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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. Given the dominance of television and the internet, how can the cinema hold its ground among the public spaces and private occasions where cinema, television, and digital media compete with each other for audiences and attention? Is “digital cinema” a radical break, a contradiction in terms, or merely cinema by other means, essentially the same heterogeneous ensemble of technologies, special effects, and broad public appeal it has been for the past hundred years? This essay considers these questions in a broader context, examining, among others, whether cinema, television, recorded sound, and digital media belong together at all, considering their very different histories. The first half of the essay deals with multimedia convergence; the second half takes up the contradictory dynamics of digital cinema. The conclusion briefly addresses the epochal or epistemic changes associated with terms such as renaissance or revolution that the digital age is usually associated with.

Keywords: media convergence, contradiction, cinema, television, digital media, digital cinema, technical media, renaissance, revolution

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