published, collected or compiled by Barbara Flueckiger

Film Color | Visual Effects and Digital Cinema | Film Aesthetics | Archival Film |
Sound and Sound Design |


Timeline of Historical Film Colors --> Link

One of the most pressing topics in the conversion of film into the digital domain is the perception and transformation of film colors as a result of their digitization.

To investigate this topic, in 2012 the author has set up a database of historical film colors to document the various processes that have emerged in the course of film history. It is published online as a timeline that connects historical and bibliographical information with primary resources from several hundred original papers and secondary sources and more than 5,000 photographs from vintage prints taken at archives from all over the world.

This database is conceived to provide an interactive platform to gather and connect detailed information on each of these processes as well as illustrations, filmographies, and downloads of seminal texts.

In the framework of the research project ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors it will be supported by a system for the computer-assisted analysis of film colors in a digital humanities 2.0 tradition with collaboration among scholars on a global scale. Barbara Flueckiger has reflected the methodological and epistemological foundations of this endeavor in my article "Die Vermessung ästhetischer Erscheinungen" (The Measurement of Aesthetic Phenomena) in the peer-reviewed journal Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, no. 5 (2/2011), pp. 44-60, in German; see paragraph "Aesthetics".

Text "Color and Subjectivity in Film" --> Download PDF

Discusses subjective and affective dimensions of color in film.

Visual Effects and Digital Cinema

Text "Städtebilder aus dem Computer" --> Download PDF, in German

An illustrated article on different technical and aesthetic strategies to display computer-generated cityscapes in film.

Timeline "History of Visual Effects VFX, Computer Graphics, CGI, Computer Animation" --> Link

Database on the history of inventions in the domain of visual effects, computer-generated imagery, special effects, and computer animation, with approximately 360 entries, sortable and searchable. Contains information collected within the framework of the research project on visual effects, supported by a grant from Swiss National Science Foundation.

Text "Digital Bodies" --> Download PDF

English translation of the chapter "Digital Characters" from my book Visual Effects. "Digital Bodies" is an extract of Barbara Flueckiger's study of computer-generated images in film and explores the creation and role of digital characters in live-action movies. The text starts with an historical overview. Furthermore it investigates fundamental problems of digital character construction, namely problems of character consistency, the modeling of complexity and the interaction of digital characters with live-action protagonists. And finally it illustrates the interrelations between aesthetic, narrative, and emotional aspects of these characters and the audience's response to them.

Text "Computer-Generated Characters in Benjamin Button and Avatar" --> Download PDF

English translation of Barbara Flueckiger (2011): "Zur digitalen Animation von Kõrpern in Benjamin Button und Avatar." In: Harro Segeberg (ed.): Digitalität und Kino. Munich: Fink.

Text “Liquid Selves“. Zur Transformation von Körpern. (“Liquid Selves“. Transformation of Bodies.) --> Download PDF, in German.

Originally published in: Franziska Bruckner, Melanie Letschnig, Georg Vogt (eds.): Techniken der Metamorphose. Positionen zum Animationsfilm (Techniques of Metamorphosis) (= Maske & Kothurn. Internationale Beiträge zur Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft, Vol. 56, No. 4). Vienna: Böhlau, pp. 23–37, in German."

Links Collection "Visual Effects" --> Link

Companies, education, associations, festivals and conferences, information and downloads, color, history.

Text "Das digitale Kino. Eine Momentaufnahme" --> Download (scan PDF, German)

The paper presents results from the research project "Digital Cinema", in collaboration with the Imaging and Media Lab of the University of Basel, the Graphics Lab of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Sony Overseas SA and other academic and industrial partners, supported by a grant from the Swiss Confederation's Innovation Promotion Agency CTI. Originally published 2003 in: Montage/av 12:1, pp. 28-51. Also published in: Marille Hahne (ed.): Das digitale Kino. Marburg: Schüren, 2005, in German.

Text "Digitales Kino CH. Eine revidierte Momentaufnahme." (Digital Cinema CH. A Revised Snapshot of the State-of-the-Art) --> Download (scan PDF, German)

The paper elaborates results from the research project "Digital Cinema". Based on an inquiry with producers, cinematographers and directors on 74 contemporary films it presents the developments in digital filmmaking. Originally published 2008 in: Alain Boillat, Philipp Brunner and Barbara Flueckiger (eds.): Kino CH / Cinéma CH. Rezeption, Ästhetik, Geschichte / Réception, esthétique, histoire. Marburg: Schüren, pp. 185-202, publisher's website

Film Aesthetics

"Die Vermessung ästhetischer Erscheinungen." In: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, No. 5 (2/2011), pp. 44-60. (October 2011) --> Link to download (PDF, in German)

Similar to art history, film studies has long focused on canonical works by important filmmakers in order to trace formal developments in film. Being a serially produced art form, film demands to be studied along the lines of what art historian George Kubler called a "cultural sequence", i.e. an existing chronology of relatively stable but marginally varying solutions for a given aesthetic problem. Using the example of color in film as its point of departure, this article shows how newly developed processes of computer-based film analysis open up the possibility of a serial analysis of large data sets, thereby opening up a new field of empirical research into the aesthetics of film form.

Text "Lifestyle, aesthetics and narrative in luxury domain advertising" --> Download PDF

This study investigates a pattern observed in recent lifestyle advertisements. In the domain of luxury goods a certain type of advertisement has emerged that relies almost exclusively on the evocation of pure sensation. Only in part do the depicted scenes, characters or objects trigger these sensations. Rather, aesthetic features of style - such as depth of field, diffusion, colour or light - enhance the spectator's sensorial response. In the context of the avant-garde of the 1920s, similar strategies were employed. While these avant-garde films combined a modernist hope for utopia with a democratisation of aesthetics and taste for the masses, contemporary lifestyle advertisements tend to be suffused with nostalgia. However, this nostalgia is ahistoric, offering only the most pleasurable aspects of an imaginary experience.
Originally published in: Steve Spittle (ed.): Advertising as Narrative Form, Special Issue of Popular Narrative Media, 2.2, pp. 195-212

Text "Assoziative Montage und das ästhetische System von Stay. (Associative Montage and the Aesthetic System in Stay.)" In: montage/av, No. 1/2011, pp. 133-148. Download PDF (in German).

Archival Film

Annotated Bibliography "Digitization of Archival Film" --> Link

Compiled in collaboration with Dr. Franziska Heller, Institute of Cinema Studies, University of Zurich, within the framework of the research project AFRESA, funded by a grant from the Swiss Confederation's Innovation Promotion Agency CTI in collaboration with the Imaging and Media Lab of the University of Basel, the companies Swiss Effects Film GmbH and Sondor.

Sound and Sound Design

Text "Les Bruits de coulisses au cinéma" by S. de Serk (1914) --> Download (scan PDF, French)

A historical manual for "Foley artists", long before the term was even coined.

Text "The Unidentified Sound Object" --> Download PDF, English

Extract from the book Sound Design. Die virtuelle Klangwelt des Films

Text "Sound Effects. Strategies for Sound Effects in Film" --> Download PDF, English

An introduction to functions of sound effects in film.

Article originally published in Sound and Music in Film and Visual Media: A Critical Overview, edited by Graeme Harper, Ruth Doughty and Jochen Eisentraut, 2009. Permission given by the Continuum International Publishing Group.

Last update November 1, 2016, to be continued...