Supercon 2017 Badge Film “In the Back Alley”

My Superconference 2017 camera badge project concludes with the 1-minute short “In the Back Alley of Spercon.” I entered it into the short film festival and was ecstatic to have been selected as the winning film!

I recorded a bunch of footage during the day on Saturday, but once the sun went down the camera could no longer record usable footage. So I switched efforts to putting together a presentation of what I’ve recorded. Since the camera badge has no audio capabilities – no microphone nor speaker – it was going to be a silent film by necessity. I followed precedence for silent films, using the text capabilities of the camera badge app framework to put up static text which give context to the moving pictures.

I started with the ambition of writing a short film editing app on the phone, and quickly decided that would take more time than I had. I switched to hard-coding the sequence of text and videos into a single app that I could run on the camera badge. You can still see my original intent in the filename “avitrim.”

Once running, I had something I could show to other people. Friendly curious people had asked about my project in progress Friday and Saturday, and now I could press “Go” to show them the results. Unfortunately that wouldn’t work for the film festival, where they intend to put it up on the big screen. I talked to Hackaday Mike and he suggested I record the badge app in action and put it up on YouTube.

I tried a few different cameras and they all exhibited problems trying to record the footage playing on the OLED screen. Blooming, flickering, and loss of color saturation to various degrees that I struggle to correct with camera settings. The least-bad version came from my cell phone’s camera so that’s the one I uploaded to YouTube.

Playing the YouTube clip on my TV indicated the video was good enough, but the audio was not. I held my breath during the recording so people wouldn’t have to hear my breathing, but the microphone picked up other background sounds. To cover up this annoyance, I went to the YouTube royalty-free music library and picked out a music clip that’s roughly a minute long. It’s not exactly my favorite song but it’s far better than random background noises.

(The project described in this post is documented on and the source code is publicly available on Github.)

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