Cinemetrics: The Digital “Fingerprints” of Film

Cinemetrics refers to a unique process of digitally analyzing a movie’s various characteristics, and creating dynamic visual representations of the data. The creation of this new type of infographic formed the graduate thesis work of graphic designer and creative coder Frederic Brodbeck at the Royal Academy of Arts, Den Haag in South Holland.

As the young innovator describes the project, the idea behind Cinemetrics is to measure movie data in order to reveal a digital “fingerprint” of the film’s characteristics (such as editing structure, color, speech or motion) and transforming them into graphic representations that can be compared side by side with other films of similar genre, remakes or even other works by the same director.

Watch the video below to see just how in-depth Brodbeck’s creations are compared to the infographics commonly seen on your average film blog:

Brodbeck recognized that there were already plenty of infographics using metadata related to movies, such as budget, box office data and awards. However, he desired to use the movie itself as a source of data to create much more complex and interactive graphic representations. Brodbeck built custom software that disassembled video files into their components — video, audio, subtitles — and then processed them frame by frame. Information such as the movie’s structure and the balance and prominence of various visual elements are extracted, analyzed and transformed into pulsing, radial graphic representations. Viewers can then interact with the individual “fingerprint” graphs, revealing the associated scene ‘stills’ at any point in the movie.

Brodbeck explains on his website: “Not only cinema enthusiasts might benefit, but also for regular people an alternative way of looking at movies could provide an interesting new way of choosing movies based on formal criteria. For instance: ‘I don’t want to see the dark one with lots of motion, that colorful one with the great amount of spoken words looks much more interesting to me.’”