The Shining, back and forth

In the film Room 237 they mention a bootleg version of The Shining which runs forwards and backwards, simultaneously.

I wanted to watch it, and if you follow these instructions, you can too.

Find yourself a copy of the movie

I found one called: “The.Shining.1980.mkv”

Get a copy of ffmpeg

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing on the command line.

Strip out subtitles

ffmpeg -i The.Shining.1980.mkv -c copy -sn The.Shining.1980.nosubtitles.mkv

Create a copy with no audio

for the reversed version

ffmpeg -i The.Shining.1980.nosubtitles.mkv -c copy -an The.Shining.1980.nosound_nosubtitles.mkv

Reverse the copy

ffmpeg loads the whole file into memory to reverse it, so I split it into 10 minute chunks first to save my laptop

ffmpeg -i The.Shining.1980.nosound_nosubtitles.mkv -threads 3 -vcodec copy -f segment -segment_time 600 The.Shining.1980.%04d.mp4

which left me with a directory full of split movie files to reverse each one of which I processed with

ffmpeg  -i The.Shining.1980.0001.mkv -vf reverse The.Shining.1980.reversed_0001.mkv
ffmpeg  -i The.Shining.1980.0002.mkv -vf reverse The.Shining.1980.reversed_0002.mkv
ffmpeg  -i The.Shining.1980.0003.mkv -vf reverse The.Shining.1980.reversed_0003.mkv
etc...

Concatentate the reversed clips in the right order

I created a text file split_files.txt with the filenames of the reversed clips, in reverse order

splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0011.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0010.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0009.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0008.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0007.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0006.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0005.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0004.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0003.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0002.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0001.mkv
splits/The.Shining.1980.reversed_0000.mkv

and concatenated them into a single file

ffmpeg -f concat -i split_files.txt -c copy The.Shining.1980.nosound_nosubtitles_reversed.mkv

and finally overlay them, the second (reversed) one with 50% opacity

ffmpeg -n -i The.Shining.1980.nosubtitles.mkv -i The.Shining.1980.nosound_nosubtitles_reversed.mkv -filter_complex "[0:v]setsar=sar=1[v];[v][1]blend=all_mode='overlay':all_opacity=0.5" -movflags +faststart The.Shining.1980.combined.mkv

The finished product

You can play around with the opacity settings in that last step to find something that you like, but 50% is a good starting point.

If you’re in a hurry,

And have a powerful computer, you can probably run all of these in a single ffmpeg command. ffmpeg is pretty powerful.

If you know me

ask, and I’ll give you a copy.

Written on February 13, 2019