarke for taking part and everyone for attending and having such great questions. If you missed the Leicester talk the video can be seen below.

End of No Copyright Infringement Intended

After a total of 68 days across two venues No Copyright Infringement Intended ended on 23rd September.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

No Copyright Infringement Intended

It’s been quite a learning experience and I’ve enjoyed pretty much every step of it! It’s been my biggest exhibition to date and I think it was a great success. I’m having a bit of a rest period so that I can go and teach at University of Westminster and Staffordshire University but I’m already planning thing for 2018.

Thank as always to Nick Briz, Emilie Gervais, Nicolas Maigret, Christopher Meerdo, Jan Nikolai Nelles & Nora Al-Badri, Duncan Poulton, Fernando Sosa, Andrea Wallace & Ronan Deazley for taking part, and to Vivid Projects and Phoenix for being such great hosts. And, lastly, thanks to Arts Council England for supporting yet another one of my projects 🙂

Copyright as Frame and Prison, 14th September

Copyright as Frame as Prison, taking part as part of No Copyright Infringement Intended, will be a conversation around the disruptive power of technological innovation on ideas around copyright.

Featuring a panel including Nora Al-Badri, one of the artists behind The Other Nefertiti artwork, Lisa Beauchamp, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at Birmingham Museums Trust, and Francis Clarke, organiser of the Birmingham Open Rights Group. And me.

Using the works within the exhibition as a starting point, a panel featuring participating artists and experts in copyright will discuss how emerging technologies are shaping creative processes, how (perceptions of) copyright enable/inhibit those technologically-enabled creative processes, the appropriateness of appropriation and its effect on creative practices.

This event is free. Tickets can be reserved here and are limited to 30 places. Get yours before they all go!