Every Frame A Work Of Art With This Color Ultra-Slow Movie Player

One of the more recent trendy builds we’ve seen is the slow-motion movie player. We love them — displaying one frame for a couple of hours to perhaps a full day is like an ever-changing, slowly morphing work of art. Given that most of them use monochrome e-paper displays, they’re especially suited for old black-and-white films, which somehow makes them even more classy and artsy.

But not every film works on a monochrome display. That’s where this full-color ultra-slow motion movie player by [likeablob] shines. OK, full color might be pushing it a bit; the build centers around a 5.65″ seven-color EPD module. But from what we can see, the display does a pretty good job at rendering frames from films like Spirited Away and The Matrix. Of course there is the problem of the long refresh time of the display, which can be more than 30 seconds, but with a frame rate of one every two hours, that’s not a huge problem. Power management, however, can be an issue, but [likeablob] leveraged the low-power co-processor on an ESP32 to handle the refresh tasks. The result is an estimated full year of battery life for the display.

We’ve seen that same Waveshare display used in a similar player before, and while some will no doubt object to the muted color rendering, we think it could work well with a lot of movies. And we still love the monochrome players we’ve seen, too.

15 thoughts on “Every Frame A Work Of Art With This Color Ultra-Slow Movie Player

    1. Checks out!

      125 minutes = 7500 seconds
      24 frames per second

      7500 * 24 = 180000 frames

      2 hours = 7200 seconds

      7200 * 180000 = 1296000000 seconds needed to play all frames

      1296000000 ≈ 41.0686051 average Gregorian years

    2. Hi.. The video frames have been down-sampled at 0.5 fps (1/2 fps) by default. So it will take about 308 days to play Spirited Away entirely.

      (2 hours * 0.5 fps = 3600 frames. And 3600 frames * 2 hours/frame = 308.3 days)

  1. I’m not sure we’re talking about the same kind of media players but if you want a Windows player that does slow motion superbly I’d suggest https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html What’s also cool about VCL’s zoom is that as it’s playing, say a TV episode from a DVD, you’ll hear at least part of the audio, at reduced speed, of course. I love using slo mo; lots of fun. Ditto for zoom, which I think VLC player has also. And this player may also have slow motion and zoom. https://mpc-hc.org/ Last but hardly least is https://jriver.com/ I’m still badgering the developers to add slow motion to the next version but JRiver probably has the best zoom control of any Windows player-like my Pioneer LX500 BD player, where once you select the desired mag there are up, down and sideways remote buttons so you can center the desired part of the zoomed image on the screen. And with something like AnyDVD HD running in the background, JRiver can play any BD movie, plus its DTS-MA decoding is perfect.

    1. This isn’t a desktop computer, it’s an ESP32 with an LCD in a frame. It’s not running Windows nor any Windows software nor any other OS. It’s just running firmware.

      Why do it this way?

      – It’s at least $100 cheaper for the hardware. Several hundred cheaper if you include the price of a legal copy of Windows.

      – Look at the battery life. “theoretically the device can survive over a year under a 2000 mAh rated battery”.

      – And it’s a true “appliance”. Plug it in and it’s going to start fairly quickly, not show a bunch of boot screens giving some hacker who is walking by a chance to get at the OS (which it doesn’t even have). Better yet, it doesn’t need to be mounting any partition r/w. That means you can just un-plug it without requiring any proper shutdown sequence to prevent disk corruption.

      That’s a way better way to go for this kind of non-interactive project.

  2. That’s a nice project. I have used the same epaper for quite some time to display an assortment of pictures I have taken. I however never thought about minimizing the active time of the the esp using the ultra low power co processor of the esp32. I might add that to my project, that should make a real difference. I already preprocess the images an dither them before uploading them to the sd card, that already makes quite some difference. I am really looking forward to checking out this new idea.Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment.
      Yes, esp32’s ULP is really energy efficient than I thought. It only draws 6uA but we have GPIO, ADC, etc. and even a C-compiler (lcc).

      Talking about the pre-processing, ffmpeg & ImageMagick (GraphicsMagick) simplifies all the complex conversions. Since they are highly configurable, there is probably much room for improvement especially around the dithering configuration.

  3. This idea comes up from time to time. The only problem is unless the movie is totally G rated there are going to be periods of times where it might not be something you want people seeing on your wall. Or then again, it might. I’m not judging, just make sure you have considered it beforehand. Otherwise I can imagine it being on the wall long enough that you forget it’s there. Then grandma comes over, right on the day it happens to be displaying that one sexy scene from an otherwise tame movie….

    This time I see the project builder seems to have already thought of this, using a kid’s cartoon movie. Good job!

    1. Yeah, that’s true.
      And as Hooovahh suggested, you can manually remove these explicit frames by going through a bunch of PNG images.
      Also I’m thinking about adding a push switch or tilt switch as a “fast forward” button. Monitoring a GPIO state with ULP just requires several lines of code.
      Though it may not work well for a sudden situation, haha.

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