Video/Cinema vs Stage terminogy

Mark D. Roberts mroberts37
Mon Aug 20 14:16:49 EDT 2007

Hi Bruce,

On Aug 21, 2007, at 12:51 AM, Bruce Baird wrote:
> Do you use the word "frame" even when in practice you are watching  
> a succession of frames which creates the illusion of movement?

Generally, I would say yes.

Others may chime in to correct me or offer a better suggestion/ 
explanation, but here's how I understand it:

The word "frame" actually has two meanings here: it can either mean a  
single image in a succession of images (as you suggest), or it can  
mean the rectangular boundary established by the camera, that  
delimits what is filmed from what isn't. When I refer to something  
"in the upper left hand corner of the frame" and I'm talking about  
something in the space being filmed (an actor, a prop, a bit of  
scenery, etc.), I'm using the second meaning.

The idea here is that I'm referring to something as it appears  
relative to a boundary that we call "the frame". The frame is really  
what defines the image for us, and there is a whole related  
discussion about "framing", its narrative functions, etc.

Of course, I could also say "screen" but that refers more to the  
physical object that receives the projected image (in the case of  
film) or the object that emits the image (in the case of a CRT/LCD  
monitor). There isn't any secondary meaning related to how the camera  
was positioned/adjusted to show things in a certain way. For people  
who make use of psychoanalysis, "screen" also has a distinct meaning  
related to the gaze and self-recognition (from Lacan), but I assume  
we're not staying into that territory here. ;-)

For me, the difference is this: when I speak of "the frame" I am  
speaking about both something that was filmed, and how it was framed  
for us by the filmmaker/cinematographer. When I speak of "the  
screen", the meaning is really more about my experience as a  
spectator, about looking at some physical object which carries the  
image of the film (compare "framing" to "screening"). It depends  
which nuance is desired, of course, but if I want to draw attention  
to how something was presented by the filmmaker, then I'm really  
talking about framing.



> So its not really the case that something is happening in the upper  
> left hand corner of a frame (which is a single moment in time), but  
> that something appears to be happening.
> Best,
> Bruce
> On Aug 19, 2007, at 12:24 AM, Mark D. Roberts wrote:
>> On Aug 19, 2007, at 12:20 PM, Bruce Baird wrote:
>>> If you need to refer to something in the upper left hand corner  
>>> of the screen, do you just say simply that?
>> I've read criticism that says this, yes. The only modification I  
>> would make is to say "frame" instead of "screen".
>> Cheers,
>> M
> Bruce Baird
> Assistant Professor
> Asian Languages and Literatures
> University of Massachusetts Amherst
> But?, Japanese Theater, Intellectual History
> 717 Herter Hall
> 161 Presidents Drive
> University of Massachusetts Amherst
> Amherst, MA 01003-9312
> Phone: 413-577-4992
> Fax: 413-545-4975
> baird at

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