Aesthetic Elements of the Cinematographic Image

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Often the cinematographic elements of a film are seen only as a conduit for communicating narrative, rather than embodying aspects of meaning in the way that they are constructed.

Traditional film studies has always had a literary bias, with a fixation on narrative, character and the thematic ideas underpinning stories. The technicalities of cinematography were often seen as a means to an end, i.e. to get the story on the screen. Few writers explore the construction of the images themselves. Cinematographic images can simply convey narrative information to audiences, placing us in a location or showing us an action, alternatively they can communicate meaning in the way they are constructed. Composition, movement and light can all imply meaning that is distinct from the events being filmed.

The limited writing on cinematography as a means of communication includes Nilsen's account of the artistic responsibilities of the cinematographer (1937), Russell's analysis of style markers in lighting (1981), and Cormack's brief breakdown of components of cinematographic style; camera movement, camera distance, camera angle and lighting (1994). Some theorists have attempted to categorize shot types, notably Mitry (1963) Deleuze (1983), and Bordwell (2005), whilst others discuss one particular style, for example, Bazin and 'deep-focus' (1947).

Nilsen defined three stages in the evolution of cinematography, reproductional, pictorial and representational (1937). Whereas Nilsen considers these as a chronological evolution of cinematographic art, I consider them as continuing, parallel methods of applying cinematographic technique. Reproductional cinematography's only function is to record events that are happening in front of the camera, whereas representational cinematography uses elements of the image's construction to communicate meaning.

To consider the cinematographic image in detail, it is important to objectively separate elements of the cinematographic image from any preconceived notions of function or meaning. Meaning arises from the combination of the technique and the specific context of its use, described by Durgnat as "content-style" (1967). Carroll further argues that approaching the analysis of an individual film via general notions of style, whether they are genre, period or the personal style of individual filmmakers, distorts or limits our view of that film (2003). Carroll calls for a more objective approach.

A number of writers have attempted to list separate elements of the cinematographic image (Lindgren 1948, Spottiswoode 1950, Arnheim 1957, Bordwell and Thompson 1990, Aumont et al 1992), and whilst there are many similarities in these lists, there are gaps and omissions, there are also comparable differences, particularly with terminology, and a number of the earlier examples need updating, partly due to changing technologies.

By synthesizing, editing and updating the numerous attempts that have been made by other writers I will create an objective, and complete taxonomy of elements of the cinematographic image. My aim is to provide a comprehensive, yet workable, analytical tool, which, combined with an awareness of the nature of the application of cinematographic techniques, will aid in a richer analysis of cinematographic images within individual films.
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
StatwsHeb ei gyhoeddi - 4 Ebr 2019
DigwyddiadCinematography in Progress: 3rd International Conference on Teaching and Researching Cinematography - Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema & Sound (RITCS), and INSAS , Brussels, Gwlad Belg
Hyd: 4 Apr 20196 Apr 2019
https://www.imago.org/index.php/education/item/857-about-the-conference-teaching-cinematography.html

Cynhadledd

CynhadleddCinematography in Progress
Gwlad/TiriogaethGwlad Belg
DinasBrussels
Cyfnod4/04/196/04/19
Cyfeiriad rhyngrwyd

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