Hitchcock Chromatography

Here’s 36,000 frames from all of the black & white Hitchcock films…

Burst of Hitchcock

The position of each frame on the circle is determined by two variables:

1) position in the film — frames from the start and end are near the top (12 o’clock) and the frames from halfway through are at the bottom (6 o’clock), etc.

2) the position on the axis — calculated from the average brightness of each frame, with darker frames near the centre, and brighter frames further out.

I’ve also done the same for individual films. I’m not sure if it’s possible to guess the film, but it’s interesting to see the differences between them all. They remind me of ink blots and paper chromatography experiments in science lessons :-)

Saboteur (1942) Champagne (1928) Notorious (1946) Stage Fright (1950) The Ring (1927) Murder! (1930) Downhill (1927) The Farmers Wife (1928) The Skin Game (1931) Suspicion (1941) Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Number Seventeen (1932) The Paradine Case (1947) I Confess (1953) Easy Virtue (1928) Strangers on a Train (1951) Foreign Correspondent (1940) Rich and Strange (1931) Secret Agent (1936) Waltzes from Vienna (1934) Mr and Mrs Smith (1941) Jamaica Inn (1939) Spellbound (1945) The Pleasure Garden (1925) The Manxman (1929) Lifeboat (1944) The Wrong Man (1956) Sabotage (1936) Juno and the Paycock (1930) The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Rebecca (1940) Young and Innocent (1937) The Lady Vanishes (1938) Blackmail (1929) Psycho (1960) The 39 Steps (1935)

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8 Responses

  1. luke kurtis says:

    I love these. What software do you use to generate them? I’d love to play around with it.

  2. Dave Pattern says:

    Hi Luke

    I used Perl and ImageMagick. For each frame, I resized it to 1×1 pixel to get the average brightness. I’m going to have a stab at doing something with the colour films this week.

  3. Daniel says:

    Very cool! I’d like to see these in color too.

  4. Robin Guise says:

    Hi Dave, really like the work you’ve done here – beautiful Is it possible to get the b/w image as a poster? I’m doing a Hitchcock Porject this year myself – http://thehitchcockproject.wordpress.com/ any thoughts welcome. Shall I put a link to your site on my blog? Kind regards, Robin Guise

  1. March 18, 2009

    Cromatografía de Hitchcock [ING]…

    Impresinante mosaico (7.200 x 7.200 pixels) compuesto por 36.000 imágenes de todas las películas en blanco y negro del director de cine Alfred Hitchcok, dispuestas en forma de círculo, y atendiendo a dos variables: la posición en la película y la …

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    [...] manier (gebaseerd op het moment in de film en de donkerte van de still). Het resultaat -  Hitchcock Chromatography – zijn fascinerende abstracte werkjes, helemaal als alle 36 films bij elkaar gevoegd worden. [...]

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