Mystery: What is this eerie, looping video of a man walking?
November 30, 2021 9:38 AM   Subscribe

This has been driving me crazy for nearly a month. One night, while exploring international television broadcast streams, my spouse and I encountered this looping video on Swiss Broadcaster RTS2, on what the screen insert labels as "inédit" (pardon the quality of this quick-capture). It looks like the video might be part of a larger film, a short, or maybe an art installation. At first, we thought the looping would eventually resolve into something else, but no. We watched for at least 3-4 minutes, changed the channel, then returned several minutes later to find it still looping the same footage. I have some more details and clues, but I need help to figure out what this is!

In the video, a man in a gray scarf is shown in a tight shot, clearly thinking something to himself and reacting subtly. Then the scene cuts to him walking past plate-glass windows where volleyball games can be seen below. Finally, the scene cuts to him walking on the playing court, very close to a group playing a point. And repeat.

Spooky, burbling electronica with a minor-key tension underscores the entire loop. (The sound quality isn't great in my video, but you can hear it if you turn up the volume.)

I've tried to find the RTS2 listings for that day and time and can't find anything useful. I looked when the video was airing and still couldn't find anything helpful. As far as I'm aware, there's no official program on RTS called "inédit" (unpublished).

I do know that the Geneva Film Festival was happening on that weekend. It had just kicked off about 8 hours prior, so perhaps this is connected with the festival?
posted by yellowcandy to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's just an ident feed, like filler. The BBC has done hot air balloons, and then later hippos and I think BBC NI does indistinct background chatter over soft focus people . Aljezeera has weird dancers. RTE plays something else, I forget what.

I know you don't get that on PBS, but for state broadcasters who do live broadcasts and sports where the timings can run short of the next scheduled broadcasts, it's common. (The BBC ones are branded but that's less common.)

They all loop, and they are all weird.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:07 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Were you using an IPTV service? This has happened to me with mine, and was I'm guessing just an error with the system (it happened on TLC's 90 Day Fiancee, so I can't imagine them using that as ident or something!)....
posted by ryanbryan at 3:21 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's "the Footage"
posted by Windopaene at 5:08 PM on November 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

With the "inédit" label, I wonder if it was some b-roll footage that was accidentally aired & then had the sort of error that ryanbryan mentions. (That wouldn't necessarily explain the music, though.) It looks like RTS2 shows a lot of sports news programming so the volleyball stuff would make sense in that context.
posted by edencosmic at 5:39 PM on November 30, 2021

RTS has an audio podcast called Inédit about concerts, FWIW.

Maybe try contacting them? I sent them a tweet about it, will update if I get a response.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:03 PM on November 30, 2021

Best answer: Got a reply! Google Translate:
Hello, thank you for your question. The looping sequence in the YouTube video of your post is the 36th minute of episode 4 of season 1 of 'The Twelve,' which we aired the night of November 5-6 at 12:35 am on RTS2.

In our recordings of the November 6 broadcast between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. on RTS2, we did not see any issues with inappropriate images. Looping is certainly due to a distribution issue, probably to be found at the level of your cable company.

Hope to have answered your question, our best regards!
posted by Rhaomi at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2021 [11 favorites]

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