Computer-generated effects are often blamed for bad Hollywood movies. Yet when a critic complains that "technology swamps storytelling" (in a review of Van Helsing, calling it "an example of everything that is wrong with Hollywood computer-generated effects movies"), it says more about the weakness of the story than the strength of the technology. In Digital Storytelling, Shilo McClean shows how digital visual effects can be a tool of storytelling in film, adding narrative power as do sound, color, and "experimental" camera angles -- other innovative film technologies that were once criticized for being distractions from the story. It is time, she says, to rethink the function of digital vis...
Cinematic Appeals follows the effect of technological innovation on the cinema experience, specifically the introduction of widescreen and stereoscopic 3D systems in the 1950s, the rise of digital cinema in the 1990s, and the transition to digital 3D since 2005. Widescreen films drew the spectator into the world of the screen, enabling larger-than-life close-ups of already larger-than-life actors. The technology fostered the illusion of physically entering a film, enhancing the semblance of realism. Alternatively, the digital era was less concerned with manipulating the viewer's physical response and more with generating information flow, awe, disorientation, and the disintegration of spatial boundaries. This study ultimately shows how cinematic technology and the human experience shape and respond to each other over time. Films discussed include Elia Kazan's East of Eden (1955), Star Wars: Phantom Menace (1999), The Matrix (1999), and Thomas Vinterberg's Dogme film Celebration (1995).
We live in a world at risk. Dire predictions about our future or the demise of planet earth persist. Even fictional representations depict narratives of decay and the end of a commonly shared social reality. Along with recurring Hollywood blockbusters that imagine the end of the world, there has been a new wave of zombie features as well as independent films that offer various visions of the future. The Apocalypse in Film: Dystopias, Disasters, and Other Visions about the End of the World offers an overview of Armageddon in film from the silent era to the present. This collection of essays discusses how such films reflect social anxieties—ones that are linked to economic, ecological, and c...
With the recent release of spectacular blockbuster films from Gladiator to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the epic has once again become a major form in contemporary cinema. This new volume in the AFI Film Readers series explores the rebirth of the epic film genre in the contemporary period, a period marked by heightened and conflicting appeals to national, ethnic, and religious belonging.The orginal essays in this volume explore the tension between the evolving global context of film production and reception and the particular provenance of the epic as an expression of national mythology and aspirations, challenging our understanding of epics produced in the present as well as our perception of epic films from the past. The contributors will explore new critical approaches to contemporary as well as older epic films, drawing on ideas from cultural studies, historiography, classics, and film studies.
With the success of Gladiator, both critics and scholars enthusiastically announced the return of a genre which had lain dormant for thirty years. However, this return raises important new questions which remain unanswered. Why did the epic come back, and why did it fall out of fashion? Are these the same kinds of epics as the 1950s and 60s, or are there aesthetic differences? Can we treat Kingdom of Heaven, 300 and Thor indiscriminately as one genre? Are non-Western histories like Hero and Mongol epics, too? Finally, what precisely do we mean when we talk about the return of the epic film, and why are they back? The Return of the Epic Film offers a fresh way of thinking about a body of films which has dominated our screens for a decade. With contributions from top scholars in the field, the collection adopts a range of interdisciplinary perspectives to explore the epic film in the twenty-first century.
For over a century, movies have played an important role in our lives, entertaining us, often provoking conversation and debate. Now, with the rise of digital cinema, audiences often encounter movies outside the theater and even outside the home. Traditional distribution models are challenged by new media entrepreneurs and independent film makers, usergenerated video, film blogs, mashups, downloads, and other expanding networks. Reinventing Cinemaexamines film culture at the turn of this century, at the precise moment when digital media are altering our historical relationship with the movies. Spanning multiple disciplines, Chuck Tryon addresses the interaction between production, distribution, and reception of films, television, and other new and emerging media.Through close readings of trade publications, DVD extras, public lectures by new media leaders, movie blogs, and YouTube videos, Tryon navigates the shift to digital cinema and examines how it is altering film and popular culture.
Wisdom from the best and the brightest in the industry, this visual effects bible belongs on the shelf of anyone working in or aspiring to work in VFX. The book covers techniques and solutions all VFX artists/producers/supervisors need to know, from breaking down a script and initial bidding, to digital character creation and compositing of both live-action and CG elements. In-depth lessons on stereoscopic moviemaking, color management and digital intermediates are included, as well as chapters on interactive games and full animation authored by artists from EA and Dreamworks respectively. From predproduction to acquisition to postproduction, every aspect of the VFX production workflow is given prominent coverage. VFX legends such as John Knoll, Mike Fink, and John Erland provide you with invaluable insight and lessons from the set, equipping you with everything you need to know about the entire visual effects workflow. Simply a must-have book for anyone working in or wanting to work in the VFX industry.