Sensing the Shining

Visualizing the emotional reactions to movies, exemplified with Stanley Kubrick’s classic 'The Shining'.

Current advances in sensor technology, biofeedback and algorithms enable an increasingly deep analysis of our emotional responses to visual content.

Movies are traditionally constructed to evoke emotional responses using surprise, delight or shock. Movies are traditionally constructed to evoke emotional responses using surprise, delight or shock. Their posters are designed to condense the excitement of the entire movie in a single image.

'Sensing the Shining’ creates a movie poster from the still frames of the movie itself - visualizing the emotional reactions of the viewer while watching it.

View poster close-up

How it works

‘Sensing the Shining’ utilizes GSR (Galvanic Skin Response ) that measures the speed of an electromagnetic pulse between two sensors attached to two different fingers.

An emotional response increases the sweat level on the human skin which also increases the speed of the impulse travelling between the contacts.

Throughout the movie the sensor measures the emotional reaction of the viewer in 0.2 second intervals.

The movie is then exported frame by frame in the same intervals as the sensor measurements to have a matching frame for each value of the data.

Each frame's width is then cropped according to its corresponding data value

Low Measurement

Medium Measurement

Measurement Peaks

The Output

During the uneventful parts of the movie, each frame being shown as just a small slice - The higher the measurement of the data, the more becomes visible of each frame.

Sudden peaks in measurements create “ emotional moments” that enable an almost entire view of the frame.

All cropped images are then stitched together in sequence to create the movie poster collage.



Emotionally meaningful moments become emphasized while the less exciting parts of the movie become almost visual noise.

Stretching Time

Stretching Time

As an interesting visual side effect, the collages modify time by stretching more exciting parts of the movie and condensing the less exciting ones.

In its entirety the resulting image gives a visual impression of the movie and it’s emotional rhythms and patterns.

As a project, ‘Sensing the Shining’ creates a new kind of feedback interface that highlights the emotional reactions to visual content.