Notes for the First Lecture.

These should not be taken as "complete, but rather a way to reind you of things we spoke about

What is the importants of "definition"?
Watch for areas where defintion is important? What kinds of definition are there?

a. referential: (doctionary) How words are usually used
b. connotation: says something about the speakers attitude
c, emotional: has sstrong emotional feeling often disregarding the referential (swear words, curse words)
d. technical: a specific clearly defined term often used in science so there is no misunderstanding
Related to this are question such as what does "film" mean? Motion pictures? Moving images
In what ways has the question of defintion of "film" impacted which people get credited for "firsts"?

The History of film has many aspects which interact

(a) The history of the technology and the understanding of the physics and biology involved that let people see still images as moving.
(b) The history of the aesthetics of film making " how and when it developed its own language and grammar (editing, fim making techniques)
(c) The history of the people in the " movie" business " performers, technicians, producers, directors, distributors. This often involves patents, legal squabbles, the development of the "star system"
(d) The history of criticism and its relationship to a theory of aesthetics.
(e) The history of the motion pictures as a phenomenon.

Each of these areas tends to interact with the others. Motion Picture Films and "technical problems"

What are the major technical developents needed for film as we know it today?

(a) a way to record images in rapid sequence
(b) a way to project images in rapid sequence. Projection needed for multiple people to view at once
(c) a way to synchronize sound with image
Motion Pictures as an "art form". How are films different from and similar to: (a) drawing and painting
(b) still photography
(c) theater i. How is a member of the audience like the camera placement in early films
ii. early movies one set (hard to change sets in theater)
iii. early film seems to be recording performance and interested in what the art of film can be
(d) literature: are there equivalents for liteerary devices a, Are literary devices (e.g.structure, metaphor, etc.) translatable into film?
b, Internal monologues common in literature "X thought..." How is that done in film
What changes occur in early films relative to (a) camera placement?
(b) camera movement
(c) development of shots vs scenes?
(d) editing
(e) "trick" photography
(f) development of artificially organized and arranged scenes initially i shot film: One set, one camera place, no edits
A word about "language" and the "language of film" Language is form of communication. There are many ways to communicate. The term "language" in regards to film deals with the way in which film techniques can be used to send messages. In communication, there is a sender, a reciever, a message and a code (among other things). The sender sends a message which is encoded to a receiver who decodes the message and arrives at its meaning. The code maybe something alreaadt shhared as a specific language or it may be rather individual. In any code that isn't immediately shared there needs to be enough information for the receiver to "break" code. Flims which are very "personal" are often said to be "thick" and "hard to read or undersstand". In any art form there are different variables possible. In painting (sometimes referred to as a "graaphic" art) the artist can select from diffeent colors, textures types of paint and so on. In sculpture (sometimes called a "plastic art" the sculptor cac use different materials for different textures as well as other variables. The performing arts (often defined as thise arts in which the creator of the owrk of art foes not present it directly to an audience but it goes through an intermidiary called a "performer". Authors of plays and composers of music for example are considered createive artist while actors and muscians are seen as interpretive artist. Theater and motion pictures are extraordinarily complex since many arts are needed to pruduce the finished result.Usualy there is the write who has the story to tell. The storry is performed by actors who interpret the piece (through a director). A host of technical people from scenic designers though costume designer and so on are allemployed using their skils to tell the story through their art form. All of this hold true for theater and movies. However film has one additional dimension and that is the way in which the photographer and editor record the film These along with director deal with the what are unique film variables such as camera movement and cuts or edits. It is only these which distinguish motin picture film from both still photography and painting, There is the added dimension of time which can be maniputlated in way not possible in still photography and theater, It is these unique aspects of film which develop intothe "art" or "langugae" of film, Each technician has to determine how they tell the story through their particular field. How does the costumer design the costumes, how does the cinematograph light the and decide on cameraa placement, lens selection, film type and so one. How does the editor put shots together tomake a cohesive element with the artistic people who are working together to produce a integrated "whole". In this sense, each technician has a set of variables they control that allow them to tell the story in their "variables".

Edison was recording largely in his "studio" in NJ: Serpentine Dances, Sandow the Strong Man; The Kiss Lumiere Brothers were filming "actualities" which look like home movies. Melies was finding "special effect" with things appearing and disappearing and changing "before your very eyes"! Porter was interested in editing and The Life of an American Fireman has many interesting aspects

a. An alarm is pulled in one shot and the firrremen respond in the following shot. The audience uncerstands the alarm rings in the firehouse where it is heard.
b. continuity of action across "cuts" Fireman climb on pole in one shot and are seen coming to the ground in the following shot,
c. In two version he chaa\nges the editing so in one the film is seen from one viewpoint and then another - so basically the film is seen twice once from outside the house and once from inside the house.In the second version he edits to that the action is continuous and the camera shifts from inside to outside, showing the action moving from inside to outsside.

"Silent" films were never silent      There was musical accompaniment in the theater(orchestra, organ, sound effects)