The Visual Poetry of Corrupt Video

In this five-minute video, we see portions of a Mad Men episode (episode 408, "The Summer Man") as it appears when incompletely downloaded via BitTorrent. The video is extraordinarily corrupt, showing strange artifacts like missing blocks of the picture, "melting" video, repeated actions, and other such glitches. Taken together, and with a surprisingly nice soundtrack, this actually does feel like art, though it's a sort of found art -- the found art of online video piracy and computer algorithms for storing and playing back video. I was surprised by how emotionally powerful this clip was, despite it being basically a series of visual artifacts from a broken video file. Of course, that's probably because I'm familiar with the series, and I remember this episode (it's -- very mild spoiler alert -- the one where Don starts keeping a journal and tries to become a bit healthier by swimming at the New York Athletic Club). There is something truly poetic about seeing the show like this: it's what might happen if a painter were to deconstruct each scene, focusing only on the areas of movement, and then animate the result.

My favorite part starts around 2:25, as Don takes a drink, the camera pushes in on him, then a shot of Betty morphs into a repeating clip of Bethany talking, as the screen around the women melts into riotous colors. To me, that's a visual metaphor for the most important emotional content of this episode. The action is most apparent when you watch the video fullscreen.

MADMEN Bittorrent Edition from Stunned on Vimeo.

Also very interesting (particularly for geeks) is a technical explanation of what's going on here. I'll summarize: BitTorrent breaks up the file into tiny chunks, which is why the scenes are incomplete (plus the person who put this together did edit together the scenes that were at least downloaded enough to play back, but didn't add any "effects"); the video encoder breaks up each image into blocks, which is why we see missing blocks, "melting" blocks, and so on; and in the absence of a complete data file, the video playback engine does the best it can, which accounts for the odd repetition, fast/slow motion, and other strange kinds of video effects.

The song used is "The Grass Harp" by Silje Nes (aka "The Glass Harp" on iTunes) from the album "Opticks," which is definitely worth a look.

(Via Waxy.)

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Shout! Factory
Original GLOW Wrestling Series Hits Twitch
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

When it premiered in June 2017, GLOW was a bit of a sleeper offering for Netflix. With the amount of original programming ordered by the streaming service, a show based on an obscure women’s pro wrestling league from the 1980s seemed destined to get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, the series was a critical and commercial success. Ahead of its second season, which drops on June 29, you'll have a chance to see the mat work of the original women who inspired it.

Shout! Factory has announced they will be live-streaming clips from the first four seasons of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which first premiered in 1986, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on June 28. The stream, which will be available on shoutfactorytv.com and Twitch, will feature original footage framed by new interviews with personalities including Godiva, host Johnny C, and Hollywood. The show will air live from the Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles.

Godiva, who was portrayed by Dawn Maestas, inspired the character Rhonda (a.k.a. Brittanica) on the Netflix series; Hollywood was the alter ego of Jeanne Basone, who inspired the character Cherry in the fictionalized version of the league. Basone later posed for Playboy and takes bookings for one-on-one wrestling matches with fans.

Shout! Factory's site also features a full-length compilation of footage, Brawlin’ Beauties: GLOW, hosted by onetime WWE interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Universal Studios
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Here’s some news you won’t be cheering about: Bring It On is leaving Netflix on July 1st—as are the four of its sequels that are currently part of the company’s streaming library (FYI: there are a total of six Bring It On films altogether—yes, six). The Lethal Weapon franchise will bid farewell, too, as will a handful of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To make way for July’s slate of new titles, here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in July.

JULY 1

Alive

Along Came Polly

An Honest Liar

Beerfest

Before Midnight

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight to the Finish

Bring It On: In It to Win It

Cocktail

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 4

Little Women

Michael Clayton

Midnight in Paris

Mixed Signals

More Than a Game

Pandemic

Piglet’s Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild

Scary Movie

Scream 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Art of War

Tropic Thunder

V for Vendetta

JULY 2

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

JULY 8

Alpha & Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Real Husbands of Hollywood: Seasons 1-5

JULY 9

Ratchet and Clank

Serena

JULY 11

Alice Through the Looking Glass

JULY 14

Wild Hogs

JULY 15

Convergence

Lockup: State Prisons: Collection 1

Small Is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary

JULY 16

Changeling

Wanted

JULY 29

The Den

JULY 30

A Cinderella Story

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Swing State 

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios