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Digital Imaging in Popular Cinema

Lisa Purse

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A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2013

To what extent has cinema been transformed by the advent of digital imaging? Have digital solutions to production challenges begun to change our experience of films, and their characters, action and narratives? And what impact does the inclusion of digital imaging in the film frame have on our interpretation and analysis of film texts?

Digital Imaging in Popular Cinema explores these issues through analysis of specific film moments and extended case studies of films including Minority Report, King Kong, 300 and Hugo. It discusses how digital imaging can mimic, transform, shape and generate both fantastical and mundane objects and phenomena from scratch, and what the implications are for how we ‘read’ films, and explores how cultural ideas about digital imaging can influence meaning within a film, a scene or even a single shot.

The increasingly widespread use of digital imaging in cinema means that we can no longer afford to ignore it when critically analysing and interpreting film texts. This innovative and engaging book provides a blueprint for approaching digital imaging in contemporary film, and is therefore essential reading for all those working in the field of Film Studies.

About the Author

Dr Lisa Purse is Associate Professor in Film in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading.


A distinctive and authoritative contribution to debates about digital imaging and its transformative effects on cinema. Lisa Purse argues convincingly for a nuanced understanding of the role of digital processes within the complex of filmmaking decisions that create meaning and effect, and in relation to the history of ‘special effects’ technology and the politics of representation.

- Douglas Pye, University of Reading