The Future Of The Moving Image

Submitted By terryflaxton
Words: 3629
Pages: 15

The Future of the Moving
Professor Terry Flaxton, Department of
Creative Industries, University of the
West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY Email:
Whilst at the Universities of Bristol and the West of England, in collaboration with BBC R&D, I have been responsible for the production of the first higher dynamic range, higher resolution and higher frame rate experiments to measure which combination of these developing parameters of image capture and display best engages the audience. What is essentially happening here is the mapping of the capabilities of imagining equipment to the sensory levels of the eye/brain pathway. But what do the expanding parameters of the digitally captured moving image mean to the viewer and how will this affect future patterns of production, consumption and understanding of moving images?
Keywords: Resolution, Frame Rate, Dynamic
Range, Electronic Digital Cinematography.

We now have greater enhancements to our computational abilities that allow us to ‘uplevel’ the parameters we are testing and more importantly, this increase in itself speaks of what is to come. Our tests have revealed the creation of a sense of depth, without sensory tricks such as binolcular stereopsis, which is reliant on the eye tricking the brain to produce depth.
However, trying to predict where technical and aesthetic developments will lead us does a disservice to the subject area. To more fully explore the importance of these developments, in this paper I attempt to explore the narrative that underlies Cognitive
Neuroscience as a descriptor that may reveal the nature of that which looks, as being as important as that which is looked at.
Walter Benjamin said:
“The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses” [1]
If this was thought to be true in the analogue age, in the digital age we might ask: What do new forms of capture and display reveal about our unconscious state? Moore’s Law, when applied to the developing process of electronic or digital image capture, creates as profound a change as the invention of slow-motion in Benjamin's day. Increased capture quality and speed, handling and display of data, and the dissipation of bottlenecks in data flow, open new possibilities for how and why images are captured and displayed. However, there is an underlying conviction in this research that something will be revealed about how these accelerations perturbate or excite the human perceptual system.
Traditional forms of exhibition are already accommodating these developments with 4k projector systems, delivery of higher resolution television via terrestrial digital and higher resolution narrowcasting via the internet. Business as usual: but what might this all mean for image making and their consumption outside commercial circuits?
New interfaces are already being designed to control high-resolution, high-frequency images and new research is being undertaken to explore the relationship between humans and their works. What does this mean for the electronic arts community and on a wider level, human development?

We’ve now entered an era of electronic capture in preference to photo-chemical capture. One of the paradoxes of
Digital Cinematography is that in some senses it has greater similarities to photo-chemical film than digital video or televisual forms.
“The historically determined optical pathway of digital cinematographic cameras is 35mm or above, and its images are reconstructed from a progressively based, lossless data flow, with one full frame of information at a time. It holds the image in a latent state until it is rendered (or ‘developed’), but unlike film, its materialisation is non-destructive of its prior material state. However unlike film, its inception as an image capture mechanism is no longer its sole intent as a medium” [2].
The last point is perhaps the most important. For instance, with the use of two triangulated