Pummelvision sublime

I love this idea – a video of photos that run in rapid succession one after the other. You choose the photos and use Pummelvision to automatically make the video.

"Pummelvision flashes your life before your eyes using photos from Facebook, Flickr, or Tumblr," proclaims the website description and Twitter bio. Indeed it does. What you get is an audio-visual treat as the images rapidly run in a seamless and almost subliminal fashion as some images catch your eye for a brief second depending on what the images are.

You can get an idea of this from the example Pummelvision video I created, embedded above (or at YouTube if you don’t see the embed and where you can view the gorgeous HD version). Turn up the volume and watch it full screen!

The example video Pummelvision created used the most recent 2,000 public photos I’ve posted to Flickr. I could have chosen a specific photo set but the choice Pummelvision presented was perfect for what I wanted to do. These 2,000 photos go back to late 2008 and offer a good sense of the things that interest me or I get involved in and that I capture in photography. So you’ll see hardware and software being tested, travels as far afield as California and as close as Wokingham, snow and shine, events I’ve taken part in, some of the people I’ve connected with, my cat, and a whole lot more.

I can see great use for this idea from a business point of view, too, where, for example, you could tell a story in a new and interesting way for a product or service, an event, anything you can think of that would suit the medium and treatment. It can complement another very neat video-from-photos service: Animoto. Unlike Pummelvision, that one gives you significant control over the creative and production process and lets you select music too, among many features.

The man behind Pummelvision is entrepreneur Jake Lodwick, co-founder of Vimeo and CollegeHumor.com. I heard about it first via Benjamin Ellis who has crafted a well-documented story of his 2010 in 2,500 photos.

Pummelvision is currently free so why not give it a go.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Anne McCrossan

    Neville, what’s the difference between doing this and (say) making a movie in Keynote and then speeding it up with iMovie or Final Cut Express etc?

    To be honest I can’t see the big breakthrough, although I know a lot of people are raving about Pummelvision. My point is there seems to be an ever increasing reliance on apps that actually end up having the effect of short-circuiting the ingenuity of individuals, and that to me is a cause for some concern.

    Doug Rushkoff’s latest book, ‘Program or be Programmed’ is all about this. The arrival, and hype, about something like Pummelvision only makes me think the time has come to decide which side of the fence we’re on.

  2. neville

    Thanks for your comment, Anne. Re the other services you mention, I don’t know what the differences are. No doubt there are some. Maybe it comes down to which service or tool you prefer or like to use.

    I use Animoto a lot, for instance. Would I move now to Pummelvision? No because they’re not the same. That’s the point to me – all of these automatic-video services will appeal to people for different reasons.

    I don’t see Pummelvision and others as you do, ie, short-circuiting ingenuity. I see them more as opening up opportunities for expression where a computer program or algorithm does the heavy lifting, as it were.

    Surely a good thing?

  3. Anne McCrossan

    Hi Neville, thanks for responding and I agree with you – ‘opportunities for expression where a computer program or algorithm does the heavy-lifting’, absolutely; that’s a good thing.

    The counterpoint to it is this is also the time for a great artisanship beyond bland output. The paradox is that technology enables it, and is something also to bear in mind…sometimes the emphasis on technology obscures more than enhances it I think.

    • neville

      Understood. But I always think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as it were. If someone uses a tool like Pummelvsion (or Animoto, or YouTube, or any other) to express themselves that they otherwise would not have done if such tools weren’t available, then I’d be very pleased to see them thus enabled.

      And if I think their output is bland, well, I just move along :)

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