Film: 9808

Science | 1970 | Sound | Colour

Synopsis:

Early computer history - computers and the visual, aural and communication opportunities afforded by their development 1970's

Featuring computer-generated images and sounds.
Title sequence: floating words. Red-lit bald man, his hand held over an electronic musical display. Orange flecked square prominent over similar background, grows darker. Changes focus to become red man's face. Another man, wearing a suit in a red lit room, sitting taking notes at the desk of a computer or electronic screen. Close up of letter typed in a typewriter ..S L N A … The man in the suit speaks as though reading from something off screen. He turns while sat at his desk to take a pen to make notes, presumably form the screen we can't see. Green line, presumably the electronic display which the man is watching. Another green electronic image of dots and lines. Some of the dots move, perhaps by the pen's agency as used by the man. Another similar men. Two men wearing suits in the same red-lit room who seem to be studying something - one a WASP, the other probably of Chinese or Japanese origin. They are design engineers at Bell's Telephone Laboratories. Close up of one of the two men. They are working on a new breed of computer called Graphic One - we see the reflection of the last man writing with an electronic light pen on the round screen of the computer. Close up of the electronic squiggles and symbols on screen which are referred to as computer graphics. The two men in suits looking at the screen, which we don't see. Reflection and squiggles on the round computer screen again, one man moving the symbols via his special pen. Button and keys on a control panel. Hand manoeuvring the pen on screen which is referred to as a cathode ray tube. One of the men's faces looking busy.
Reflections and squiggles on the round screen or cathode ray tube, one man moving his light pen around it again, the two men concentrating. Squiggles or symbols on the tube or screen, now having more of the appearance of an electronic circuit diagram. Similar but hand more visible. The man's concentrating face. Squiggles and screen again with hand and light pen. The two men, studious again. Screen flashes digital information. Two men again. Squiggles and images on screen. Two men again. Screen again with more complete image of an electronic circuit. Two men again, at the controls. Finger pushes a button. Twinkling and flashing orange lights. Digital line and grid appearing on screen, fluctuating. Man again, hands holding up film. Man in less formal shirt and tie with a groovy moustache, against a red background, inspects the film. Another man writing a diagram on a blackboard evidently explaining to the previous man who is off screen. The groovy man again, listening with film making equipment beside and behind him. The two men in discussion together near a blackboard - the groovy one is a Consulting Graphic artist, the other a Bell laboratory scientist. The are collaborating for an idea for an experimental computer-made movie. The scientist listening. Both men discussing again. The artist listening. The scientist gesticulates to letters and words on a blackboard - which are to do with a computer programming language which is Bell's Lab Flakes. Excerpt from a computer movie which is a two dimensional abstracted image of a computer receiving punch cards. Close up of part of the image. Full image again. Man in shirt and tie removing tape reel from a computer. Another man arrives with reels of a Bell's Lab Flakes - called B Flakes - movie. The second man gives the reels to the first man. The first man puts a reel in the computer. The man runs the reel. The man's hand adjusts a camera focus. Unfocussed white screen. Fingers pushing buttons. Tape of film spooling. Digital image of words and an emerging abstract blob as the taped information is converted into pictures. Similar image. Camera. Filming what appears on the cathode ray tube which we see reflected in the lens - moving green lights. The moving green lights - abstracts. Electro-psychedelic orange lines with the electronic text MAN AND:…HIS WORLD in the middle. Strobing blue green background with text 'TERRE DES HOMMES ' which distends into an abstract image. Back to TERRE etc. in green, repeat distended image, which then changes to pink or violet with text 'EL HOMBRE .. Y SU MUNDO ', becomes abstract. Distends, transforms into lighted red digital background with text ' DER MENSCH UND SEINE WELT', flashes and distorts to a red background with yellow text 'L'UOMO ED…IL SUO MONDO', distends into an abstract, consulting Graphic artist explaining. Scientist listening. Artist explaining, talking about possibility of writing a movie by telephone etc. Electronic abstract image of the earth with a cube revolving round it, an electronic clock in the corner, said to describe the movement of a communications satellite. The cubed satellite representation in motion. Blurred red and yellow lights, change into a yellow light with which an experimenter in visual perception is occupied or adjusting. A series or image of red, yellow, blue and green digital dots appears - presumably projected by the Experimenter. Blurs into the pointillist painting The Bathers by the nineteenth century painter Seurat - a detail showing various figures sitting, standing and strolling on the bank of a river. Closer detail of a woman standing . Another detail of figures beneath a tree. Another detail of women by the water's edge. Another detail of boats. Another detail of sitting figures, woman and man sitting at a desk, a film projector between them. The lights go down and they begin projecting. Changing dark and light abstract image, a lace-like pattern emerges. A dozen or more similar still patterns flash on the screen. Similar background with pulsating square. Dark background with white circle flecked with kaleidoscoping dark flecks. White circles become orange. Black square on pulsating light and dark background, the square shrinks then expands. Lace like images again. Dark and light mess. Kaleidoscopic orange circle again, turns green. Lace like images again. Dozens more images follow, some lace-like, some more intricate, various psychedelic colours. Blur becomes densely filled with images - faces, cars, symbols - we track back from this until they form part of a bigger picture of two birds. Two men discussing the images, with the previous bird one behind them. Another dense image composed of numerals, symbols etc. which we track back from until they form the image of a telephone. Close up of dense symbols and icons, blurs. Red-lit computer. Man composing music with light pen on a computer. The composer talking to a man sitting next to him. The two men from behind, discussing sound and speech on a computer. Flashing computer screen with musical notes. Hand moves light pen. Men from behind while computer sings "Daisy, Daisy" Hand, pen and screen again as the score is programmed. Graph with numbers on it. Sheet with more numbers placed on top of it. Hands, pen and screen. Two bespectacled men sitting near film projectors. Revolving film reel. Sound waves on a computer screen - for the first time sounds on the ear's membrane are pictorially described. Man wearing spectacles looking, presumably at screen, off screen. The two men wearing glasses looking. A 3D version of sound on ear membrane graphics. The two men looking. A closer shot. A longer shot. One of the men listening. A medical dummy which opens to show the inside of a man's head, focusing on the mouth. Red computer reels spooling. Several rows of lights. Hand writing letters on a blackboard. The man writing as a woman, presumably his assistant, comes in with drinks. She hands him a drink. He takes it. The woman picks up a red computer reel. Man writing on blackboard. Close up of his hand. The man sitting speaks to the woman who is now sitting near him beside a typewriter or keyboard. She begins typing. Her hands typing. Letters typed on the paper in the typewriter which form a continuation from an image early in the film. The woman types, adjusts computer switches and turns to the man who is off screen. The man directs her. The woman confers, adjusts switches, types. The woman types as the man watches. Her hand adjusts a switch. Man and woman listen to the results. The man watches his computer screen. Green lines on the screen. Man makes adjustments with a pen on a board. Green lines again. Woman flicks switches. Green lines. More green lines. Man makes adjustments again. Man looking at screen. Man wearing glasses listening. Chinese or Japanese man seen earlier looking. Another man - the scientist? - looking at film reel or tape. Close up of a man's face looking thoughtful. Changes into an abstract with double square in the centre. Changes into a computer generated image of a square area with human figures joining together and dancing.


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