Midterm Study Notes for History of the Moving Image.docx

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Western University
Visual Arts History
Visual Arts History 2284E

Precinema and the Cinema of Attractions 1) Plato’s cave - Plato’s hypothetical of prisoners bound in a cave who can see the shadows of other prisoners behind them (who they cannot see) projected on the wall in front of them because of a fire. - First historical mention of “the moving image” - Spectator (the prisoners) screen (the wall) projection (the shadows created by the light of the fire) moving images (movement of the shadows/ prisoners) 2) Panorama - (1787 -) - Large paintings, which tell a story, painted in circular, purpose-built rooms that the viewer experiences from the center of the room and moves around to follow the story. - The viewer cannot experience the entire painting without moving making movement an important aspect of the work. 3) Magic Lantern - (1659 -) - Early type of image projector where a light (oil lamp/candle) is reflected off a mirror and projected through an image on a slide and then a lens that enlarges the image. - Still images but moved quickly to produce moving images th 4) 19 century optics - Experiments in optics contributed to the scientific and technological origins of cinema 5) Thaumatrope - (1825) - A disk with an image on both sides and attached to two strings. When the strings are twirled quickly between the viewers fingers the image blurs into a single image - Contributed to the theory of the persistence of vision 6) Persistence of vision th - Popular theory in the 19 century - A way of explaining how the eye and the brain connect a series of static images to form the impression of smooth movement. - The eye keeps an “afterimage” for 1/25 of a second on the retina. Thus a sequence of images hitting the eye at a speed greater then th 1/25 of a second would create the illusion of movement. - Since then disproved (1912) 7) Phenakistoscope - A spinning disk attached to a vertical handle. Around the edge of the disk were a series of drawings showing an animation. Between each animation was an evenly spaced slit. The viewer would spin the device and watch the slits through a mirror. - Created the illusion of a moving animation. 8) Zoetrope - A cylinder with vertical slits cut evenly around the sides. A series of sequenced animations on the inside of the cylinder. The viewer would spin the cylinder and look through the slits to see the illusion of a moving image. 9) Muybridge’s photography - Muybridge took a series of photographs of a horse running at timed intervals to settle the question of whether a horses feet are ever all off of the ground at once - A series of images taken to capture movement 10)Marey’s Chronophotographic gun - Used a camera-gun device to take a series of photographs of birds in flight, at timed intervals, to capture their movement 11)Celluloid - Early moving image experiments were captured on paper film which was extremely fragile - Celluloid film stock was invented in 1889. It was flexible, durable, and transparent so light could easily pass through it. - Began all experiments in film which led to modern cinema 12) Kinetograph - Large device where the viewer would look through a single peephole. The illusion of movement was created by a single piece of perforated film with sequential images on it moving over a light wit a high-speed shutter. - First example of a modern day device for this purpose - Next was the cinematograph, which was lighter and projected and developed film with better illumination and clearer images. 13)Cinematic Apparatus - Theory that cinema is by nature ideological because its mechanics of representation (camera, editing, spectator’s perspective, etc) are ideological. - Cinema maintains the dominant ideology of the culture within the viewer. - The particular film projector, screen and seating arrangement 14)Actuality film - Early cinema - Non-fiction and uses footage from real places of real events as they happen - Usually no longer then 2-5 minutes - Stationary camera - The Lumiere Brothers 15)Trick Film - Developed by Melies - Cinema which told short stories or jokes - Ex. “stop trick” - an object was filmed and then the camera was turned off the object was removed and the camera was turned back on creating the illusion of the object disappearing - Soon beat out actuality film in its popularity 16)Narrative/non-narrative dichotomy - Divide between narrative film and non-narrative film 17)Cinema of Attractions - Exhibitionist cinema (pleasure derived from being looked at) the recurring look at the camera by actors meant to establish contact with the audience - Solicits confrontation as opposed to diegetic (screen-world) absorption - Displays its visibility and breaks the fictional world - Directly solicits the attention of the spectator - Fictional situations restricted to gags - Emphasizes shock or surprise - Films shown in vaudeville theatres –exhibitions shows a lack of concern for sufficient narratives 18)Hale’s Tours - Nickelodeon –first type of indoor exhibition space dedicated to showing motion pictures - “Illusion ride” (ex. Train cars and watched a projection that appeared to be the view out of a train window) The Institution of Cinema and Critiquing Cultural Industry 1) Nickelodeons - Indoor space dedicated to showing motion pictures - 5 cent admission - Overtook vaudeville theatres in popularity (between 1906 and 1908 the United States went from having 1000 nickelodeons to 6000) 2) The legitimate theatre - Higher price of admission, more seats, comfortable for longer viewing time (multi-reel films) - Seen as more “respectable to the upper and middle class 3) Procenium arch - The area of a theatre surrounding the stage opening (arch over this area) 4) Fourth wall - Imaginary barrier between the viewing subject and the world of representation (defined by the frame) 5) The film industry before 1907 - Exhibition: nickelodeons - Distribution: Films rented by exhibitors from distribution companies (exchanges) - Production: Camera man system of production 6) The Cameraman system of production - Films largely the creation of one individual – the cameraman 7) Vertical Integration - Company is organized so that it oversees a product through the planning/development/production and market distribution to the end - MPPC marks the first attempt at vertical integration in the film industry 8) Motion Pictures Patents Company (1908-1915) - MPPC - A trust (merger) of all major American film companies in 1908 in attempt to monopolize the American film industry - Exhibition: Business moved away from Nickelodeons and into converted stage theatres (many owned by the MPPC) - Distribution: Creates a General Film Company and buys 48 key exchanges to monopolize distribution - Production: movement towards Assembly Line Production and away from the Director System (One director overseeing specialized workers in a collaborative model of production) 9) Director-unit system - Companies had several “Director-Units” each having a separate group of workers - Directors were given detailed budgets, allowances, and instructions by scenario departments - Designed for maximum efficiency and standardization of quality - Limits director creativity 10)Studio Era (1930-1949) - The Big 5: Warner Bros., Lowe’s MGM, Fox, Paramount, RKO - The Little 3: Columbia, Universal, United Artists - Exhibition: Big 5 owned 70% of first-run movie theatres (most exhibition revenue) - Distribution: Big 5 would book their own films first, then those of the little 3. - Production: Producer-unit system 11)Producer-unit system - Head of production runs the studio - Strict division of labour 12)The Culture Industry - “Turns all participants into listeners and authoritatively subjects them to broadcast programs which are all exactly the same.” (1224) - Leisure Time - Adorno and Horkheimer - Modern capitalism organizes and homogenizes culture, giving cultural consumers less freedom to construct their own meanings - Mass culture as dictated by formula and repetition, encouraging conformity, promoting passivity, and promoting pseudoindividuality - Pleasure is a means not to think about anything and forget suffering 13)Critical Theory - Seeks to give social agents critical purchase on what is normally taken for granted - Promotes self-determining society by dispelling the illusions of ideology - Critical and self-critical awareness 14)Passive spectator - Takes pleasure in images while ignoring their production/reality - Does not practice critical theory - Identification: Spectators align themselves with characters on the screen. Narrative represses the “real space” of the spectator in favour of “illusionistic space of the character
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