If you were going to try and emulate the look of Max Headroom (the faux-digital avatar) on a budget, with modern (free) software, as simply as possible, how would you approach the problem?

I'm thinking that I can film against a green screen, crush the color depth. It's probably pretty easy to generate the background patterns although I'm not sure how exactly I'd go about it.

I could probably find suitable background videos to speed things up.

I guess it would probably be pretty simple?

I don't know a good way to do the stutter effect automatically, but I guess it would be easy enough to do.

@ajroach42 vtuber animation but like with a really weird clay texture

@synthgal Oh. Yeah, if there's an open source program for managing virtual animated avatars, that'd help.


The original was produced in such a low tech way it might be possible to duplicate it.

@ajroach42 The rotating box background is trivial, doesn't even really need 3D graphics, just lines. And greenscreen & rubber mask is how they did it back in the day.

@ajroach42 Isn't the stutter just a repeated replay of a short section? So just need some scriptable editor and be able to pick a startpoint, length of repeat and number of repeats?

@penguin42 Yep! I can probably figure it out in FFMPEG. I just don't know much of other scriptable editors.

@ajroach42 I'm betting there's standard cut format files for describing cuts to other editors.

@penguin42 @ajroach42 I know kdenlive uses some cut format for its renderer that is grokked by at least _some_ other tools.

@ajroach42 In the original, they deleted every other frame from the video. Maybe more would need to be dropped to get the right effect.

The stutter could be done with periodic copy-and-paste of audio and video streams to repeat the odd second. Could probably do it with ffmpeg, maybe even script it to do it randomly for random numbers of frames.

As for the character, the original method involved cast fiberglass and latex rubber (and shiny white contacts to make the eyes show up better (though they also ulcerated Matt Frewer's corneas)). Maybe it could be done with some in-line FX - there used to be some cli tools that would perform realtime video transformations, like bump mapping and Predator-like height/thermal-like mapping.

The backgrounds were basically a graphics demo running on an A500. Could probably do something with xscreensaver..

@drwho @ajroach42 I made my animated overlay for obs in... React 😜 It's basically a browser tab. Browsers are really good in rendering stuff and I can move stuff around freely as I need it. Maybe an approach for you too.

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