Module Information

Module Identifier
FM35820
Module Title
Moving Image Technologies: how Pictures Became Animated
Academic Year
2017/2018
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Pre-Requisite
Completion of Part 1
Reading List
External Examiners
  • Dr Nathan L Hunt (Senior Lecturer - University of Derby)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 4 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Essay:  Apply a critical reading to two films (or five shorts) studied on the module, comparing and contrasting the technological achievements in relation to the final artistic product.  60%
Semester Assessment 1 x Research Portfolio (2,000 words)  Independent preparation of material on a technical innovation, documented with illustrations, reviews, and examples of its application to cinema, using as case-study a film outside the module syllabus  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word Essay (different topic):  Apply a critical reading to two films (or five shorts) studied on the module, comparing and contrasting the technological achievements in relation to the final artistic product.  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x Research Portfolio (2,000 words: Independent preparation  of material on a technical innovation, documented with illustrations, reviews, and examples of its application to cinema, using as case-study a film outside the module syllabus.  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Engage critically with film technology and films that experiment with scientific inventions and innovations, and apply these analytical skills to other films;
2. Understand how filmmakers made use of new technologies to develop and refine their film language;
3. Assess how filmmakers manipulate the viewer with optical tricks;
4. Analyze the degree to which technology shapes art, or vice versa;
5. Read an animated film and evaluate its visual language and technical feats;
6. Recognize the technical issues behind the moving image and appreciate the relationship between technology and aesthetics.

Brief description

Early developments in film technologies, such as the invention of the camera, the relationship between static and moving images, and the development of colour (and other) technologies will be explored with a view to assessing how pictures were set into motion and how technical experiments with the camera allowed for the creation of tricks, or special effects, in the early years of cinema. The second part of the module will study the impact of such developments on animation, analyzing through case studies some of the key animated films and understanding how they were made.

Aims

1. To understand the early technological developments in cinema before the arrival of CGI (i.e. 1880s-1960s)
2. To bridge the disciplinary borders between the study of film and technology, science and invention.
3. To analyze the relationship between technical achievements and film language
4. To develop an understanding for the creation of tricks, special effects and (3D and 2D) animated images before the arrival of computers.

Content

Course delivery:

10 x 4 hour Screening plus Lecture/Seminar


The module will cover two key aspects - technical developments in early cinema and experiments in animation as applications of such technical innovations. The module is divided into two parts accordingly.

The first part will explore early optical devices; the invention of the camera (formats, speed); the stop frame; experiments with sound, movement and colour; how drawn images are set in motion (2D-animation); editing and montage; puppet animation (3D animation); the composite shot (live-action and animation); and the first 'special effects'. Films (or selections of short films) will be used in this part of the module to illustrate these key developments, e.g. the films of Georges Melies and Oskar Fischinger; examples of Eisenstein's montage; Aleksandr Ptushko's New Gulliver; Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz.

The second part will study in detail some key animated films (see below) to explore the aesthetic developments facilitated by technical inventions, going (in the last 2 classes) beyond the time frame to look at some of today'r animated films.

SCHEDULE
Week 1: Introduction: Early optical devices
Week 2: The camera plays tricks
Week 3: Experiments with sound, movement, and colour
Week 4: Manipulating images: composite shots
Week 5: Special effects
Week 6: Emile Cohl and Wladislaw Starewicz
Week 7: Early Disney (Silly Symphonies, Snow White)
Week :8 Experiments in Animation: Alexeieff, McLaren, Norstein
Week 9: Animation Today, UK/US: Wallace and Gromit, Roger Rabbit
Week 10: Japanese Animation Today: Miyazaki and the Ghibli Studio

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students' written communication skills will be developed (e.g. appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). Opportunities will be given, through seminar sessions, for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. Students will be given opportunities to develop note-taking skills. Students will develop their critical thinking skills. Through small group discussions and seminars students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning for oral and written assignments. Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources on the web and on library catalogues. Students will develop their reference skills and their ability to select relevant materials for the task. Blackboard will be the main form of communication and information sharing in this module. Students will have to develop a PowerPoint presentation and prepare clips and screenshots from films.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be given the opportunity to evaluate current knowledge and skills. Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures and apply this to other areas.
Problem solving Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field, and will be encouraged to critically reflect on the process by which academics arrive at particular theoretical interpretations of particular films and historiographies.
Research skills Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. Students will be able to develop their textual analytic skills, and to learn to analyze texts in a focused and purposeful manner. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, interpret and reflect upon a variety of sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students will learn how to edit and prepare visuals for presentation purposes.
Team work Students will be encouraged to do their seminar presentations in small groups to encourage teamwork and division of work according to skills.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6