Incredibly Slow Films, Now Playing In Dazzling Color

Back in 2018 we covered a project that would break a video down into its individual frames and slowly cycle through them on an e-paper screen. With a new image pushed out every three minutes or so, it would take thousands of hours to “watch” a feature length film. Of course, that was never the point. The idea was to turn your favorite movie into an artistic conversation piece; a constantly evolving portrait you could hang on the wall.

[Manuel Tosone] was recently inspired to build his own version of this concept, and now thanks to several years of e-paper development, he was even able to do it in color. Ever the perfectionist, he decided to drive the seven-color 5.65 inch Waveshare panel with a custom STM32 board that he estimates can wring nearly 300 days of runtime out of six standard AA batteries, and wrap everything up in a very professional looking 3D printed enclosure. The end result is a one-of-a-kind Video Frame that any hacker would be proud to display on their mantle.

The Hackaday.IO page for this project contains a meticulously curated collection of information, covering everything from the ffmpeg commands used to process the video file into a directory full of cropped and enhanced images, to flash memory lifetime estimates and energy consumption analyses. If you’ve ever considered setting up an e-paper display that needs to run for long stretches of time, regardless of what’s actually being shown on the screen, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll find some useful nuggets in the fantastic documentation [Manuel] has provided.

We always love to hear about people being inspired by a project they saw on Hackaday, especially when we get to bring things full circle and feature their own take on the idea. Who knows, perhaps the next version of the e-paper video frame to grace these pages will be your own.

8 thoughts on “Incredibly Slow Films, Now Playing In Dazzling Color

  1. Ohh. This is lovely. I’d totally purchase a kit. 300 days is pretty impressive and I’d be tempted to extend the battery life with indoor PV cells (not a joke! They’re a thing.)

    1. I think you’re missing the point. The image updates every 3 minutes. 15 seonds of updating each time isn’t that big of deal. You aren’t meant to watch an entire movie on this at once

      1. If it’s meant to be something to look at every once in a while, having it updating just outside of my view would be extremely distracting. I usually have Slack open on my right-hand monitor during the working day and I have to minimize it or change channel if someone posts a gif on the one I’m viewing because the motion keeps pulling my focus away.

        If I built this to sit on my desk, I’d have to have a LCD shutter in front of it that blanks it out until the update process is done or I’d lose focus every time.

  2. Well, that’s cool.

    Just remember that even a relatively tame movie with only the briefest scenes of a sexual or violent nature become porn or gore when those frames are displayed for so long. Murphy’s law tells you that no doubt whoever would be most awkward to have see that hanging on your wall is exactly who will be ringing your doorbell the moment those scenes come up.

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