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:: Nozenphoion xdrum synth
:: Sound and video on paper
:: WAV instrument loopinfo
:: Synthbox rack computer
:: Mauritz Escher chord progressions
:: Poor-man's kaossilator
:: Maths and music summer school
:: Toshiba tape machine mod
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:: ZX Beeper
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:: JACK, PD, Ableton Live tutorial

Sound and video on paper

Distortion and degradation of audio and video through printing/scanning on paper

screenshot of video frames ready for printing

Video on paper

I wondered how digital audio and video would be distorted and degraded if each frame were printed on paper and scanned.

I wondered if it would look like film....

It does! It looks like really gritty and grainy film! The texture of the paper and of the ink really comes through, swirling and boiling along with the images which flicker and judder in the frame.

photo of variable area optical audio

Sound on paper

I also wondered if I could recreate the "variable area" style of waveform storage used in optical film soundtracks.

It sounds really interesting - the character to the sound is something special and unusual - scratchy, hissy, and wobbling - mmmm my favourite!

Side-by-side original source and printed/scanned video

You can download an [example video clip in flv format] or [example video clip in mpeg format].
Note that this video is silent.

Before-then-after original source and printed/scanned audio

Here is an [example audio clip in mp3 format].
You can also download the [waveform image] and [the scan that produced this sound].

Software for download:

I've written some software to let me experiment with this approach; producing strips of video and audio for printing, and simplifying the process of scanning and re-assembling the information back into playable video and audio files.

The software is not stand alone, it requires several other bits of supporting software to achieve the end goal. Details are lower down this page.

[printScanVid.zip] - video distortion and degredation by printing on paper
[opticalAudio.zip] - audio variable area printing (and scanning)

All of this required extra software is open-source and easily available.

  • Software and versions required for "printScanTools":
    • avconv 9.13-6:9.13-0
    • sane-utils 1.0.23-3 (scanimage)
    • imagemagick 6.7.7-10
    • bash 4.3.11(1)
  • Software and versions required for "opticalAudio":
    • python 2.7.6
    • sox 14.4.1
    • python image library 1.1.7
    • imagemagick 6.7.7-10
    • bash 4.3.11(1)
    • avconv 9.13-6:9.13-0

(c)2014 zenpho@zenpho.co.uk - Phill Phelps