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   movies: AESTHETICS
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   research: MOTION GRAPHICS
   research: VISUAL MUSIC
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   theory: DIGITAL CAPITALISM
   theory: GLITCH & POSTDIGITAL
   theory: working notes

 

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archives begin in 1996

  

Semiotics and Title Sequences - Now Available!

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 25, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



MICHAEL BETANCOURT NEWS

My new book, Semiotics and Title Sequences: Text-Image Composites in Motion Graphics is now in print! You can order a copy from the publisher's website today!

Title sequences are the most obvious place where photography and typography combine on-screen, yet they are also a commonly neglected part of film studies. Semiotics and Title Sequences presents the first theoretical model and historical consideration of how text and image combine to create meaning in title sequences for film and television, before extending its analysis to include subtitles, intertitles, and the narrative role for typography. Detailed close readings of classic films starting with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and including To Kill A Mockingbird, Dr. Strangelove, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, along with designs from television programs such as Magnum P.I., Castle, and Vikings present a critical assessment of title sequences as both an independent art form and an introduction to the film that follows.






 
Blacklie II includes my abstract photograpy

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 17, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



MICHAEL BETANCOURT NEWS

I have some abstract photographs in Blacklie II. Now available here






 
The Statement of Synchronization

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 1, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: VISUAL MUSIC

The designation synchronized identifies a particular relationship between the soundtrack and the imagetrack that is apparent to the audience as more than simply the coincidence of simultaneous presentation. The audience makes higher-level interpretations of structure and organization emerging over time from convergent events between sound and image. The identification of direct synchronization originates with its resemblance to phenomenal encounters in our everyday experience: when someone speaks, we see their lips move and we hear their voice as a conjoined encounter; the recreation of these types of synchronized relationship in motion pictures (unlike lived experience) is an artificial construction. In resembling our everyday experiences, the direct synchronization of sound and visual appears as an autonomous conclusion, its immediacy masking its underlying construction and artifice. Which sounds are combined with which elements in the image determines the character and nature of synchronization.




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Ideology and Synchronization

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 27, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: VISUAL MUSIC

Synchronization implicitly expresses an ideological conception of reality through its apparent resemblance to our everyday experiences: it renders whatever appears on-screen as a neutral fact. The apparently autonomous connection of sound::image::text in both varieties of direct synchronization, naturalistic and illustrative, acts as a demonstration that transfigures underlying ideo-cultural belief into immanence. Realist construction descends from naturalistic synchronization. This recreation of the appearance of everyday life (re)produces the phenomenal world as it appears to our senses; the realism created seems to lack articulation and construction, instead offering itself as an artifact, similar to the idea of the trace or footprint that define the photographic image for film theorists such as Andr Bazin or Stanley Cavell. The experiences of everyday life are the foundational reference point for all varieties of synchronization, but the two direct varieties explicitly create claims about the true nature of the worldwhatever that might meanat it most basic the immediate construction of reality through formal statements of audio-visual linkage, of voice to an image of someone speaking, creates the statement that the voice heard belongs to the person speaking; lip-sync is the underlying formal relationship for all statements emergent in synchronization and their superficially autonomous realism.




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On Synchronization in Movies

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 27, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: VISUAL MUSIC

Interpreting motion pictures depends on the syntactic organization that synchronization provides via audio-visual statements that allow the parsing of a movie into distinct sections governed by past experience. All the various methodologies and aesthetic approaches of visual music fit within a spectrum where the link of sound::image increases in complexity as it moves away from direct synchronization. The two variables that define this audio-visual syntax are what provides the sync-point, and when that sync-point occurs in relation to earlier/later sync-points in both sound and image tracks. Direct and counterpoint synchronization are distinguished by the proximity and distance between audible sync-points. The visual sync-points of motion on-screen, duration of the shot/music, chiaroscuro dynamics within the frame, (or a combination of all three), complemented by a second set of audible sync-points, the most basic being the appearance of a sound (as in the lip-sync of direct synchronization). The others, used in counterpoint synchronization all emerge over time, rather than being an immediately apparent connection: the beat, musical phrasing, or instrumental performance. These audible sync-points connect with the same set of visual sync-points, enabling the audience to identify the emergent statement of counterpoint as part of a continuum of synchronized links of sound::image that orients the soundtrack and the visuals:




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