Film Semiotics

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New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Analysis of Structuralism and Post-structuralism

New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Analysis of Structuralism and Post-structuralism

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Fortuna, C. (2010), “Lights! Camera! Action”! Knowledge Quest, Vol. 38. pp. 10-23.

In today's saturated world of new media, a student's ability to negotiate the grammar of visual literacy has taken on importance. Visual literacy - the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in images - requires students to "read" pictures in ways that previous generations have not needed to do. As a result, when students explore, identify, learn about, describe, and use grammar to make meaning of visual messages, they create reciprocity among linguistic literacies and visual literacies. A grammar of film creates a complementary and interlaced adjunct to a cohesive meaning-making process of literacy. Günther Kress and Theo Van Leeuwen initiated educational discussions around the grammar of film, identifying "descriptions of major compositional structures which have become established as conventions in the course of the history of Western visual semiotics" (1996).

Because film texts embed different schemata than print for the navigation, when we view films, we can use the interactive processes of analysis, interpretation, and synthesis. In each of these examples, students moved reciprocally through in- school, and out-of school literacy practices to gain meaningful learning structures. Youth need spaces both inside and outside the school where they can absorb and practice 21st-century literacy structures. As the author began this study, students seemed to have difficulty relating film analysis to the classroom, due to traditional definitions of literacy in public school practices and the necessities inherent in an era of accountability. By the end of this study, however, many of the juniors rose up with voices that attested to new levels of interpretation and creation through accommodation of an explicit grammar of film. Through student artifacts, this study unveiled a rich vocabulary that students were able to draw and describe images and to create critical interpretations about film texts. A grammar of film became a conduit through which, youth could connect academic to national literacy, and the texts they encountered in wider social and cultural contexts.

Students can reconcile their real lives with public school literacy practices and become hope-filled when they are able to read and recontextualize their worlds in meaningful ways through explicit instruction in the grammar of film and a broad array of film analysis learning experiences. With recent and increasing shifts in thinking around the way education is delivered in the U.S., a grammar of the film might be a subtle way into creative thinking about new literacies as serious academic discourse. However, in this article, Carolyn described in detail about grammar of the film, types of shots, camera movement, camera angles, camera terms, sound technique, lightning technique, the essence of acting, costumes. In short, every aspect of film making has been analyzed with distinct concentration on different points. As the proposed study is on new vocabulary of film semiotics, it is perhaps significant to quote the process used in film ...
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