What is Datamosh:
A “glitchy” effect that gives the source video a blended and psychedelic look. Like glitch effects, datamoshing almost looks like a video rendering error at first glance. Kind of like when your netflix stream is lagging. For those of you not opposed to watching hilariously out-of-date auto-tune rap, take a gander at Yung Jakes’ music video called “Datamosh” There is not a more on-the-nose example of this effect anywhere.
A Brief History of Datamoshing:
Datamoshing has been around for awhile, at least since 2005, but has recently gained more popularity. In 2007, a montage of datamoshing examples was uploaded to YouTube, followed by a bunch of tutorials on how to achieve the effect in years following. In 2009, Kanye West’s music video for “Welcome to the Heartbreak” pushed datamoshing into hip hop music scene, where it is still frequently used today.
How its achieved:
To put it simply, portions of one frame of video are overlaid and blended with the following frame. For a more technical breakdown, please see the following paragraph explaining what I-Frames and P-Frames are.
I-Frames are “Independent Frames” which contains new information and is not compressed at all. If you’re looking at an I-Frame, you’re seeing the entire image.
P-frames are short for Predictive Frames or Partial Frames. P-frames contain only the data that have changed from the preceding I-frame (such as color or content changes). If you’re looking at a P-frame, you’re only seeing portions of the image.
The Technical Breakdown:
So let’s say you have two clips. We’ll call them clip A and clip B. Datamoshing is achieved by taking the P-frames from Clip B and applying that information to Clip A. In other words, datamoshing takes the picture information from one clip and combines it with the motion information from another clip. The result is that the movement of Clip B is translated into the image from Clip A. When combined, those “borrowed” P-frames from Clip B create visual artifacts in Clip A, giving datamoshing its distinct look.
And that’s it! Next time you see datamoshing, you can flaunt your new found knowledge of how to achieve the effect!
Next time, we’ll do quick breakdown of the another Motion Design Trend of 2018, eye-catching text overlays.