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Don Relyea 
Home | Art Projects | Slit Scan Photography

10 minutes of sunrise is a single image of the sun rising. It is generated using a digital slit scan process that allows for the sun to appear in two places in the same picture. The process is used as a metaphor mimicking how information is compressed and distorted in our society.

This work is 10 minutes of HD video compressed into a single print image. A digital slit scan process is employed to sample a column of pixels from each frame of video and compose a single image, compressing 10 minutes of beautiful sunrise into one very easily digestible image.

With 10 Minutes of Sunrise, the single pixel column scan begins at the right of the video frame and moves left across the sun until it reaches the left of the video frame approximately 5 minutes into the video. After the scan reaches the left of the screen it changes direction again until it passes across the sun a second time. The resulting image is beautiful, but it is a distortion of reality.

We assemble the big picture of the world around us in our minds in a similar manner to the slit scan process of assembling images. Society has trained us to accept spoonfuls of information to paint our own pictures of reality. The news comes in small bytes. We read the cliff notes. We watch full-length feature movies on our ipods that were never intended to be viewed so small; the resulting experience is an aberration of the artist's original intent. Indeed it is an aberration of reality. We need to ask ourselves whether or not the resulting picture we paint of our realities and the world around us from these compressed bytes of information is accurate.

Other Slit scan panoramas

sliscan sunset

cloud slit scan

More on the Process

My slit scan photography project is done using a digital process in Adobe Director. The program maintains a horizontal pointer location and then extracts a column of pixels from each frame of video at the specified pointer location. It then assembles the slices into 4095x1080 pixel tiles and exports them for assembly in photoshop.

The trick to getting a good image is timing the speed of the moving image and the speed of the pointer in director so that you do not end up with streaks of horizontal lines, which can be cool too, just not the desired effect I was looking for with this series of images.

two planes

With the above image ( "two planes" you will have to look at the full size image to see the planes) you can see what happens when the image is moving very fast. There is a weird effect of the background being more streaked than the the foreground. Also the camera auto adjusted for light balance in the middle of the shot, whoops.