Next week 15 September in Chicago, I’ll be presenting a short paper at the Inaugural Communication & Media Studies Conference.
Media Archaeology of the Digital Moving Image: Motion Prediction or the Demise of the Frame
At the coding level, in a video codec such as H.264/AVC the otherwise basic unit of all moving images from film to video, the frame, is only an address where chunks of pixels coming from different moments in time are put together. This paper explores historically two mathematical theories from the 1940s that paved the way for the digital video compression formats during the 1990s. The first is the prediction theory by Norbert Wiener to improve anti-aircraft artillery during WWII. And the second are the crypto-analytic techniques formulated by Claude E. Shannon for the transmission of messages over noisy channels. Both theories resulted in algorithms to statistically predict missile paths and encrypt military communications. Today, they are the backbone of the video compression formats installed in discs, TV receivers, online streaming and video conferencing services, camcorders, and mobile phones. This media archaeology on the digital moving image argues that the consequence of turning each displayed picture into a rigid arrangement of pixels and its construction into the statistical prediction of the pixel’s values is dramatic. This historical analysis shows that prediction has generated an entirely new type of moving images in which the temporal coincidence of all image elements within the frame is unnecessary.
Inaugural Communication & Media Studies Conference.
University Center Chicago, Chicago, USA
15-16 September 2016
Here is the entire program.