Film Show #1

By Simon Pilley

Originally published in EUG #11

Do you remember the excellent graphics screens supplied by Simon Pilley that appeared on EUG #9?

Since then, Simon has kindly sent in more screens of equal quality, having converted them from their original Archimedes format so that they can be displayed on the Electron.

However, because of limited disk space, it is not possible to let you see all of them at once.

As discussed elsewhere in this issue, we are now in desperate need of a compression technique that will allow screens to be stored more economically. Can anyone help?

Having said that, I feel that Simon's latest project deserves the 40k of disk space that two Mode 0 screens take up.

Simon observes that "Full Motion Video" seems to be one of the 'in-things' in computing at the moment, particularly on the more powerful, modern machines, so he has made an attempt to bring it to the Electron!

He has digitised a sequence of video frames and scaled them down to one sixteenth screen size. The reduced frames were then plotted across and down the screen, which he has subsequently saved to disk.

An assembly language program (called "U.FILMS" on this disk) loads the frames screen then manipulates blocks of screen memory, showing each frame in sequence, thus creating the illusion of movement.

Simon has rather modestly expressed doubts about his self-taught programming skills and would welcome constructive comments or critisism from fellow Assembly language programmers.

Being an Archimedes user, he has had no opportunity to try out this animation technique on an Electron, but I have found that Mode 0 screens give the best image definition, and even if a little jerky, the effect is still good.

BBC owners and Electroneers with a Turbo board fitted will find the display is much smoother - almost too fast in fact!

The two sequences on this disc are "VOGUE_0", which shows the infamous Madonna having problems with her vest straps (?!) and "OWL_0", in which Winnie-the-Pooh's feathered mentor never quite makes it off his perch.

Perhaps these sequences are not up to CD-ROM quality, but on the Electron, they're pretty impressive!

Now I've got my Watford Digitiser running on the BBC, I might create some sequences myself...