Project: dead languages

I’ve been working on this project I’ve been calling Dead Languages. It utilizes a custom slow scan television audio format and found objects as well as good old vhs tech. The idea is to take photos of slides I’ve found at various thrift stores, convert them to an audio file that uses a self designed encoding method, record it onto a vhs, play the vhs in an old tv and have custom software decode the result into an 8 bit image on a computer monitor alongside it.

The thing I’m dithering on is how exactly to encode the audio, I’ve had some luck decoding a custom implementation using Processing but I keep running into the same problem. I’m not very experienced with decoding real time audio using fft and I have a significant amount of data loss so the decoding is either very long or pretty glitchy. I’ve attached some images as reference of what the decoded 8 bit images look like along with the original photos

This is the github repo for it

Some decoded images


Collage of the original slides


looks rad! been digging more into researching fft for 1d and 2d signal processing, also super curious about slow scan biz as well, if u feel like elaborating at all id be super interested!

Sure! The github for the project is Feel free to poke around. Basically I wanted to make a more attractive sounding version of sstv and really enjoyed the limited color palette. So I’ve been playing around with encoding different colors as frequencies, i.e a specific red is 450 hertz and so one. Then I decode the audio file with the fft feature in processing and build an image up from the sound.

I’ve found that the processing method losses data sometimes so I’m looking for ways to improve the decoding now. I’m having some trouble with that though.

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theres an interesting set of color spaces based on the physical wavelength of color frequencies
not sure if that is helpful in this application but could be interesting experiment as a basis for encoding!

I really like the 8-bit look and the fact you are moving back and forth to vhs. You might like the Retrospecs app, which has many old system palettes. Are you also familar with Teletext? It was encoded on the top couple of lines of the video / TV signal. There is a great archiving project to retrieve old Teletext pages from vhs tapes of tv recordings.

I haven’t read into teletext but I’ve seen it mentioned before. Thanks for the website! This is right up my ally I need to do some deep dives into the format but its super intriguing.