Introduction Window Painting Photograph Film Screen Conclusion
(Image 7) ‘The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station’ by Auguste and Louis Lumière, 1895
intro [ The frame of film, acts in a cinema, like a window. A static window, that is positioned on a wall, functions by showing a window that shows movement. The biggest elements that separates the photography-frame and the cinema-frame, are time and movement. Like a window, time passes by while you perceive what goes on ‘behind the frame’. An other difference that film also comes to rely on is the mechanical aspect of film. It relies on the machine that is the film-camera. The frame of film created opportunities for artists to experiment with the use of the frame.]

Lumière [ The movie ‘The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station’ (Image 7) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent documentary film done by the Lumière brothers. As it was one of the first films ever made, when the film was first shown, the audience was so overwhelmed by the moving life-sized train coming directly at them that people screamed and ran to the back of the room. The illusion of the train moving in their direction created a big impact, they could not understand it was a flat image projection and that the train would dissapear behind the frame instead of going out of the frame. The film is a 50 second long film and its camera being static in one place, that creates the result of a non-moving perspective, enhanced the experience of the train coming towards them even more.]
cinema [ By the end of 1880, cinema started to rise. In the beginning, cinema would use techniques from theater and have the camera to stay in one place. The same way an audience and stage would be in the theatre, the same way they translated storytelling into cinema. The camera would never go into the depth of the play. It was a 2 dimensional scenery where the frame would show the whole scene and characters. The composition for early cinema was almost identical for every shot. Mostly static compositions seen from eye-level, like the theatre. After a while film makers realised that cameras did not need to stay locked in one spot. When they decided that cameras did not need to stay in one place, directors saw the opportunities they had and the narration of film changed. Camera movement and composition developed throughout the years and it became a technique that used the frame in multiple ways to add meaning to the stories.]

composition/grids [ Besides the technical aspects of the film camera, like speed and zooming, composition is important. The arrangements of an image can tell a story by the way it is compositioned. Staging, framing, depth, balance, are important factors in the way we present space. As I mentioned in the photography chapter, there are multiple reasons for the rectangular shape of the frame. Within the frame of painting, photography and cinema, the composition inside the frame is important and it is what positions the image inside the frame.1 To decide how an image is compositioned in a frame we make uses of grids. Within the grids we create rules and instructions. The cinematography in visual storytelling is important. As one static painting can tell a story, a moving image can tell many more stories. Every frame of a movie can be seen as a painting. The arrangements of an image can tell a story by the way it is compositioned.

aspect ratio [ The composition relies a lot on the frame of the film. In film there are different borders that are called aspect ratios. Aspect ratios create time periods, intensity or realism.2 By changing the aspect ratio, a film maker can create an emotional effect for the viewer. Modern film makers can choose from different aspect ratios that correspond with the emotion that goes with it. The first 40 years of film, filmmakers were limited to the the 4:3 ratio. This ‘academy’ ratio lost its popularity after the 16:9 ratio. This is why film makers use this ratio sometimes to make it feel like it is from an older time. The movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel” uses this ratio in most of its scenes. It’s about the scenes that go back to the 1940’s, a time were the 4:3 ratio was popular. The 1:1 ratio is also the ratio that reminds us of the polaroid camera, a square format of film. The 2.3:5 ratio is one of the widest screen ratio and gives the look of a big budget sci-fi or drama film. It creates very dramatic shots, also because we’re used to this shot to do that. Star wars is one of the movies that use this ratio. The 16:9 ratio is mostly used for documentary films and is used for high definition television and European television.]

“As a viewer of virtual images, the moving image spectator has bodily presence in material architectural space, yet engages with virtually rendered immaterial space framed on the screen. “ - Anne Friedberg 3

wall/location [ The frame of the window, the frame of the painting and the frame of moving-image create a separation between the wall, as the environment, and the framed content.4 They are fixed in one location while the spectator moves around. Film in cinema relies on the architecture of the cinema. It uses its architecture- and light-qualities that create the frame of film. A projection from behind and the element of subwoofers add to the experience of the architectural cinema. The cinematic screen has always been a geographical fixed location. A screen or projection of the image has become larger then the photograph or painting and is usually placed or projected onto a wall. As the wall is a barrier that you can’t pass, the screen or projection is so too. It shows a world that you can not go in to, and the contrast of the lighted image and the dark borders and environment enhance this. Cinema created a fixed frame of virtual moving-images, where spectators are fixed in one location, but the point of view is changing. There is the combination of the movement of film and the non-movement of the spectators.]
time [ Not only did cinema change the experience of space, it also changed the experience of time. Film realised the transition from a still image to moving images. It shows a world that is moving. It is constantly moving, changing perspective, changing location, changing in time. The editing of film plays an important role. Shifts in editing offer the spectator multiple perspectives in one static frame. The spectators process of looking at these images is interrupted by their constant, sudden change. For this reason the spectator has an interesting way of participating with the film. Georges Duhamel (1884 – 1966), a French author, described, looking at film: “I can no longer think what I want to think. My thoughts have been replaced by moving images.”5 This is the way of participation one creates with a film. Compared with a painting or a photograph, the spectator is fixed within the time of perceiving film. It has a beginning and an end. This is a big difference in the way we look at the content of a frame.]

conclusion [ The biggest elements that separate the frame of the still image and moving image, is movement and time. It is also the first one that relies on the machine as it is the projector that shows the projected image. This together with the architectural aspects of cinema enhances the experience of looking at film. We need the machine to watch the film. Allthough the frame of film-projection is static, a lot of movement exists inside the frame. As revealed by ‘The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station’ people reacted shocked to the movement of the train. They could not believe how movement happened ‘behind’ the static and architectural frame. Later on cinema went from the theatrical static camera to the moving camera frame ifself that changed the film-makers perspective on the narration of film and the composition of image. This together with shifts in editing created multiple perspectives in time and space and thus enhanced the movement inside the frame and the non-movement of the spectator.]
1 Composition In Storytelling ,
2 Aspect Ratio: Which Should You Choose?,
3 The virtual window from Alberti to Microsoft, Anne Friedberg, p18
4 The Place of Artists’ Cinema, Space, Site and Screen, by Maeve Connolly, p16
5 The virtual window from Alberti to Microsoft, Anne Friedberg, p23