MA Research and Final Project

General Overview

Paper Title

An exploration of the artistic alternatives to the epileptogenic effects.


This project aims to prove that directors, editors and visual effects artists can create engaging and visually appealing sequences without using flashing imagery, contrasting patterns and saturations of reds, which could induce seizures in photosensitive epileptic patients and cause discomfort in others.

The research starts with an artistic analysis of flashing imagery, contrasting patterns and saturated reds (used in films, music videos and animations) to reveal their emotional impacts on the viewer. From there, simple technical solutions were provided, for artists, on how to reduce the risk of seizures from their work with artistic alternatives in the areas of filming, editing, lighting, coloring, visual effects and sounds that can replace the harmful effects.

The intensely epileptogenic music video of Came Back Haunted by Nine Inch Nails was used as a case study where its visuals were analysed and its footage re-edited to pass the Harding test. An online survey was then conducted on 131 participants to get qualitative evaluations of the original video and the edited one, where each participant watched only one video, selected at random.

The survey was assessed based on a sample of 26 English-native speakers, fans of Rock music who were never diagnosed with epilepsy or migraine. From this sample, 14 participants had watched the original video and 12 participants the edited one. Their ratings of the original video were slightly higher than those of the edited one but both groups have complained about the video for being boring and repetitive.

Further research and further tests still need to be done on a wider variety of footage while using bigger samples.


Original music video of Came Back Haunted

The Harding Test's results of the original music video:



The Harding Test's results of the edited music video: