Slitscan (photography/moving image)

13 11 2008

Image by Andrew Davidhazy

Slitscan is a photographic technique which creates interesting results by stretching movement over time.

This is done by masking off the lens so that only a very thin strip of light enters. Instead of taking a standard photo, the film is wound through the camera, so that the end result is a long strip which changes over time. In the example above the person slowly rotated and thus showed all angles of their head. An easy way to understand it is to think of a photocopier or computer scanner. A bar of light scans or copies the image over a few seconds to create a full image of what is under the lid. If you put your hand under the lid instead of a piece of paper, and move it about as the scan is made, then you get a strange stretched out hand.

It was reportedly first adapted for moving film use by Douglas Trumball for the superb ‘stargate’ special effects in the film 2001. various footage was processed to create the bizarre ‘trip’ sequence, including aerial shots flying over landscapes.

Slitscan was also used by Zbig Rybczynski in his 1988 film The fourth Dimension. Can’t find a copy of it on youtube, but come to one of my sessions and I’ll show it to you. 



It remains a technique that is widely used in experimental circles and lots of people have fun playing with it. For more info please click on the links below. – a great collection of slitscans – plug in a webcam and see – casey’s example – great looking resource.;action=display;num=1213382538 – processing slitscan code




One response

20 11 2008

Great thanks for sharing this one…

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