What is datamoshing? Check out some examples and learn how to use the effect in these tutorials.

Cover image: datamosh effect applied to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”

Datamoshing. First off, what is it? Perhaps you’ve seen it in glitchy videos by mistake, or perhaps you’ve seen it used for a stylized purpose in videos by ASAP Mob and ASAP Rocky. (Or perhaps you’ve even seen some of the viral datamoshed videos like Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.”) Wherever it comes from, datamoshing has become a popular style that can make a video stand out.

So, how does it work? Datamoshing is basically a technique of damaging video clips to create a glitch effect wherein frames that should change don’t. It’s most noticeable between cuts and across motion. According to datamoshing.com (which is a great resource on the technique), “datamoshing is the process of corrupting, removing or replacing I-frames, causing P-frames to be applied to the wrong picture.”

That being said, there are several different ways to create this effect. Let’s jump into some of the most accessible techniques and tutorials to show you how to harness the glitch for your stylized purposes.


The Basic Concepts of Datamoshing

In this datamoshing tutorial series (be sure to watch all three parts), an anonymous YouTuber who goes by the auspicious moniker of datamosher gives one of the early iterations of a breakdown of what the technique is and how it works. It’s a great place to start understanding how I-frames and P-frames work — and what happens when you get them not to work. The programs he uses are free to download, but they are essential for a few outdated options that help the process.


Datamoshing for Stylized Effect

As inspired by the datamoshing in Asap Mob’s Yamborghi video, this tutorial by Justin Odisho breaks down how to recreate and add some of the style into the datamoshing effect. He uses some of the basic concepts from the tutorial series above, including some of the same free programs to create the corruptions; however, he takes it a step further by showing how he can take the glitched footage into Premiere Pro to stylize with colors and other effects.


Datamoshing in After Effects

If you’re looking for a little more control of the effect across the board (and tentative about using multiple programs), Frikanih FX shows how to create a similar datamosh effect in After Effects without using any additional plugins. While this process is a little more painstaking and less authentic, it does allow more customization from the get-go as you create the glitches more precisely — in regards to how much, when, and where you’d like to apply the effect.


What are your thoughts on the datamosh effect? Let us know in the comments. You might also want to check these distortion elements to give your videos a dramatic edge!