Playing with Time

What does time look like?

This web site is about seeing time. From this site you can experiment with the Video Streamer, a tool for exploring time and motion in video.

Sometimes the edges of pictures are more interesting than their middles. The Video Streamer tips video on its side to look at its edges, revealing flowing images of time. The Streamer stretches time into gooey imagery that suggests alternatives to the usual timeline way of working with video.

By stacking frames on a time axis going into the screen, the Streamer creates a volume of imagery as it flows. Presenting video this way often reveals surprising patterns on the Streamer's surfaces. For example, camera motions and the pace of editing pop out visually. As video passes through the Streamer, an oozing stream of images flows from front to back in the Streamer block.
The Streamer holds a short chunk of video time for review and closer inspection. When paused, the Streamer behaves like a flip book, playing back its contents in a frame just below the Streamer block. The Streamer video plays automatically, but you can also flip through the video by mousing over the sides of the Streamer block.

The Streamer is not a complete toolset itself. But it might serve as a component of a larger system for working with video, whether for production or for viewing. Some potential uses people have suggested:

  • simplified video editing for when complex toolsets are overkill
  • analysis tool for film students studying editing
  • video capture - taking video quotes from media streams
  • video logging - user interface for marking up time-based media
  • interactive exhibit for exploring time and motion (see the exhibits page)

In some ways, the Streamer is more of a toy than a tool. Enjoy.