Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Slit Photography

While I was researching something else I came across the topic of slit photography. This is where a set of stills of a moving object are reprocessed into one photo with a one pixel wide row or column being taken from each of the originals. Or a moving object is photographed live but with one pixel wide rows or columns being processed at set time intervals until the whole frame has been covered.

Some examples can be found at Slit-Cam, The Time Machine and Discover Digital Photography.

Some of the sample results I saw got me to investigate further hoping to find a free program for the PC which would produce similar results. Ages searching and reading brought up two but I couldn't get on with either. The first was very simple to use but didn't seem to be ale to make a full size photo, only producing a small section. The other used java scripts which needed modifying every time the photos used were changed.

Then I decided to look to see what free apps for the iPhone were available. Found two and a quick trial of each did produce results. Both are used live, that is while shooting a moving object. Those tried were 'Twist' and 'Slit-Cam' Not the sort of photo apps which can be used hand held so the iPhone was tripod mounted.

I set up a potted plant on my arduino driven stepper rotating platform and tried them out.

2013-11-06 14.06.40


2013-11-06 13.55.13 2013-11-06 13.43.45

2013-11-06 13.53.25

2013-11-06 14.01.57

I like some of the effects. 'Twist' gives several possible ways of streaking the photos but the resultant resolution is poor. OK on a phone but not much use any larger. Also it is heavily advert driven which can be a real pain. If there were a higher quality ad free paid for version then it would be worth experimenting further.

The free version of 'Slit-Cam' has ads but not so intrusive. There is a paid for ad free version with higher resolution.

'Twist' seems to have a fixed frame rate but 'Slit-Cam' can be adjusted from 1 frame per second to 30fps..


  1. ...interesting! I've never heard of that.

  2. Fascinating. And I went to the links too - what fun!

    1. Katherine. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I enjoy tinkering with different photo processing.

  3. Thanks for this John.
    Interesting results. I think recording an action in Photoshop should make creating this effect relatively pain free. Set the marquee tool to 1pixel create mask from selection. Offset 1 pixel and carry on through the images.

    1. Adrian. I did find a set of instructions on the net for doing this in Photoshop. Very long winded as hundreds of photos are needed for good results.

    2. I can see it taking a while has when one has finished recording the action it is then two clicks per image. then they all have to be loaded. I will have a go with a few. I will include Ctrl+E and multiply mode It should then be still a two click per image job.
      Should be and will be will probably turn out to be gobbledygook.

    3. Adrian. I though gobbledygook was the object of the exercise ;)

    4. John it is. The twist is interesting but I'm thinking more of a linear side to side compression. Like videoing a herd of cows walking past and making thin cows. Or thin trucks by filming traffic on a road. I see it has been done before years ago; used in Dr. Who and Space Odyssey 2001. I'll look at the clips. I ought to concentrate on 3D stuff as that holds more than enough challenges for my limited brain cells.
      I ought to have started this malarkey a lot longer ago when my brain was more receptive and I could remember what I'd learnt yesterday. I'm beginning to enjoy playing with both 3D and multiframe still images. I still hate editing video but do enjoy playing with 3D video. They have to be short as the physics bits have to be baked then each frame has to be rendered which can take days. I could do with a mainframe computer but am seriously thinking of switching to Linnux. That would provide a bit of breathing space. Physical space as well. I work from two laptops so do struggle to work out where files are.
      I thank you for inspiring more lunacy.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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