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16 April 2016

Media Species: Creating a Taxonomy of Different Types of Media Content

Full Size Image

View a full size image of the poster on Flickr.


Lev Manovich, Sergie Magdalin, Tara Zepel, Kedar Reddy, 2009


Media Species is a poster for SIGGRAPH Info-Aesthetics exhibition in 2009.

The project is comparing different types of media (1930's cartoons, song sequences from Bollywood films, contemporary motion graphics and U.S. TV political ads from 2008) using a variety of visualization techniques.

In this poster, we present our research in progress, which focuses on different “species” of moving images. The species chosen for the poster come from four particular classes: Betty Boop cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios (the 1930s), dance and song scenes from four Bollywood films from the 1980s – 2000s (two songs per film), motion graphics (2007-2009) from behance.net (an online network for creative professionals) and political TV ads for the 2008 US Republican and Democrat candidates. Given the size limitations of the poster, we have selected 8 samples from each class. Four types of visualizations have been applied to these media “species”:

  • Matrix of frames sampled at regular intervals.
  • Temporal slice through a clip. Each vertical line in a slice corresponds to a vertical line taken from the middle of a frame of the video.
  • Frame averages. Clips were sampled at regular intervals and the resulting frames were averaged.
  • Line graphs. X = frame number. Y = frame difference. To create Y values, we subtracted each frame from the frame which follows it.

All videos were digitized at the same rate of 12 fps to enable comparison of patterns across classes and species.