Wednesday, 7 May 2014

High Framerate Cinema: continuity and change in discourses of immersiveness

The Digital in Depth:
An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Depth in Digital Media

Friday 30th May, 2014
Hosted by the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department of Film and Television Studies, Millburn House, University of Warwick.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lisa Purse (University of Reading, Author of Digital Imaging in Popular Cinema and Contemporary Action Cinema)

This symposium explores the ways in which depth imagery is constructed and consumed in contemporary digital practices, and the ways in which we might interpret it. Most digital platforms’ content is consumed through flat screens and yet many of their aesthetics seem anxious to convey the illusion of depth. This curious and ubiquitous paradox is visible, for example, in digital cinema’s most recent spate of 3-D films and the institutional dimensionality of videogames’ fictional environments through which the player wanders. In computing, also, user interfaces and head-up displays demonstrate a renegotiated relationship to the image that is dependent on deep spaces made immediately accessible for spectators and users.

The symposium investigates the different media that characterise contemporary culture and the aesthetic, cultural and political implications of their digital depth. How is this illusion of depth constructed, and to what ends? The symposium will investigate avenues through which academia might read and interpret both these images and the changing mediascape of which they are a part. It will also ask what these digital constructions of depth demonstrate about the changing culture that they help to construct.

David Woods will be presenting a paper on HFR in this event. High Framerate Cinema (HFR) is promoted as a leap forward in the cinema experience. This paper will illustrate how some of the claims made by its creators echo very closely those surrounding the introduction of widescreen processes in the 1950s. Chief amongst these is the promise of increased immersiveness, an idea which is of course also associated with 3D. However, then as now immersiveness proves to be a complex and contradictory notion in promotional and popular discourse, and the outlines of its principal meanings will be charted. While some of the issues raised by the term have remained constant across the period, the paper argues that the psychovisual characteristics of HFR do point to new configurations between cinema and other media platforms, specifically television and videogames, and prompt further investigation of the potential for new forms of onscreen presence. Moreover, these characteristics can operate in combination with other technologies such as 3D or IMAX but are autonomous from them, suggesting the possibility of an increasingly intricate and diverse media landscape.


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