Associate 2017-18

Julie Turnock

Media and Cinema Studies

TurnockSpecial Visual Effects: Digital Rendering in the Global Effects Industry

Understanding moving images historically, technologically, and aesthetically is vitally important in today’s mediascape. As the aesthetic that organizes our perceptions of the real, special visual effects have had an enormous influence on how we process the world. This book project will show how attention to the discourses and material practices of digital rendering can upend many theoretical assumptions about new media. Namely, this project challenges the widespread idea that digital imaging technologies facilitate greater realism, convergence, and interoperability.

Professor Turnock will explore the ways digital rendering, especially CGI in the blockbuster cinema that economically and aesthetically feeds other areas of moving image media, counterintuitively has led to less digital interoperability rather than more. In examining the industrial, historical, and aesthetic practices of digital imaging since 1990 within a long historical trajectory, the book will argue that rather than a unitary notion of “the digital” as many theorize, instead new rendering technology has in fact led to many digitals, creating turmoil in cinema’s labor relations, professional identities, and visual aesthetics, while also impacting the reality effect of those visual images. This book project will show that considering the digital moving image across moving image media such as television, advertising, and internet video demonstrates the continuing vitality of cinema’s one hundred-year-old scholarly methodology and discourses to media studies more broadly.

Image: Still from The Revenant (2015)