Aesthetic Solutions

Want to make small-file media and don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions.


In this years Small File Media Festival we are encouraging the use of obsolete technologies. Upwards of 53.6 billion tonnes of e-waste is generated globally each year and that number is only going to climb higher in the face of planned obsolescence.

Old cell phones, webcams, mini-dv video cameras, scanners and and point-and-shoot cameras are a great place to start.

Not a lens-based media artist? Great! We encourage the submission of any moving image that can be displayed on a screen, from GIF art to demoscene. Interested in submitting something and don’t know where it fits in? Email us at and we will let you know.


Certain techniques are more suited for small file clarity. Try techniques that reduce the amount of information captured, this will lead to less compression further down the road. Examples of this are recording and editing in mono, using minimal camera movements or a tripod to capture a still shot (static backgrounds result in the overlap of data form frame to frame) and using a shallow depth of field.


Be creative with stills and sound! Entries don’t need to be video files but we do need to be able to play them somehow – contact us! How far can you stretch a medium?

Below are a few stills from the experimental short film La Jetée (1962) by Chris Marker. In this science fiction piece a post apocalyptic narrative unfolds via photomontage, music, voiceover and one brief instance of moving images. Inspired? Intrigued? What can you do in five megabytes or less using only still images?


According to Wikipedia, “The demoscene is an international computer art subculture focused on producing demos: self-contained, sometimes extremely small, computer programs that produce audio-visual presentations.”

We encourage you to defy planned obsolescence and come up with your own demoscene projects on vintage and outdated hardware! Have a concept and aren’t sure how we can pull it off? E-mail us at

Watch Joey Malbon’s lecture on the Demoscene


Watch Radek Przedpelski’s lecture on Datamoshing


You’ve created your small file masterpiece but now what? Head over to our technical solutions page and discover how compress those bits!

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