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Alfred Hitchcock

Following on from the book covers arranged by hue/lightness, I’ve been playing around with the 1000 Frames of Hitchcock thumbnails.

Here’s the result of 15 minutes of coding and 2 hours of rendering using a single frame from the famous shower scene in Psycho…

psycho1b

To see the individual frames, you really need to view the full sized image (9526 x 5475 pixels).

The code works by sampling a pixel and then randomly selecting a frame that has a similar hue and lightness value. As before, a little bit of randomess (position, rotation and size) is thrown in to make it visually more interesting.

Wow… that was kinda surreal — I was catching up with the Google News RSS feed for Alfred Hitchcock (who was born on August 13th) and there was this headline from today’s Telegraph and an article that mentions me (well, mentions my nickname, anyway):

Did Alfred Hitchcock make a secret cameo appearance in drag?

Now, I’ll ‘fess up straight away — the answer is “no”, but the devil in me likes to say “maybe he did”. Anyway, you can find further details and the background to the story on the wiki.

I have to admit that it’s been fun to spread the rumour, especially when it really does look like Hitchcock, but I guess now might be the time to reveal who it really is… if you really, really, really do want to know, then click here.

Okay — I have a reference question that might just need the awesome combined power of the biblioblogosphere to answer!

A few minutes into the 1960 film “Psycho“, we get to see the following painting hung on the wall of George Lowery’s office…

psychopainting
(click to view larger version)

Firstly, is it a Picasso? If not, is it by a known artist? Can you put a name to the painting?

Other paintings in the film appear to have been chosen for their symbolism, so perhaps this one was too.

If you can answer any of the those questions, please put Joel or myself out of our misery!!!

:-D

One of the sections in Brendan Dawes’ book is about generating images from music.

Whilst messing about with the “North by Northwest” images (see previous blog post), I began to wonder if you could create music from images?

Anyway, here’s the first 90 seconds of my replacement soundtrack for “North by Northwest” :-)

It was created by grabbing a frame from the movie every half a second and working out the average colour of the frame. That colour is then split into its red, green and blue (RGB) components, and their values are used to generate a guitar tablature file which is pumped into the MIDI::Tab Perl module. The first chunk of the tab looks like this…

    D6: --1-5---3-4-4-4-4---4-4---3-4---3-3-3-
    A3: 0---1-2-3-4-4-----4-----4-----4-----4-
    E2: 0-----0-1---1-----1-----1-----1-----1-

Going for a 3/4 timing seemed to give the most pleasing output. That seemed appropriate, as Hitchcock often used waltzes in his films :-)

I wasn’t too sure just how it would sound, but it’s actually not too bad!

When I started this blog in 2005, it was primarily to support the Hitchcock site, which started up in 2003. The title of the blog (“Self-plagiarism is style”) being a quote from Hitchcock.

Two years on, the most popular posts seem to be those about libraries so I’ve decided to fork the blog — this one will continue to be library and personal posts, and a new blog will concentrate on the Hitchcock stuff: “It’s Only a Movie…”

Every now and then I post something to one of the Hitchcock groups on Yahoo about an interesting anniversary or birthday (e.g. yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Ingrid Bergman‘s death) …basically an excuse to raise a glass of something alcoholic and/or watch a Hitchcock film ;-)

I’ve also been trying to keep track of Hitchcock collaborators who are still alive. As you can imagine, the list dwindles year by year, but 2007 has (touch wood) been fairly quiet.

Anyway, I did threaten to do something with the data one day, and here it is…

Number of births and deaths per year

borndied

The red profile is lower partly because sites such as IMDB don’t always know when someone has died (or if they are still alive). Some people might start in the movies, only to move on to another career and their death might not be widely reported in the press.

There are some interesting trends in the birth year (e.g. rises and falls over a 6 year cycle and occasional spikes).

Number of births and deaths per month

month

March and August are the most popular birth months, and (perhaps not surprisingly) December and January see the highest number of deaths.

Here’s the same data stretched to 100%…

month100

Number of births per year (surviving collaborators)

stillalive

The most common year of birth for surviving collaborators is 1936. The only film actor who was born in that year was Bruce Dern — all the rest were actors in the TV series.

The oldest surviving collaborator is the Art Director and Production Designer Robert F Boyle, and the youngest is actor Bill Mumy who went on to play the role of Lennier in “Babylon 5″.

The oldest actress is Frances Reid and the oldest actors include Kevin McCarthy and Norman Lloyd.

Notes

The data is based on anyone who has a biographical entry on the Hitchcock Wiki (which certainly isn’t everybody). This includes actors and cast/crew for films and television programs, as well as some of the people who’ve appeared in Hitchcock DVD documentaries.

For the “still alive” list, sometimes I’ve made a best guess — this is usually based on whether or not the IMDB shows them as still being active in film or television in the last couple of years, or if the site lists their current whereabouts.

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