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date: 06 July 2022

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. By 1915, directors of photography were no longer satisfied with providing a correct exposure to their images. By apportioning different levels of light to adjoining areas of a scene, they started the process of enhancing the action with contrast, mood, and dramatic tension. Still, the cinematographers’ best efforts remained circumscribed by what they had actually captured on film, give or take some modest adjustment of light and color when timing the release prints. The advent of digital technology gave directors of photography and colorists access to a wide array of postproduction tools allowing them to manipulate after the fact every detail in a given shot. Although this engineering of flawless imagery dazzles the audience’s senses, overly processed image enhancement ultimately conveys a vaporous, glossy world that could inhibit the viewers’ emotional and mental engagement.

Keywords: lighting, directors of photography, colorists, beauty, picturesque, digital intermediate

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