Surveillance Society

Images of surveillance from the first episode of season 1 of The Wire, “The Target.” I mentioned the prevalence of surveillance camera shots  in the first episode of The Wire in my previous post. Above are six GIFs capturing what I believe is every surveillance camera shot in episode one, although I have a sneaking suspicion I missed one. The idea was to make the GIFs look like a series of surveillance monitors. Not sure it worked, but I published them on Tumblr first to capture the effect more cleanly than I could in WordPress.

To create the individal GIFS I used MPEG Streamclip to capture the clips from the episode and export them as image stills. I then used GIMP to make the animations. You can find a pretty thorough tutorial for this process here. Starting to get into the ds106 groove!

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8 Responses to Surveillance Society

  1. Pingback: New blog post: "Surveillance Society" #ds106 #wire106 #surveillance

  2. This is great example of a small undercurrent theme I do not remember noticing in the first time I watched the series. The kids throwing rocks at the security camera was obvious, but thats a great connection to draw that in many of the organizational systems, like the police, who are often the surveillors, are themselves watched.

    I love those short transition clips in the elevator; plot wise they may not count much, but the deftly tie the scenes and set the context. There is something semi comedic or perhaps suggestive of power differential, between the size of the deputies, the giant Rawls and the shorter (I have no idea who the other one is), sharing that small space– and that both are made smaller (and perhaps less powerful) than the entity that the camera represents.

    These small bits that might not be noticed are among the cleverness of the visual storytelling in The Wire.

    • Reverend says:

      Yeah, the surveillance stuff in the first four or five episodes is impossible to escape. And it’s interesting, as Paul Bond pointed out, that it’s not just the cops, but the gangsters too. Everyone is surveying and being surveyed constantly. And that’s not just the video cameras, there’s also the cameras on the roof to take pictures of the Barksdale crew as Bubbles puts hats on their heads. The idea of taking surveillance images for a visual assignment would be really interesting. What would that look like? I just thought of another assignment. Disco! Thank you, Alan, your comment has been very generative 🙂

      • Jon K. says:

        I deal a lot with surveillance imagery in an art project/thing I’m involved with – and one of the things we are doing is documenting the surveillance that we encounter – maybe there’s a ds106 daily create in that notion somewhere.

        Have you heard of the surveillance camera players? Figure you’d be interested in this: – lots of surveillance stuff that could be remixed/gif’d perhaps?

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