Fractal video

Today I’ve been editing a video for on-line viewing, and I realize that I don’t really want to produce a single video. Rather, I want to produce what might be called a fractal video.

If a person has only three minutes to watch my video, I want her to be able to see just the highlights, a kind of trailer for the whole thing. But she should then be easily be able to “open up” the video to, say, a 10 minute version.

This accordion-like unfolding should be able to continue, recursively, until the full content — perhaps an hour or so all together in length — is revealed.

Doing things this way would allow people to get the sense of what I am trying to say, drawing them in and giving them the basic narrative flow, without requiring the commitment up front to sit through an hour long video.

As far as I can tell, this is not how video editing programs and and on-line streaming formats work today. Which seems like a shame.

2 Responses to “Fractal video”

  1. Mozilla has an online video editing toolset, called “popcorn” (

    It might be re-purposable for this purpose, by creating 1) a video and then 2) versions of the video consisting solely of lists of markers (in/out cut points) that represent the 3, 10, 20, 40 minute versions. And, of course, the version that focuses on a particular sub-set of the video – so not just longer but more focused on a theme.

    This would be wonderful for film analysis – all the scenes with Bill Murray, all the scenes with a woman speaking, all the scenes with two characters…

    Given that these sub-sets are just shot-lists, it should be straightforward. There are some video editing whizzes at the school, perhaps they can suggest a tool or technique to accomplish this.

  2. Ken

    Fractal (self – simialrity) or level of detail?

    A self-similar film would be entertaining, whatever it means.


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