ahrc uwe heritage ace watershed sws bristol

From Capture to Display - Digital Cinema Aesthetics and Workflows

A one-day symposium that discussed the effect of digital technology on cinema production. The symposium featured a number of speakers of varying disciplines, including academics and industry professionals.

Apr 2011



This one-day symposium explored and attempted to demystify, the movement of film and video footage through the digital production process from camera to exhibition. The ‘look’ of a film used to be the domain of the cinematographer. As a result of the various new forms of image manipulation that have appeared in the last decade and a half, new types of collaboration have resulted – for example, between cinematographers, post-production supervisors, visual effects artists, and colourists. Given the multiplicity of ways in which the aesthetics of a film can change after shooting is complete, a key question presented itself: who controls what aspects of a film’s look?

This symposium traced how the ‘look’ of a shot changes at each stage of this process, explained some of the technologies that effect these changes, and discussed the decision-making behind these changes. It also explored the reorganisation of production roles and responsibilities that has resulted from the digitisation of film-making workflows. The symposium drew from a range of specialisms, bridging theory and practice: invited speakers included Ben Smithard (That Damned UnitedCranfordSpooks),Geoff Boyle, Director of Photography FBKS (Wallander,Mutant Chronicles)Jonathan Smiles, Digital Production Supervisor (District 9Green Zone), Luke Rainey, Colourist (Band of BrothersMan on Wire), Professor Duncan PetrieProfessor Sean CubittDr Richard MisekDr Charlotte Crofts. The day consisted of four sessions: image capture, data management, colour grading, and display.

Each of the four sessions comprised a presentation by a film industry professional, a presentation by a film academic to open up wider questions, and a dialogue between the two. The intention was to introduce the practice of each to the other and of both to the general public, facilitating an open conversation about the aesthetic issues, pressures, technologies, and production roles involved in contemporary film production.

This symposium was organised and hosted by Terry Flaxton AHRC Senior Research Fellow (and DoP) and Dr Richard Misek, both from University of Bristol. A University of Bristol event in partnership with South West Screen and Watershed.

The Look title screen The Look: Introduction and CaptureThis session introduced the symposium and examined the film industry's transition from analogue to digital.
bvc The Look: Data Handling Unlike celluloid, digital film doesn't exist in a tangible format. This session looks at where and how data is stored.
dfg The Look: Editing and Grading This session examines the impact of digital technology on colouring film, and the importance of colour grading in maintaining continuity.
,m. The Look: Exhibition and Display This session examines the benefits of digital projection and distribution, and charts how many cinemas worldwide are converting to digital.
The Look: Panel Discussion A panel of academics and industry professionals discuss the pros and cons of digital cinema, and answer audience questions.































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