Volume 8 Number 3 Autumn Issue, TV Special Effects ed Stacey Abbott

Printable version Friday 13 December 2013 Last updated at 13:47

Read Volume 8 Number 3 Autumn Issue, TV Special Effects online

Editorial

Stylised Worlds: Colour Separation Overlay in BBC Television Plays of the 1970s by Leah Panos

This essay aims to understand and interrogate the use of Colour Separation Overlay (CSO) as a mode of experimental production and aesthetic innovation in television drama in the 1970s. It sets out to do this by describing, accounting for and evaluating CSO as a production technique, considering the role of key production personnel, and analysing four specific BBC productions. Deploying methodologies of archival research, practitioner interview, and close textual analysis, the essay also delivers a signifi cant reassessment of the role of the producer and designer in the conceptualisation and realisation of small-screen dramatic fiction.

Key words: studio, drama, single play, aesthetics, experimental, CSO, blue screen, designer

‘I Want My MTS’: The Development of US Stereo Television by James Lyons

This article examines the development of stereo television broadcasting in America, in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling on Multichannel Television Sound (MTS) in 1984. It makes the case for understanding stereo broadcasting as a landmark special eff ect, playing a pivotal role in fashioning the medium s transformation over the last twenty-fi ve years, helping to usher in an era of home cinema and significantly enhancing the experiential and aesthetic coordinates of television programming.

Key words:  stereo television, NBC, MTS, innovation, technology

From Novelty to Normal: 3DTV as Special Effect by Simon Brown

In cinemas and on television, the 3D viewing experience is marketed as being both more immersive than 2D, and as an experience which augments the normal 2D viewing experience. Focussing on 3D on television, this article presents an aesthetic analysis of a range of 3DTV content. In doing so it considers the extent to which the variety of 3DTV programming, coupled with its low market penetration, off ers a barrier to 3DTV becoming familiar enough to move beyond being a gimmick or a special eff ect, and explores what 3DTV programme makers are doing to overcome this.

Key words:  3DTV, Sky 3D, BBC 3D, Olympic Games, David Attenborough, 3D documentary, 3D football, 3D tennis

Old SF, New FX: Exploring the Reception of Replacement Special Effects for Older Episodes of Doctor Who and Star Trek by Denzell Richards

Fan audience negotiations of remade special eff ects for older iterations of Doctor Who  and Star Trek are analysed, examining the role and function of special effects as markers of credibility in science fiction television, and the commercial implications of revising these to ensure continuing novelty in long-running franchises. For both franchises, the revised special eff ects become a site of contestation between (fan-) producers and audiences, over who has the right to determine what is authentic, canonical and credible about these particular telefantasy series.

Key words: Doctor Who, DVD, fan studies, special effects, Star Trek

‘And All Is Real.’ Historical Spaces and Special F/X in HBO's Rome by Andrew B.R. Elliott

This essay explores the use of special effects in HBO's Rome. Looking at depictions of the classical past, it argues that special effects were traditionally used in the cinema to heighten verisimilitude by a sense of spectacle, whose cost put them out of reach of early historical television. With the increase in budgets and the greater affordability of special effects, however, this paper suggests that Rome signals a new kind of classical world on television, wherein special effects not only enhance verisimilitude by a kind of spectacle but also serve a narrative function.

Keywords: special effects, classical world, epic film, Rome, HBO, historical television

Sanctuary: A Paradigm for Television in the Age of the Internet by Stan Beeler

This article considers the science fiction series Sanctuary (2008–11) as a paradigm for new genre fiction methodologies in both production methods and aesthetics. This series was first presented as a series of short webisodes in order to gauge public interest in the subject material as well as production techniques. It relies heavily upon a combination of green screen technology and CGI sets. The contemporary special effects technology is placed in historical context through a comparison with the use of optical printers. The article discusses new developments in acting techniques designed to compensate for green screen sets. Sanctuary's Steampunk aesthetics are also considered in relation to its reliance upon computerised special effects.

Keywords: special effects, Sanctuary, green screen, acting style, Steampunk

Visual Effects and Visceral Affect: ‘Tele-affectivity’ and the Intensified Intimacy of Contemporary Television by Alexia Smit

This article considers television special effects which reveal the human body in visceral, affecting detail. Building on John Caldwell's work on ‘televisuality,’ this paper uses the term ‘tele-affectivity’ to describe the self-conscious foregrounding of the body as site of affect in three television dramas Grey's Anatomy, House and Fringe.

Keywords: the body, affect, special effects, tele-branding, medical drama

The Monstrous Makeover: American Horror Story, Femininity and Special Effects by Janani Subramanian

This essay examines the use of make-up and special effects on the first season of American Horror Story (2011–present), specifically the thematic significance of female characters’ bodily transformation and disfigurement. Horror television, as opposed to the more consumer-oriented narratives of self-improvement that make up the television landscape, does not turn unpalatable subjects into acceptable ones, but rather meditates on disruptive and disfigured bodies. The goal is to locate these so-called ‘monstrous makeovers’ within the genres of horror and the gothic and reflect on the specifics of these transformations in terms of visual effects, femininity and serial television.

Keywords: special effects, horror, gothic, ghosts, makeover

Book Reviews by Christine Geraghty, Tracey Jensen, Misha Kavka, Derek Johnston and Lorna Jowett

 

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