Thursday, November 19, 2009

100 Hours of Solitude

This is probably the longest video on Vimeo.

I think the appropriate way to view this is to project on a full white wall in an otherwise empty room. A couch, cot, or bare mattress are acceptable, along with bare necessities like a few gallons of water and a box of saltines.

Go ahead and watch it straight through, I dare you.

100 Hours of Bliss from Benjamin Baker-Smith on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Country

At long last, I present to you Our Country. Enjoy.

Our Country from Benjamin Baker-Smith on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Final Cut Project EVER

I just found this online, on Seth Samuel's YouTube channel to be exact. This is the very first video editing I ever did, done on Final Cut Pro in the fall of 2005.

It is titled Green Dreams, and by far the best part is Seth's score.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Chopped and Screwed JPEGs

Here are some new glitch images i've been working on. You can find more on my flickr page here.

below the clouds

the most dangerous glitch



Monday, June 15, 2009

Glitch Fish

Check out the latest results of my new datamoshing process. I've moved on to using scripts written for FFMPEG and AVIDEMUX rather than painstakingly mosh it all by hand and struggle with the semi-frequent software crashes that result.

Also, I've made the switch to VIMEO.

Glitch Fish from Benjamin Baker-Smith on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My "Lonely Porter" homebrew wins silver!

My most recent homebrew, a chocolate porter brewed back in the fall of last year, just won second place out of 7 competing homebrews on the Oberlin College Campus. Here's the review as it appeared in the May 23, 2009 issue of The Grape:

"2nd Place: Oberlin alum Ben Baker-Smith brings the black-sheep Dark Chocolate Stout to the table, securing a silver medal with a bold, bitter mocha flavor. The beer pours oily black in the glass with an enormous, thick beige head. One would be troubled to blindly distinguish the scent of this brew against a bar of fine chocolate. On the tongue, the beer was ascerbic in the best way possible, producing the same mouth watering pucker of a fine espresso. As the intense smokey finish subsides after many moments, the imbiber is left with the delicate aftertaste of unsweetened cocoa." (written by Liam Gordon)

I just got ingredients for a hefeweizen and an american wheat ale, and can't wait to start brewing again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Slavic Village Revisited - Generation JPEG

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These images are from Foreclosure, an old project of mine featuring foreclosed homes in Cleveland's Slavic Village, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the housing crisis. Aproximately 2,000 of the 8,000 homes in Slavic Village lie vacant.

One of the disturbing things about these homes was their new-ness. Though they were abandoned, they were almost all structurally sound, and many of them weren't in any sort of outward disrepair. In revisiting these images I wanted to express a sense of age and wear that was felt in person, but may not have come through in the original 35mm photographs.

These are 400th generation JPEGs.

100th Generation Obama

This is a 100th generation JPEG, but an artifact removal filter was applied after each recompression, resulting in the smeared effect.

I like to think of this as an analogy for the larger effect of Obama's PR people vs. his critics: who he is and what he is trying to do will be lost beneath the airbrushing and the shit. For better or for worse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tutorial: Datamoshing - The Beauty of Glitch

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Datamoshing, as it has been coined by the Providence, RI artist collective Paper Rad (warning, site may induce seizures), refers to a technique of exploiting video compression to create intentional artifacting and distortion. If you've ever skipped ahead in a poorly compressed DVD rip and seen the moving outlines of actors ghosted behind the pixels of the scene you were just watching then you know what I'm talking about.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Generation JPEG

These are JPEGs that have been compressed many hundreds of times. This brings out the "natural" artifacts that appear from generation to generation. (you should really click to open the larger images to get a feel for the effect)

275th Generation Tree:

400th Generation Clouds:

425th Generation Ho Chi Minh City:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

May Glitch Bless America

The aM3r1cAN F!aG, looking better than ever. The dollar bill is next.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JPEG chopped and screwed 2

Here's the latest (disclaimer: some photoshop used as well).

I'm starting to learn how to make educated guesses about what part of the image will be effected.

The following bullets refer to the text file which results when opening up a JPEG in TextEdit or another basic text editor.

  • The top section should be left untouched, this seems to contain the code that identifies the file as a JPEG (even slight changes to this code may render your image file unreadable)

  • The next few lines after the above section often relate to color. These are fun to play with, and only require very small changes. Try removing single characters, or small groups of characters for big results.

  • The remainder of the text document describes the structure of the image. It also contains color information

    • Changes are less drastic than in other parts of the document (sometimes very large sections of text can be deleted without much change to the image)

    • Deleting too much information will result in grey bars, or the removal of whole lines of the image

    • Copying, pasting, and writing new text seems to have the best effects in this area (though I have been using the delete key almost exclusively)

    • Generally, the image is described from the top down. Ex: changes made to the bottom of the document are likely to affect the bottom of the image.

  • JPEGs created in Photoshop are structured a bit differently than those found on the Web, and are harder (in my experience) to work with in this way

Oh, also... I have found that saving the files as "Western (Mac OS Roman)" works best for me. I originally tried "Unicode (UTF-8)" but it seems that this doesn't have a large enough alphabet to accommodate all the strange characters created by the JPEG.

Monday, April 20, 2009

JPEG chopped and screwed

Here are some more hacked JPEGs. Check em out.



JPEG Hacking

I spent my lunch hour today experimenting with hacking JPEG files. I opened the original file with a text editor and went to town cutting, copying, pasting, and typing. Small changes to the text result in sometimes drastic glitches, so I saved and checked my progress after every change. Often I had to backtrack, having wiped away too much of the image for it to be recognizable. Worth playing around with, though entirely unpredictable.



Wednesday, April 8, 2009


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This is the result of my first experiments with datamoshing, or videotripping, or compression exploitation, or glitchtastic video artifacting - whatever you want to call the effect.

Youtube cuts the vid off a little early, probably a result of the glitchiness... anyway, just an experiment, crazy stuff this is.

All the clips are from the trailer of Superman IV the movie.

Monday, April 6, 2009

PD Red Video Feedback

Here's another example of my latest PD work. Another kaleidoscopic video feedback patch using Pure Data's GEM library.

If anyone's interested in a copy of the patch, I will happily provide it for them (of course, it's a bit of a mess right now so good luck sorting it out).

The audio is another track by Josh Harding.

Friday, April 3, 2009

PD Video Feedback Patch (sketch)

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Here's a short demo of a patch I'm working on using Pure Data and Gem. It responds to audio, so I plugged in this track by Josh Harding and let it run.

I hope to upload more examples of my PD work soon. I've got a trial version of a screen capture software, so I've got a month to do as much capturing as possible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

35mm Pinhole Photographs

As promised, here are some shots from my latest venture into the realm of pinhole photography. This time they were taken on a new creation of mine, a 35mm pinhole camera made from a plastic (toy) imitation SLR that I found in a thrift store here in Chicago. I think it was $4. Anyway, it allows me to shoot rolls of 35mm film using a pinhole.

I got the negatives put on a CD at Walgreens this time, probably not gonna do that again though as there's a line across one set of negatives that definitely was from the Walgreens machine, and I get enough artifacts using the pinhole as it is without adding unwanted digital noise.

Regardless, that line isn't on the pictures displayed below, so enjoy. More to come.

Here's the camera that took them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Demo Reel

Finally, I present to you a demo reel of my film and video work.

It features clips from Mettle in the Storm, Hat Tricks, Balls!, The Warehouse, The Box, The Switch, The Walk, The Exchange, Climbing Up The Walls, The Grass Is Greener, Scream, Chips, and performances by The David Bowie Cover Band, Mattwell Murder (Rancid Cover Band), The Funny Guys, Alex Christie, and Lionface.

Comments are, as always, welcome.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Here's a headshot I did recently for Rafael Martinez, a local theater actor applying to grad school. If you need headshots and you're in the Chicago area, drop me a line.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frozen River

Here's some shots of the ice on the Chicago River.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Portrait Photography - Sarah Swanger

Here are some portraits of Sarah Swanger, circa fall 2006.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

House Jams

Here's some photographs from a few months ago, back when musicians used to congregate in my house daily.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digital Pinhole Photography

Here's the results of my first dive into digital pinhole photography. More to come, you can count on it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Looking for a car?

Check this one out, somewhere on N. Racine St, Chicago. It's probably cheap...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hello Chicago!

I've been in Chicago about 9 days now. It's been as cold as -9 degrees, -13 with wind chill. Besides that, it's been great. Here's the view out our cigarette smoking window.