Mimetrics is an exploration of the structure and techniques of visual narratives, with a current focus as to how these are applied in films. It aims to explore this in new and interesting ways. It uses open-source tools such as ffmpeg and mencoder to generate a stream of still images from a digital movie file, typically at a rate of 1 frame per second.  Along with the films, the freely available subtitle files of the film are loaded, providing a good indication of the visuals and dialogue of a film.

The timeline view

In the timeline view, the generated images from a film, are set in a grid in chronological order. only a small part is shown of each frame. The width of the frame is determined by the presence of dialogue in the particular frame. If there is dialogue, the frame is given a wider dimension, giving a visual prominence to the scenes which have dialogue. This view also give an indication of the rhythmic aspects of the film, as well as the spectacular (i.e. what is shown).

 

The Animation View

In the animation view, the generated images are displayed in an animation. In the first frame of the animation, the top-left slice is taken from the left of the first frame of the film. The second slice is taken from the second frame, but shifted to the right. etc. In the second frame of animation, all the frames are shifted one location. The top left slice is taken from the left-most part of the second frame of the film, and the second slice is taken from the third frame etc. The result of which is that we essentially see each shot as it is being built up over time.

The resulting animation gives us an insight in the rhythmic qualities of the montage. It provides an overview of the varying shot changes and the average shot length, in a way that is not immediately obvious in the timeline view.

The colorchart View

The colorchart view offers a display of the average colors used in each frame, placed in grid. This gives a good indication of the color palette used in the film. This indication can also be used to gain an insight into the narratce structure of the film, as each act will often have a palette of its own.

The dialogue frequency view

The dialogue frequency view displays a timeline of the film, with lighter and darker squares. A lighter square indicates that there is a piece of dialogue uttered at that moment in the film, with the lightness indicating the amount of dialogue. Equally, a dark square indicates a silent part of the film. Often this view will aso gie an insight into the narrative structure of the film, and can be interestig to use this view in combination with the colorchart, as both views create an equal surface area.