Database for Animation Studies


Vanishing Point: Spatial Composition and the Virtual Camera

This article examines new aesthetic modes of cinematic space. Specifically, the author examines the `virtual camera' (in practical and technical terms derived from animation born of computer-generated 3D graphics, layer-based motion graphics and most distinctly from computer and video gaming) as a construct for spatial composition, scenic depiction and viewer immersion that possesses distinct and unique qualities of engagement. The article argues that under the influence of the virtual camera, both a hybridized and re-mediated means of moving-image acquisition, cinema aesthetics are shifting; from the duopoly of composition in the frame and the staging for the camera, to a new mode entailing a composition of space and a staging of the camera. This article also examines the virtual camera in the framework of three key, oppositional, cinematic animation and narrative concepts -- diegetic positioning; mediated and unmediated engagement; and diegesis and mimesis in narrative and perspective condition. This examination also scrutinizes the impact of the virtual camera on the production process and conceptual assembly of cinematic media.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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