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Title: In light of moving images : technology, creativity and lighting in cinematography
Author: Nevill, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6906
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2018
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Thesis This practice-led doctoral research examines lighting techniques used by cinematographers and more widely amongst practitioners working with moving imagery. The widespread adoption of digital technologies in the film production industry has received a good deal of critical attention from practitioners and scholars alike, however little specific consideration about changing lighting practices can be found amongst this discourse. The control and orchestration of lighting have significant aesthetic connotations for moving image work, so it is surprising that this practice remains an under-explored area in the digital age. Informed by a series of research-driven experimental installations and collaborative cinematography work on independent films, presented in a separate portfolio, this thesis offers an understanding of how light is orchestrated during the production of moving imagery through direct creative inquiry. The contribution to knowledge made through this doctoral research is distilled into three areas. First, understanding lighting in moving image production through a relational, new-materialist perspective which foregrounds the flow and energy of light as a generative force and a cultural and creative process. Second, providing a more detailed first-hand investigation into lighting processes than is currently available that uses autoethnographic methods to capture practical knowledge that is deployed in situ during moving image production. Third, offering a new approach to the relationship between a cinematographer and his/her equipment by applying the actor-network theory framework to the consideration of moving image, and explicitly lighting technologies. The new-materialist perspective outlined in this thesis provides a strong foundation for further studies of lighting in emerging forms of moving image production because of its emphasis on process and a practitioner’s correspondence with light. This theoretical framework offers an effective way to understand and analyse creative lighting work across changing technologies, while the insight into practical processes captured during this enquiry can be employed directly in cinematography education. Portfolio Developed between 2014-2017 as part of a doctoral research enquiry, In Light of Moving Images brought together a series of film and video works by cinematographer and filmmaker Alexander Nevill. The exhibition included five research-driven moving image installations as well as three single screen short films created collaboratively in the role of Director of Photography. Although varied in form and production context, these works all investigate cultural and creative orchestrations of light on screen. Providing visual documentation, this publication serves as a record of the exhibition and, moreover, offers an account of the practice-led research journey through which it emerged. The following pages incorporate written contextual insights about each practical work, describe the timeline of and rationale behind them and also include a variety of supplementary artefacts such as sketches, lighting diagrams and photographs of the work in progress to reveal creative processes. Traditionally considered the responsibility of a cinematographer, lighting in a filmmaking context refers to the arrangement of illumination sources around a location or set to create a specific aesthetic. Expanding this term, lighting can also refer to creative control over the passages of illumination which constitute moving imagery, shaping ways that audiences perceive the frame. Selected amongst a larger body of cinematography and moving image experimentation, the work in this portfolio and exhibition engages with both facets of lighting, taking the form of spatial projections that weave together light in and of moving imagery while questioning the material tensions of mediated illumination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; 3d3 Centre for Doctoral Training
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: lighting ; autoethnography ; practice-research ; filmmaking ; technology ; cinematography