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Weathering the maelstrom: the effect of digital workflows on craft identity in independent cinema

Weathering the maelstrom: the effect of digital workflows on craft identity in independent cinema

Petković, Dušan (2017) Weathering the maelstrom: the effect of digital workflows on craft identity in independent cinema. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This thesis asserts a revival of the traditional craft workshop in modern independent film production, as a reaction to tensions introduced by digital technologies, such as unpredictable workflows and shifts in craft authority. Using participant observation, the thesis builds a framework of deep texts grouped around the production of the award-winning independent film Notes on Blindness (2016).

Digital tools have transformed filmmaking practice, disrupting processes, increasing output volume, and expanding the expert base. What has changed very little is the prescribed form of organisation in filmmaking. The filmmaking community maintains a traditional perception of film craft whilst new technologies are imposing paradigm-shifting changes onto filmmaking organisation and processes.

This research responds to the need to gain a better understanding of how digital workflows facilitate shifts in the ‘locus of control’ of craftspersons, and how they mobilise to cope with the effects of these shifts. Independent filmmakers, caught between the opposing trends of high-end industry and the new digital economies, shield their enterprise by committing to in-house production models, best described as craft workshops. This research further draws a parallel between the twenties studio system and today’s in-house craft specialist units. Although hugely different in scale, both organisation structures share the same organisational impulses.

By singling out two particular filmmaking roles, this thesis also explains the individual experience in the context of disintegrating craft boundaries. The researcher - a technically versed industry insider - observes the reciprocal influence between craft individuals’ and the technologies they operate. While the position of the cinematographer is a typical example in depictions of the authority shifts, this research concentrates on postproduction roles. The findings show the editor role exhibiting less authority over the editing process, predict the disappearance of the DIT, and observe a surprising inflexibility in the colourist role.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: independent cinema; digital technology; digital workflow; post-porduction; cratfsmanship
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
T Technology > TR Photography
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2019 15:22

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