In spite of being released over two months ago, Childish Gambino’s This is America is still all the rage on the internet, and probably will remain so for a while longer. With its visual imagery and Donald Glover’s striking dance moves, the video was nothing short of remarkable.
Animator Wahyu Inchwandardi, who is also known as Pinot, has now recreated that iconic video with 1970-1980s technology, pixel by pixel. Using a process that he likes to call “pixel knitting”, Inchwandardi has spent over a month animating This is America on an ancient Macintosh computer.
Inchwandardi painstakingly created each individual frame on Macintosh’s 1984 MacPaint program, animating Glover’s dance moves. “Every single pixel matters,” he tweeted. But that’s not all. After creating each frame, Inchwandardi then had to transfer the frame to a 1987 Macintosh SE using a diskette – yes, a diskette – to animate them with a MacroMind VideoWorks software.
So why would Inchwandardi put himself through all of this effort which takes over two or three hours every night? “It’s like riding a classic car,” he told Vice, adding that the technological limitation was like new art. Which is why, ever since he started the project, the animator has diligently uploaded videos or time-lapses of his entire process in recreating the pixel video. He even studied videos of Sherrie Silver, who choreographed This is America, to get the animation just right.
So far, the animator has completed just over 500 frames of the animation, which comes to about 38 seconds of the entire song. We don’t know if he’ll complete the entire video or not, but the accuracy of the animation so far is remarkable.
Inchwandardi also recreated trailers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Stranger Things using similar outdated 8-bit technology. And since that was clearly not enough, he’s also recreated the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi using a scratchboard. You can watch all of them below: