cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM ESSAY The Emergence of Filmic Artifacts by Stephen Prince

The Emergence of Filmic Artifacts

Stephen Prince

Film Quarterly, vol 57, No 3, pp 23-33 ( 2004)


The tools of digital filmmaking are transforming all aspects of cinema, including production, postproduction, and exhibition. In the process, they are altering the visual characterisitics of the moving image and changing the viewer’s perceptual understanding of the nature of cinema, leading to the emergence, for the first time in the medium’s history, of filmic artifacts.

Things get interesting from page 30 when the discussion turns to how digital video:

….”reads” a scene very differently than film does. One of the unmistakable hallmarks of DV is its clarity and depth of field. DV tends to record everything in deep focus and with extreme sharp focus, whereas varying degrees of shallow focus are the norm for images shot on film. Most shots have a limited focal plane, as determined by the speed of the film, the f-stop and the amount of light available. Even celebrated deep-focus films also include numerous shots where the focal plane is restricited. In contrast, DV produces deep focus as a kind of auto-default, and filmmakers working in the format studiously try to avoid this look.

Price wonders what Bazin, who advocated deep focus, would think of DV, suggesting he would have thought it good. But he then goes on to consider the paradox of film looking more alive than DV, despite being grainy. Films like Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest and Citizen Kane that have been digitally re-mastered for DVD have a very different feel from the film versions.

A few other important differences between film and digital are mentioned.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Bazin, cinematography, digital exhibition, digital technology, digitisation, film postproduction, film production, film [its techniques], George Melies, Siegried Kracauer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Film books: 2 GoogleBook reviews

The Material Image: Arts and the Real in Film


Brigitte Peucker

Intro. begins straight away with wiki:kracauer‘s Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960). Benjamin, Michael Fried on Courbet’s realism, Plato’s cave, rapidly follow by pages 5/6. This introduction is 16 pages, with all but the last page GoogleBooked. Malhereusement.

Chapter 1 of Siegfried Kracauer: An Introduction by Gertrud Koch.

The Salaried Masses By Siegfried Kracauer is GoogleBooked as well. It is of film interest because he also tackled the roots of nazism through a study of film in the Weimar Republic in From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film.

Siegfried Kracauer: An Introduction by Gertrud Koch

German Essays on Film
Edited by Richard W. McCormick and Alison Guenther-Pal

The Historical Film: History and Memory in Media
Edited by Marcia Landy

Projecting a Camera: Language-Games in Film Theory


Edward Branigan

December 23, 2008 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film theory, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment