Making Meaning: 100 Clips & Stills from TV and Film

Millard, Kent
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Making Meaning: 100 Clips & Stills from TV and Film is a collection of time-based media examples that illustrate cinematic techniques that help convey meaning. Created as a teaching tool for time-based design courses, Making Meaning permits students to select clips based on visual interest, search for specific terms, watch an annotated timeline of the clip, and find cross-references to similar clips.

Having taught several time-based media courses for design students, I've found that showing film and TV examples are a helpful way of introducing core concepts in video, sound, and motion. Provided with a basic framework of terminology with examples of lighting, sound, editing, composition, rhetoric and semiotics, students acquire the vocabulary and understanding of cinematic principles that can be reflected in their own work.

The interface allows users to follow several different paths to access information. From the primary screen, they can select the clip directly (via the thumbnail), search by keywords or search by terminology. A keyword or terminology search highlights and color-codes the thumbnails; students can edit the results further and then select a thumbnail to view the entire group. While watching a clip, a timeline appears identifying camera shots and cross-referencing other clips. In addition, film information such as director, year and keywords can be clicked to yield new results.

The system allows students to be actively engaged in their learning experience by being able to explore clips at their own pace, and selecting them in a deliberate or random manner. By providing multiple paths and making connections to seemingly disparate pieces, students can understand how meaning is created in time-based work and apply that knowledge in creating time-based media.

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