Digital media and the cinematic perspective

The interactivity and immersion, which allows digital graphics, could lead to the long term for the downfall of the film as a mass medium. After the movie come the computer games or "Hyperfilm" in analogy to hypertexts. Jay David Bolter sees in computer games but also a continuation of filming. Maybe the traditional linear film, which controls the view of the audience, could find a niche as once the painting against the competition of photography as a critique of interactive and immersive techniques a niche.

At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Larry Hodges and his employees flooded unearthly a fascinating experiment with the virtual reality. With your VR system, the test person sets like a "Data goggles" On and then suddenly surrounded by a computer-generated world – in this case from a world of highest places: a balcony over a strain, a rope bridge, which moves on a hazardous way over a skyscraper taste, and an open elevator in the high foyer of a virtual hotel. The temporary person can explore this virtual environment. In the lift, for example, he can print a button and let it drive up to the ground flour of the hotel 40 floors. You can print another button and let the lift down.

Digital media and the cinematic perspective

Unusual with this experiment was that all subjects suffered from Hohengest. One wanted to find out if these people react to the virtual high with dizziness, tail and shaky knees. The experiment works. People with Hohangst feeling almost as much fear in the virtual room as in the real world. They are afraid, although it is not a very realistic scene, though even the shapes are very simple and the colors artificially bright and the atmosphere does not perceive. To a certain extent, people have to believe that they are really in a lift or stand on a balcony. You have to perceive that you are in these virtual rooms.

This project addresses the fear. By fearing the test persons scared, it is looking for a convincing proof of virtual prasence. The goal of the virtual realitat is generally to produce a feeling of prasence in us, which we also have when we move in the real world. And the project over Hohengest shows how we can have similar sensations in the virtual room as in real space. The project is not just a computer program, but you can also understand it as a very short and simple cinematic drama, as a visual calculation, which is reported from the perspective of the first person and in which the subject plays the only and the main role. During the test perspective, she constitutes the calculation and unfolds the story of her fear.

This virtual drama has in film history has a unique predecessor: the famous input scene of Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo. In the first seconds of this movie slips Scotty, represented by James Stewart, on a steep roof and then hangs on the gutter. When he looks into the deep-lower strain, Scotty suffers a dizziness. The viewer looks in a famous attitude by the eyes of Scotty and feels his fear. If the spectator looks down, the distance from the strain seems to increase and decrease at the same time. Scotty tries not to fall down, and is pulled down at the same time. The same happens at the viewer.

The project over Hohenangst and Hitchock’s film Vertigo both have a performer who experiences something about himself through his fear. The goal of the project is the overwind of the Hohenstalk. It was made to help the subjects by extinguishing them high in a well-loaded manner, which is opposite a recognized clinical therapy form for phobia. Also in Vertigo His fear, even if this is not done by a gradual exposure to high, but through an impressive and shocking revelation at the end of the film.

Computer graphics and film influence themselves

Digital media and the cinematic perspective

The thematic connection of a scientific experiment in the virtual reality with a well-known movie Hitchcocks points to a complex relationship between the cinema and the new digital technologies. Computer graphics are already the main technological advances for the movie since the introduction of the color or maybe the sound. Today there are computer graphics in the movie. They seem to have overcome the power over the asthetics of the usual Hollywoodfilm. Nevertheless, there is also an influence in the reverse direction: The film helps in determining cultural importance and practical application of the new digital techniques. Just like any other visual art form of 20. For the century, the film has taught us new views. These cinematic views understood an influence on the production and application of digital technologies such as virtual reality and computer games. Our understanding of these virtual environments is sometimes represented by our long experience with the movie.

In particular, virtual realitat and computer games continued the perspective of the first person or the subjective camera techniques of the film. A virtual environment is indeed nothing other than a transformation in the perspective: it puts the viewer in the center of the graphic world and invites him to explore this world from his perspective. For decades, the subjective camera had put the viewers to the center of a cinematic world, and the modern film is still when no subjective camera is used, a transformation into transforming and initial perspectives.

The perspective in the digital technology

Until recently, it was not obvious that computers possess the possibility of producing perspective visual experiences. Computers were in no way as visual technologies. Fifty years ago, the computer was designed to loose computational problems for scientists and technicians, and during the last decades, especially since the 1980s the PC and the word processing have been introduced, we understood the computer as a technology for storing, processing and processing Represent information in the form of words and numbers, D.H. as writing technology. With the youngest successes, however, in computer graphics, we must now not only have to understand him as a writing technology, but also as a technology of seeing.

The history of computer graphics goes back to experiments in the 50s and 60s, but only recently, digital graphics techniques for a rough number of users were affordable through cheap drawing and rendering programs and good PCs. Computers have also been more and more important for special effects in film and television in the last two decades. Any new cartoon of Disney is, for example, another demonstration of the possibilities of computer graphics, and these films have a huge influence on the contemporary world of entertainment. Disney’s animations show the computer graphics many millions or even hundreds of millions of people who will become indirect users of computer graphics. Have far more spectators Toy story or Jurassic Park seen when humans have been sitting in front of a computer and used a word processing program.

But the representation of digital graphics is just part of the story. Graphics can be used in traditional films for producing special effects, but in such films there are still the usual relationship between the spectator and the pictures on the projection wall. Even a movie like Toy story, which consists of computer-generated images, is still a conventional film with a conventional calculation. It is much more important that the user can open a certain degree of control over the pictures that the computer can make digital images interactively.

The control by the viewer is in a so-called "Immersive virtual realitat" as the above-described project above Hohengest at the most obvious. Here, the viewer carries a helmet with two small monitors in front of his eyes, so that he only sees what the computer wants to see him. Uberdies there is a tracking system in the helmet. When the user moves or turns his head, the tracking system divides this to the computer that then changes the scene according to the new perspective of the viewer. Therefore, the viewer controls the view through the simplest interface technology – by turning his head. The viewer therefore sees a perspective film in which he himself is the director and cameraman.

Immersive virtual realitat leads to a new relationship between the viewer and the graphic representation, but it remains expensive and bulky. Computer graphic worlds can also be generated on normal computer screens. Although the normal screen is flat and does not occupy the entire viewing field of the viewer, graphics can produce a virtue of prasence on it, which is in the popularity of computer games like Dome or Myst shows, which are also perspective exercises. In Myst For example, the player is alone on a foreign island. His job is to explore the island and uncover your secret. thats why Myst a detective film in which everyone has disappeared the detective. The player sees everything from his perspective, and the world he sees is threatening, which reminds us of the film Noir or other film genres. How other well-known computer games is Myst Beways cinematic. The use of the cinema "Subjective camera", And even introductory subtitles and background music are used as the normal film. We understand and skate Myst That’s exactly why we know what happens in detective films.

Computer graphics have borrowed the perspective of the traditional film – but with an important difference. In the traditional cinema control and cut the camera and thus at all times the view. The essence of the film-cut is a carefully controlled sequence of views, which the director and the editors, but not the actors, as the "Authors" a movie appears. In interactive digital graphics, the view is no longer "authoritarian" controlled. The viewer will become the author of his own film, and this paradox reminds us of a similar paradox in the relationship of a verbal hypertext for normal talkerative fiction.

The hypertext also understood how many literary critics have recognized the control of the author on the reader. Normally, a hypertext consists of many relatively short talking passages, which are connected by electronic links. Even if the author constructs the links, the reader decides which he should follow in every passage. Since the succession of links determines the order in which the text passages are present, the reader shares the control of the calculation with the author. Actually, the reader explores a textual space from reading points, as well as the viewer in the virtual realitat explores a visual room through around and turning his head. Verbal hypertext and interactive graphics are thus a challenge for the concept of authorship. The hypertext behaves for literature such as interactive graphics to the film, because both in the literature and in the film means the incoming authorship, it makes the view and ultimately the view.

The reaction of the cinema

The new perspective technologies can be understood as a threat to the traditional experience of the cinema. As soon as viewers accept the interactivity of computer games, they will probably no longer succeed the conventions of a linear movie. How could filmmakers react to this challenge?

In this context, it makes sense to consider how writers responded to the beginning of verbal hypertexts. Some good authors have accepted the challenge and a significant hypertexts. For example, Michael Joayce with his future "afternoon". Other important writers were open and started to experiment. Robert Coover, the short stories and novels, became a kind of champion of the hypertext in the USA. But most have just had the hypertext auber eight and continue to write linear prose. Probably write your texts with a word processor, but you have no written that you read in the electronic medium yourself. Many authors have, if they have taken note of hypertexts, they were paired. For example, the novelist said Annie Proulx, DAB "Nobody will read a novel on a flickering screen. Never." However, the cinema does not follow this short-sighted orientation of literary fiction. Interactive computer graphics can be considered as a possibility to expand the creative range of cinemas to at least two ways.

The first possibility for traditional filmmakers is to produce interactive films. Most of the present interactive "Movie", D.H. the games are made by people who can program them and produce graphics, but have no cinematic competences. These games like Myst, Doom and many others are, as already said, be moved cinematically, but they imitate the large part of the popular Hollywoodfilm, probably because they just knows him. They do not stop the possibilities of the medium as the independent filmmaker could. However, some filmmakers and media artists are already beginning to explore the possibilities of the interactive video. But that does not shuffle with the experiments.

Is right that creative filmmakers have to face a new challenge, just because they do not have their control of the order of images and scenes with an interactive movie or video anymore. The filmmaker sees himself, as already said, confronted with the same problem as the writer, which creates a hypertext: both have to give up the exact check on a level and redefine their task at a higher level. In a hypertext, the writer designs a space of reading points. In a "Hyperfilm" If the filmmaker is rather architectural: he will design a space of reading and eye-minding, a visual world through which the viewer can move. To transform this visual world into an expansion will be difficult, but the interactive filmmakers do not give up all the control in this process. For example, as in the hypertext, it can make short video-legged and then install links so that the viewer can move through them in many ways. Likewise, a literary hypertext works, and so the opposite video games also work. The task of the filmmaker lies in the restriction and design of the views, while he offers the viewer meaningful decisions.

There is another possible response to the interactive digital technologies from the cinema. The traditional film can maintain its linear character and the relationship of the author to the audience, while at the same time learning from digital technology. The traditional linear movie can criticize both cars as well as they. Following the example of the digital technology, filmmakers were able to decide to use the subjective camera of Ofter. Spectators who are familiar with computer games could also skate a coarse number of perspective recordings in the movie. On the other hand, the cinema was able to decide to rebellize against the subjective camera as an objection to the excesses of computer games. If this makes this over a way, the cinema became the same role as in the past – and criticize the usual ways of seeing in our culture.

But we have to realize that our culture at the end of the 20. Century is very heterogeneous: There is no solution that will satisfy every cultural requirement. This is obvious in the visual art. Some are prefer to watch movies in which they see pictures in a fixed order as for a century. Other (or maybe the same at another time) will want to interact with pictures in a new way. There will be a variety of creative opportunities for visual media. At the end of this spectrum is the traditional cinema, where the filmmaker holds the full control. At the other end, there will be VR worlds in which the viewer has a rough freedom for the wandering. Between these extreme possibilities of a common control. The filmmaker can offer alternatives and the viewer can decide between them. But always legitimate visual and artistic experiences will be possible.

From the English translated by Florian Rotzer

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