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Accepted Paper:

Contested Framing: Cinematographers' visual training and virtuosity in the film industry.   
Cathy Greenhalgh (Independent)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the working culture, practices, strategies and regulations of “framing” (composition through the movie camera), as part of the repertoire of feature film cinematographers’ skilled vision, aesthetic praxis and technological oeuvre.

Paper long abstract:

The paper utilizes ethnographic insights from interviews and fieldwork with cinematographers from over twenty years of research and teaching in this field. It investigates the working culture, practices and strategies of "framing" (composition through the movie camera), as part of the repertoire of feature film cinematographers' skilled vision (Grasseni, 2009), aesthetic praxis and technological oeuvre. Cinematography requires particular expertise, aptitude and ongoing "vigilance" to cope with changing circumstances. "Having an eye" in this profession involves both explicit and tacit knowledge, demanding a combination of rule use (histories of film, photography and painting), 'community of practice' (Wenger, 1999) knowledge, habits and procedures as well as technical and creative invention. Combined with movement and lighting, framing influences meaning and enhances narrative drama, organizing temporality and space, and sensing of embodied and affective events. Decisions about point-of-view and character may produce precise mise-en-scene (blocking, placing of all elements within the action), but these are influenced by cultural, economic and industrial factors such as union division of role responsibilities (Greenhalgh, 2003). Collaborative creativity and crew hierarchy require distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1996), knowing as aesthetic understanding (Gherardi, 2006), and attention to organizational aesthetics and management (Strati, 1999). This milieu affects how responsibility for invention and framing are located. Training standards for framing have become constrained to simple rules promulgated in manuals and institutions regarding the craft. Production control over the aspect ratio (rectangular shape of the frame) for different output formats (television, cinema, internet), has become a site of contestation and vigorous discussion within the profession.

Panel P123
Skilled engagements [VANEASA]
  Session 1