In this revealing study, Daisuke Miyao explores "the aesthetics of shadow" in Japanese cinema in the first half of the twentieth century. This term, coined by the production designer Yoshino Nobutaka, refers to the perception that shadows add depth and mystery. Miyao analyzes how this notion became naturalized as the representation of beauty in Japanese films, situating Japanese cinema within transnational film history. He examines the significant roles lighting played in distinguishing the styles of Japanese film from American and European film and the ways that lighting facilitated the formulation of a coherent new Japanese cultural tradition. Miyao discusses the influences of Hollywood and German cinema alongside Japanese Kabuki theater lighting traditions and the emergence of neon commercial lighting during this period. He argues that lighting technology in cinema had been structured by the conflicts of modernity in Japan, including capitalist transitions in the film industry, the articulation of Japanese cultural and national identity, and increased subjectivity for individuals. By focusing on the understudied element of film lighting and treating cinematographers and lighting designers as essential collaborators in moviemaking, Miyao offers a rereading of Japanese film history.
Photography might be called the lost cause of cinema, gone in projection and too soon forgotten. But what is the mysterious region between photography and narrative cinema, between the photogram—a single film frame—and the illusion of motion we recognize as the movies?
In this ambitious, sophisticated study, Garrett Stewart discusses the photogram not only as the undertext of screen images but also in its unexpected links to the early modernist writings of James, Conrad, Forster, Joyce, and others. Engaging the work of such media theorists as Eisenstein, Benjamin, Kracauer, Bazin, Baudry, Cavell, Deleuze, and Jameson, this study pursues the suppressed photogram as it ripples the narrative surface of several dozen films from Lang and Chaplin through Bergman, Coppola, and beyond. To locate the exact repercussions of such effects, Stewart includes over three hundred frame enlargements drawn from genres as different as science fiction, film noir, and recent Victorian costume drama.
From the glossy monochrome of the classic Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster picture, to film noir’s moody interplay of light and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably wide array of tones. Yet today, with black-and-white film stock nearly impossible to find, these cinematographic techniques are virtually extinct, and filmgoers’ appreciation of them is similarly waning.
Black and White Cinema is the first study to consider the use of black-and-white as an art form in its own right, providing a comprehensive and global overview of the era when it flourished, from the 1900s to the 1960s. Acclaimed film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon introduces us to the masters of this art, discussing the signature styles and technical innovations of award-winning cinematographers like James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Freddie Francis, and Sven Nykvist. Giving us a unique glimpse behind the scenes, Dixon also reveals the creative teams—from lighting technicians to matte painters—whose work profoundly shaped the look of black-and-white cinema.
More than just a study of film history, this book is a rallying cry, meant to inspire a love for the artistry of black-and-white film, so that we might work to preserve this important part of our cinematic heritage. Lavishly illustrated with more than forty on-the-set stills, Black and White Cinema provides a vivid and illuminating look at a creatively vital era.
This is the first biography of the important but long-forgotten American inventor Charles Francis Jenkins (1867-1934). Historian Donald G. Godfrey documents the life of Jenkins from his childhood in Indiana and early life in the West to his work as a prolific inventor whose productivity was cut short by an early death. Jenkins was an inventor who made a difference.
As one of America's greatest independent inventors, Jenkins's passion was to meet the needs of his day and the future. In 1895 he produced the first film projector able to show a motion picture on a large screen, coincidentally igniting the first film boycott among his Quaker viewers when the film he screened showed a woman's ankle. Jenkins produced the first American television pictures in 1923, and developed the only fully operating broadcast television station in Washington, D.C. transmitting to ham operators from coast to coast as well as programming for his local audience.
Godfrey's biography raises the profile of C. Francis Jenkins from his former place in the footnotes to his rightful position as a true pioneer of today's film and television. Along the way, it provides a window into the earliest days of both motion pictures and television as well as the now-vanished world of the independent inventor.
Keating, Patrick Rutgers University Press Library of Congress TR848.C53 2014 | Dewey Decimal 778.5309
How does a film come to look the way it does? And what influence does the look of a film have on our reaction to it? The role of cinematography, as both a science and an art, is often forgotten in the chatter about acting, directing, and budgets. The successful cinematographer must have a keen creative eye, as well as expert knowledge about the constantly expanding array of new camera, film, and lighting technologies. Without these skills at a director’s disposal, most movies quickly fade from memory. Cinematography focuses on the highlights of this art and provides the first comprehensive overview of how the field has rapidly evolved, from the early silent film era to the digital imagery of today.
The essays in this volume introduce us to the visual conventions of the Hollywood style, explaining how these first arose and how they have subsequently been challenged by alternative aesthetics. In order to frame this fascinating history, the contributors employ a series of questions about technology (how did new technology shape cinematography?), authorship (can a cinematographer develop styles and themes over the course of a career?), and classicism (how should cinematographers use new technology in light of past practice?). Taking us from the hand-cranked cameras of the silent era to the digital devices used today, the collection of original essays explores how the art of cinematography has been influenced not only by technological advances, but also by trends in the movie industry, from the rise of big-budget blockbusters to the spread of indie films.
The book also reveals the people behind the camera, profiling numerous acclaimed cinematographers from James Wong Howe to Roger Deakins. Lavishly illustrated with over 50 indelible images from landmark films, Cinematography offers a provocative behind-the-scenes look at the profession and a stirring celebration of the art form. Anyone who reads this history will come away with a fresh eye for what appears on the screen because of what happens behind it.
Cinema is a medium of light. And during Weimar Germany's advance to technological modernity, light - particularly the representational possibilities of electrical light - became the link between the cinema screen and the rapid changes that were transforming German life.In Frances Guerin's compelling history of German silent cinema of the 1920s, the innovative use of light is the pivot around which a new conception of a national cinema, and a national culture emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with light - electric billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and shows how this element of the mise-en-scene came to reflect both the opportunities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations center on use of light in films such as Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), Metropolis (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In these films we see how light is the substance of image composition, the structuring device of the narrative, and the central thematic concern. This history relieves German films of the responsibility to explain the political and ideological instability of the period, an instability said to be the uncertain foundation of Nazism. In unlocking this dubious link, A Culture of Light redefines the field of German film scholarship.
Avatar. Inception. Jurassic Park. Lord of the Rings. Ratatouille. Not only are these some of the highest-grossing films of all time, they are also prime examples of how digital visual effects have transformed Hollywood filmmaking. Some critics, however, fear that this digital revolution marks a radical break with cinematic tradition, heralding the death of serious realistic movies in favor of computer-generated pure spectacle.
Digital Visual Effects in Cinema counters this alarmist reading, by showing how digital effects–driven films should be understood as a continuation of the narrative and stylistic traditions that have defined American cinema for decades. Stephen Prince argues for an understanding of digital technologies as an expanded toolbox, available to enhance both realist films and cinematic fantasies. He offers a detailed exploration of each of these tools, from lighting technologies to image capture to stereoscopic 3D. Integrating aesthetic, historical, and theoretical analyses of digital visual effects, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema is an essential guide for understanding movie-making today.
Disappearing Tricks revisits the golden age of theatrical magic and silent film to reveal how professional magicians shaped the early history of cinema. Where others have called upon magic as merely an evocative metaphor for the wonders of cinema, Matthew Solomon focuses on the work of the professional illusionists who actually made magic with moving pictures between 1895 and 1929.
The first to reveal fully how powerfully magic impacted the development of cinema, the book combines film and theater history to uncover new evidence of the exchanges between magic and filmmaking in the United States and France during the silent period. Chapters detailing the stage and screen work of Harry Houdini and Georges Méliès show how each transformed theatrical magic to create innovative cinematic effects and thrilling new exploits for twentieth-century mass audiences. The book also considers the previously overlooked roles of anti-spiritualism and presentational performance in silent film.
Highlighting early cinema's relationship to the performing body, visual deception, storytelling, and the occult, Solomon treats cinema and stage magic as overlapping practices that together revise our understanding of the origins of motion pictures and cinematic spectacle.
Most moviegoers think of editing and special effects as distinct components of the filmmaking process. We might even conceive of them as polar opposites, since effective film editing is often subtle and almost invisible, whereas special effects frequently call attention to themselves. Yet, film editors and visual effects artists have worked hand-in-hand from the dawn of cinema to the present day.
Editing and Special/Visual Effects brings together a diverse range of film scholars who trace how the arts of editing and effects have evolved in tandem. Collectively, the contributors demonstrate how these two crafts have been integral to cinematic history, starting with the “trick films” of the early silent era, which astounded audiences by splicing in or editing out key frames, all the way up to cutting-edge effects technologies and concealed edits used to create the illusions. Throughout, readers learn about a variety of filmmaking techniques, from classic Hollywood’s rear projection and matte shots to the fast cuts and wall-to-wall CGI of the contemporary blockbuster.
In addition to providing a rich historical overview, Editing and Special/Visual Effects supplies multiple perspectives on these twinned crafts, introducing readers to the analog and digital tools used in each craft, showing the impact of changes in the film industry, and giving the reader a new appreciation for the processes of artistic collaboration they involve.
Exposing the Film Apparatus
Edited by Giovanna Fossati and Annie van den Oever Amsterdam University Press, 2016 Library of Congress TR878.E97 2016 | Dewey Decimal 777.0284
Film archives have long been dedicated to preserving movies, and they’ve been nimble in recent years in adapting to the changing formats and technologies through which cinema is now created and presented. This collection makes the case for a further step: the need to see media technologies themselves as objects of conservation, restoration, presentation, and research, in both film archives and film studies. Contributors with a wide range of expertise in the film and media world consider the practical and theoretical challenges posed by such conservation efforts and consider their potential to generate productive new possibilities in research and education in the field.
Cinema has been undergoing a profound technological shift: celluloid film is being replaced by digital media in the production, distribution, and reception of moving images. Concerned with the debate surrounding digital cinema’s ontology and the interrelationship between cinema cultures, From Light to Byte investigates the very idea of change as it is expressed in the current technological transition. Markos Hadjioannou asks what is different in the way digital movies depict the world and engage with the individual and how we might best address the issue of technological shift within media archaeologies.
Hadjioannou turns to the technical basis of the image as his first point of departure, considering the creative and perceptual activities of moviemakers and viewers. Grounded in film history, film theory, and philosophy, he explores how the digital configures its engagement with reality and the individual while simultaneously replaying and destabilizing celluloid’s own structures. He observes that, where film’s photographic foundation encourages an existential association between individual and reality, digital representations are graphic renditions of mathematical codes whose causal relations are more difficult to trace.
Throughout this work Hadjioannou examines how the two technologies set themselves up with reference to reality, physicality, spatiality, and temporality, and he concludes that the question concerning digital cinema is ultimately one of ethical implications—a question, that is, of the individual’s ability to respond to the image of the world.
What does it mean to describe cinematic effects as “movie magic,” to compare filmmakers to magicians, or to say that the cinema is all a “trick”? The heyday of stage illusionism was over a century ago, so why do such performances still serve as a key reference point for understanding filmmaking, especially now that so much of the cinema rests on the use of computers?
To answer these questions, Colin Williamson situates film within a long tradition of magical practices that combine art and science, involve deception and discovery, and evoke two forms of wonder—both awe at the illusion displayed and curiosity about how it was performed. He thus considers how, even as they mystify audiences, cinematic illusions also inspire them to learn more about the technologies and techniques behind moving images. Tracing the overlaps between the worlds of magic and filmmaking, Hidden in Plain Sight examines how professional illusionists and their tricks have been represented onscreen, while also considering stage magicians who have stepped behind the camera, from Georges Méliès to Ricky Jay.
Williamson offers an insightful, wide-ranging investigation of how the cinema has functioned as a “device of wonder” for more than a century, while also exploring how several key filmmakers, from Orson Welles to Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese, employ the rhetoric of magic. Examining pre-cinematic visual culture, animation, nonfiction film, and the digital trickery of today’s CGI spectacles, Hidden in Plain Sight provides an eye-opening look at the powerful ways that magic has shaped our modes of perception and our experiences of the cinema.
Light Image Imagination
Edited by Martha Blassnigg Amsterdam University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HD7164.5.T72 2012
The essays in this collection consider the creation, perception, and projection of images, both mental and material, and their specific relationship with light and imagination. With contributions from scholars working at the interdisciplinary intersections of art, science, and the humanities, Light Image Imagination extends disciplinary boundaries in order to amplify and enrich the current thinking about mediated images. The unique layout of the book, which juxtaposes text and image essays, is intended to stimulate dialogue and associative connections.
In the past twenty years, we have seen the rise of digital effects cinema in which the human performer is entangled with animation, collaged with other performers, or inserted into perilous or fantastic situations and scenery. Making Believe sheds new light on these developments by historicizing screen performance within the context of visual and special effects cinema and technological change in Hollywood filmmaking, through the silent, early sound, and current digital eras.
Making Believe incorporates North American film reviews and editorials, actor and crew interviews, trade and fan magazine commentary, actor training manuals, and film production publicity materials to discuss the shifts in screen acting practice and philosophy around transfiguring makeup, doubles, motion capture, and acting to absent places or characters. Along the way it considers how performers and visual and special effects crew work together, and struggle with the industry, critics, and each other to define the aesthetic value of their work, in an industrial system of technological reproduction. Bode opens our eyes to the performing illusions we love and the tensions we experience in wanting to believe in spite of our knowledge that it is all make believe in the end.
In Media Heterotopias Hye Jean Chung challenges the widespread tendency among audiences and critics to disregard the material conditions of digital film production. Drawing on interviews with directors, producers, special effects supervisors, and other film industry workers, Chung traces how the rhetorical and visual emphasis on seamlessness masks the social, political, and economic realities of global filmmaking and digital labor. In films such as Avatar (2009), Interstellar (2014), and The Host (2006)—which combine live action footage with CGI to create new hybrid environments—filmmaking techniques and "seamless" digital effects allow the globally dispersed labor involved to go unnoticed by audiences. Chung adapts Foucault's notion of heterotopic spaces to foreground this labor and to theorize cinematic space as a textured, multilayered assemblage in which filmmaking occurs in transnational collaborations that depend upon the global movement of bodies, resources, images, and commodities. Acknowledging cinema's increasingly digitized and globalized workflow, Chung reconnects digitally constructed and composited imagery with the reality of production spaces and laboring bodies to highlight the political, social, ethical, and aesthetic stakes in recognizing the materiality of collaborative filmmaking.
One of the most important avant-garde movements of postwar Paris was Lettrism, which crucially built an interest in the relationship between writing and image into projects in poetry, painting, and especially cinema. Highly influential, the Lettrists served as a bridge of sorts between the earlier works of the Dadaists and Surrealists and the later Conceptual artists.
Off-Screen Cinema is the first monograph in English of the Lettrists. Offering a full portrait of the avant-garde scene of 1950s Paris, it focuses on the film works of key Lettrist figures like Gil J Wolman, Maurice Lemaître, François Dufrêne, and especially the movement's founder, Isidore Isou, a Romanian immigrant whose “discrepant editing” deliberately uncoupled image and sound. Through Cabañas's history, we see not only the full scope of the Lettrist project, but also its clear influence on Situationism, the French New Wave, the New Realists, as well as American filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage.
Edited by Dominique Chateau and José Moure Amsterdam University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A8S37 2016 | Dewey Decimal 777.01
We live in an era of screens. No longer just the place where we view movies or watch TV at night, screens are now ubiquitous, the source of the majority of information we consume daily, and a crucial component of our basic interactions with colleagues, friends, and family. And this transformation has happened almost without us realizing it—and certainly without the full theoretical and intellectual analysis it deserves.
Screens brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to analyze the growing presence and place of screens in our lives today. They tackle such topics as the archaeology of screens, film and media theories about our interactions with them, their use in contemporary art, and the new avenues they open up for showing films and other media in non-traditional venues.
By developing the concept of the "digital effects emblem," Kristen Whissel contributes a new analytic rubric to cinema studies. An "effects emblem" is a spectacular, computer-generated visual effect that gives stunning expression to a film's key themes. Although they elicit feelings of astonishment and wonder, effects emblems do not interrupt narrative, but are continuous with story and characterization and highlight the narrative stakes of a film. Focusing on spectacular digital visual effects in live-action films made between 1989 and 2011, Whissel identifies and examines four effects emblems: the illusion of gravity-defying vertical movement, massive digital multitudes or "swarms," photorealistic digital creatures, and morphing "plasmatic" figures. Across films such as Avatar, The Matrix, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jurassic Park, Titanic, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, these effects emblems heighten the narrative drama by contrasting power with powerlessness, life with death, freedom with constraint, and the individual with the collective.
The success of movies like The Artist and Hugo recreated the wonder and magic of silent film for modern audiences, many of whom might never have experienced a movie without sound. But while the American silent movie was one of the most significant popular art forms of the modern age, it is also one that is largely lost to us, as more than eighty percent of silent films have disappeared, the victims of age, disaster, and neglect. We now know about many of these cinematic masterpieces only from the collections of still portraits and production photographs that were originally created for publicity and reference. Capturing the beauty, horror, and moodiness of silent motion pictures, these images are remarkable pieces of art in their own right. In the first history of still camera work generated by the American silent motion picture industry, David S. Shields chronicles the evolution of silent film aesthetics, glamour, and publicity, and provides unparalleled insight into this influential body of popular imagery.
Exploring the work of over sixty camera artists, Still recovers the stories of the photographers who descended on early Hollywood and the stars and starlets who sat for them between 1908 and 1928. Focusing on the most culturally influential types of photographs—the performer portrait and the scene still—Shields follows photographers such as Albert Witzel and W. F. Seely as they devised the poses that newspapers and magazines would bring to Americans, who mimicked the sultry stares and dangerous glances of silent stars. He uncovers scene shots of unprecedented splendor—visions that would ignite the popular imagination. And he details how still photographs changed the film industry, whose growing preoccupation with artistry in imagery caused directors and stars to hire celebrated stage photographers and transformed cameramen into bankable names.
Reproducing over one hundred and fifty of these gorgeous black-and-white photographs, Still brings to life an entire long-lost visual culture that a century later still has the power to enchant.
From the queasy zooms in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo to the avant-garde mystery of Michael Snow’s Wavelength, from the excitement of televised baseball to the drama of the political convention, the zoom shot is instantly recognizable and highly controversial. In The Zoom, Nick Hall traces the century-spanning history of the zoom lens in American film and television. From late 1920s silent features to the psychedelic experiments of the 1960s and beyond, the book describes how inventors battled to provide film and television studios with practical zoom lenses, and how cinematographers clashed over the right ways to use the new zooms. Hall demonstrates how the zoom brought life and energy to cinema decades before the zoom boom of the 1970s and reveals how the zoom continues to play a vital and often overlooked role in the production of contemporary film and television.