Hitchcock Chromatography

Here’s 36,000 frames from all of the black & white Hitchcock films…

Burst of Hitchcock

The position of each frame on the circle is determined by two variables:

1) position in the film — frames from the start and end are near the top (12 o’clock) and the frames from halfway through are at the bottom (6 o’clock), etc.

2) the position on the axis — calculated from the average brightness of each frame, with darker frames near the centre, and brighter frames further out.

I’ve also done the same for individual films. I’m not sure if it’s possible to guess the film, but it’s interesting to see the differences between them all. They remind me of ink blots and paper chromatography experiments in science lessons :-)

Saboteur (1942) Champagne (1928) Notorious (1946) Stage Fright (1950) The Ring (1927) Murder! (1930) Downhill (1927) The Farmers Wife (1928) The Skin Game (1931) Suspicion (1941) Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Number Seventeen (1932) The Paradine Case (1947) I Confess (1953) Easy Virtue (1928) Strangers on a Train (1951) Foreign Correspondent (1940) Rich and Strange (1931) Secret Agent (1936) Waltzes from Vienna (1934) Mr and Mrs Smith (1941) Jamaica Inn (1939) Spellbound (1945) The Pleasure Garden (1925) The Manxman (1929) Lifeboat (1944) The Wrong Man (1956) Sabotage (1936) Juno and the Paycock (1930) The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Rebecca (1940) Young and Innocent (1937) The Lady Vanishes (1938) Blackmail (1929) Psycho (1960) The 39 Steps (1935)

8 Responses to Hitchcock Chromatography

  1. I love these. What software do you use to generate them? I’d love to play around with it.

  2. Hi Luke

    I used Perl and ImageMagick. For each frame, I resized it to 1×1 pixel to get the average brightness. I’m going to have a stab at doing something with the colour films this week.

  3. Cromatografía de Hitchcock [ING]…

    Impresinante mosaico (7.200 x 7.200 pixels) compuesto por 36.000 imágenes de todas las películas en blanco y negro del director de cine Alfred Hitchcok, dispuestas en forma de círculo, y atendiendo a dos variables: la posición en la película y la …

  4. Very cool! I’d like to see these in color too.

  5. […] (via) Written by Kreidler in: Museum für moderne Kunst | […]

  6. […] manier (gebaseerd op het moment in de film en de donkerte van de still). Het resultaat –  Hitchcock Chromatography – zijn fascinerende abstracte werkjes, helemaal als alle 36 films bij elkaar gevoegd worden. […]

  7. Hi Dave, really like the work you’ve done here – beautiful Is it possible to get the b/w image as a poster? I’m doing a Hitchcock Porject this year myself – http://thehitchcockproject.wordpress.com/ any thoughts welcome. Shall I put a link to your site on my blog? Kind regards, Robin Guise

  8. […] (like an average season of 24), Hitch can have a lot of fun with themes of light and dark. In fact, this astounding website – part of the 1000 Frames of Hitchcock project – suggests Jamaica Inn may be the […]


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