Moving Image Theory
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
Download PDF (26.2 KB)
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Download PDF (67.6 KB)
Download PDF (47.0 KB)
Download PDF (63.5 KB)
WHAT PROCESSES ENABLE us to perceive, comprehend, and respond emotionally to mov-Here, in gross outline, is one answer. As humans we have evolved certain capacitiesand predispositions, ranging from perceptual ones (biological mechanisms for obtain-ing information about the world we live in) to social ones (e.g., affinities with and cu-riosity about other humans). By exercising these capacities and predispositions and by...
Download PDF (62.6 KB)
Muddles and misconceptions prevail. We are led to conceive a sort of apparatus insidethe head that is similar to the apparatus for making a picture show outside the head. Wehave been taught that a picture is sent up to the brain and so we conclude that a series ofpictures can be sent up to the brain. We all know what a snapshot is, and we know that afilm is a series of snapshots. If we are told that a movie presents us with a sequence of...
Part One. Information Available in Moving Images
THE CONCEPT OF information is central to ecological psychology. It is a precise term thatdenotes arrays of energy that are patterned and quantifiable; a discussion of the infor-mation available in moving images seems an appropriate place to begin.James E. Cutting in “Perceiving Scenes in Film and in the World” notes that moviesare not really very much like the world. Movie space and time are different, and things...
1. Perceiving Scenes in Film and in the World
Download PDF (111.5 KB)
THE REAL WORLD is spatially and temporally continuous; film is not. We evolved in acontinuous world and, regardless of how much we may enjoy them, we emphaticallydid not evolve to watch movies. Instead, movies evolved, at least in part, to match ourcognitive and perceptual dispositions. The result is a curious melange of short shots withinstantaneous camera jumps between them, something not at all like the rest of the world...
2. The Value of Oriented Geometry for Ecological Psychology and Moving Image Art
Download PDF (246.4 KB)
SCIENTISTS AND ARTISTS share the same environmental habitat (roughly, where they live)but occupy distinct, somewhat intersecting econiches (roughly, how they live). Althoughevolving within the same natural frame, their arenas of life are so dramatically differ-ent—the former tending toward the rational and the latter toward the expressive—thatno easy comparison can be made of their methods or content. Yet, they have much in...
Part Two. Perception of Simulated Human Motion
Download PDF (51.8 KB)
BY THE END of the twentieth century, the film-theory establishment had lost its faithin realism. In the waning decades, film theorists became increasingly entrenched in theirbelief that reality itself is a construct of language and culture. The digital technologiesof the 1990s that made possible the synthetic construction of images seemed to renderobsolete any notions of a photographable reality. In the end, neither reality nor motion...
3. Creating Realistic Motion
Download PDF (192.7 KB)
Jessica K. Hodgins, James F. O’Brien, Nancy S. Pollard, RobertPEOPLE ARE SKILLED at perceiving the subtle details of human motion. We can, for ex-ample, often identify friends by the style of their walk when they are too far away to berecognizable otherwise. As a result of this skill, we have high standards for the motionof virtual human actors. If synthesized human motion is to be compelling, the virtual...
4. Perceiving Human Motion in Synthesized Images
Download PDF (67.5 KB)
THE GOAL OF special-effects animators is to create on the computer portions of an eventthat can be intercut or composited with other portions of the event that were shot inlive action, such that the computer-generated portions of the event are indistinguish-able from the live-action portions. To achieve this goal is no small accomplishment, yetmost of the feature films we see contain computer animation, and a good portion of...
Part Three. Acoustic Events
Download PDF (50.9 KB)
A SOUND-EFFECTS EDITOR for a motion picture begins his work by viewing a scene inwhich people are moving about on the screen, interacting with each other and withobjects and structures in their environment. And usually the sounds of their footsteps,their opening and closing of doors, their pouring and drinking of liquids, as well as theroar of their engines, the squealing of their tires, and the blasts of their guns, have been...
5. Background Tracks in Recent Cinema
Download PDF (91.7 KB)
WHAT WE HEAR affects what we see. Each of the three kinds of movie sound—voice,background sounds, and music—has important functions in our experience of film nar-ratives. Though background sound was used only sparingly until the late 1960s—no-table exceptions occur in films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window—in the last threedecades, new technologies have made it central to how narratives function. Sound edi-...
6. Acoustic Specification of Object Properties
Download PDF (175.3 KB)
A BOTTLE SITS unseen on the kitchen counter. Your elbow clips it inadvertently and sendsit hurtling towards the floor. As you cringe, waiting for the crash, what you hear is nota shattering mess but a harmless bounce. The impact of glass on linoleum has set thematerials into vibration, generating compression waves in the air. Somehow, from thissound structure, you know that the bottle did not break. Moreover, the people listen-...
Part Four. Information in Facial Expression
EYES FLASHING OR twinkling, lips moist or dry, smiling or scowling, looming large andsharing our personal space, the human face in close-up is cinema’s unique gift and itsgreatest delight. The power of the close-up was not immediately obvious to early film-makers, but they caught on quickly. By the fall of 1915, the close-up was sufficientlyrealized that Hugo Munsterberg, renowned psychologist and recent cinephile, was moved...
7. Three Views of Facial Expression and Its Understandingin the Cinema
Download PDF (146.5 KB)
THE POPULARITY OF American mainstream movies has been immense over virtually thewhole world since the 1920s. As is known, part of the success is best explained by eco-nomic push factors, such as affluent production and distribution, and the ubiquity ofthe English language and American culture. However, there must also be something inthis cinema that attracts such large audiences. Imaginary wish-fulfillment has often been...
8. Facial Motion as a Cue to Identity
Download PDF (135.5 KB)
THE HUMAN FACE provides the most reliable and accessible means of person identifica-tion1—more reliable than other sources such as voice or gait (see later this chapter). Eachof us can recognize thousands of different faces, an amazing feat when we consider howsimilar human faces are. All human faces conform to the same basic configuration of eyesabove nose above mouth, constrained by mechanical functions such as eating and breath-...
Part Five. Coupling of Perception and Emotion
Download PDF (50.9 KB)
IN THE 1990S, when cognitive film theory (remember that cognitive in the field of filmstudies broadly denotes an approach to film study that seeks to incorporate the find-ings and methods of science into the study of film) was just beginning to gain momen-tum, it was generally thought that such an approach could deal only with conscious andrational responses to film and that emotional or nonrational responses would be ad-...
9. Film Lighting and Mood
Download PDF (80.1 KB)
LIGHTING IS ONE of the most powerful means of creating effect in films. The researchon lighting as a means of creating effect has mainly been pragmatic and based on single-case observations. Different cinematographers have commented on their experimentswith different types of lighting (cf. e.g., Mankiewitz 1986; Schaefer & Salvato, 1984),just as handbooks in film interpretation and film production (cf. Bordwell & Thomp-...
10. Cinematic Creation of Emotion
Download PDF (137.4 KB)
THE DYNAMICS OF emotion that govern responses to actual situations versus to cinematicpresentations thereof may be much the same. There is ample research evidence that dem-onstrates considerable commonality in the mediation of affect by the two formats (Zill-mann, 2000a). However, one principal condition exists that sets cinematic storytellingapart from alternative means of relating chains of events, and this condition proves to...
Part Six. Appeals of Reality-Based Moving Images
IN THE 1970S and 1980s, as if in reaction to the strong case for realism set forth byAndré Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer at mid-century, film-studies scholars alternately at-tacked, ignored, and redefined realism until by the last decade of the twentieth century,filmic realism was considered a non-issue in film studies. It had been shorn of both itsearlier purported direct link with physical reality and its special credibility with regard...
11. Documentary’s Peculiar Appeals
Download PDF (102.5 KB)
ONE OF THE most affecting movie sequences I have ever seen is the opening of RobertGardner’s documentary about India, Forest of Bliss (1985). In it, an extremely emaci-ated and very bedraggled-looking mongrel is set upon by a pack of more-robust dogs.The lone mongrel tries to run away, but the pack catches it and brings it down. Themongrel whimpers and cowers submissively, but the pack attacks it relentlessly. Finally,...
12. Reality Programming: Evolutionary Models of Film and Television Viewership
Download PDF (88.4 KB)
READING IS NOT dead, but it is practiced by a steadily decreasing percentage of Ameri-cans. The consumption of books, newspapers, and magazines is becoming an elite ac-tivity, still practiced by some educated and relatively affluent citizens but increasinglyeschewed by others. At the same time, a sizable and steadily growing percentage of theworld’s population has become heavy consumers of television and film....
Part Seven. Events, Symbols, and Metaphors
IN THE SENSES Considered as Perceptual Systems (1966), James J. Gibson wrote:There is a curious paradox about a picture—it is neither a pure display onthe one hand nor a pure deception on the other. The stimulus conveys in-formation for both what it is physically and what it stands for. (235)When viewing a motion picture, we are constantly in alternation between seeing the...
13. Through Alice’s Glass: The Creation and Perception of Other Worlds in Movies, Pictures, and Virtual Reality
Download PDF (81.2 KB)
WE TAKE OUR seats, sit back, and prepare to be enthralled. In the coming “two hours’traffic of our stage,” we will see people, places, objects, and events. They are familiar—they are ours, from this planet, this life. We understand what we see. But wait! The actoris twenty feet tall. She is flat and trapped on a surface that slopes away to one side. Sheis in focus, but the landscape surrounding her is not. We see her face, then her back,...
14. Metaphors in Movies
Download PDF (103.0 KB)
IN THE OPENING of Memento (2001), a murderer kills his victim with a gunshot. Butthe scenes run backwards. The blood rises to the wound. The wound heals. The victimgets up. The murderer pockets his gun. The killer and the target separate and retreat theirTime’s arrow is reversed at the start of a movie about a manhunter who can no longerform lasting memories. He has a few notes to guide himself. Plus he swiftly interprets...
Download PDF (60.2 KB)
Download PDF (45.9 KB)
Download PDF (396.5 KB)
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2007