The Fixation Database is a visual study of color and light rhythm in films, music videos, and other time-based media. Each image in the database presents every frame from its source video placed sequentially in a grid, creating a visual, colored timeline, called a fixation. The database is divided into the three sub-databases: film and animation, music videos, and video games. The primary goal is to create a community of researchers, artists, academics, filmmakers, visual designers, gamers, musicians, and film buffs who will share and discuss insights and discoveries about the visual structure of time-based media.

The term fixation comes from biology: a specimen whose motion has been arrested and its structure stabilized in preparation for scientific investigation. A film is a moving thing, and by arresting that movement and stacking the frames, we can view it as a whole. Regardless of the length of the film, the fixation conforms to a rectangle with a three to one ratio, a reference to microscope slides—with the added benefit of being easily divided into beginning, middle, and end. The fixations are colored timelines and can reveal visual structures of story arcs, scene sequences, color signals, palette trends, level design, musical composition, and light rhythm.

Jeffrey Moser


Browse the Fixation Databases Collections:

Fixation Database of Film and Animation

Fixation Database of Music Videos

Fixation Database of Television

Fixation Database of Video Games