Reading: The language of New media

The Language of new media is another foundamental writing about digital media. While the authors of remediation trying to identify the connections between digital media and previous media forms, this book focus more on what makes digital media different. Moreover, this book also indicates that computer technology as well as the specific knowledge of this technology is essential for the content making of digital media.

This book theoretically illustrates the defining characters of digital media, which are numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability and transcoding. This research is significant for digital media study because the five characters it identified show the new materiality, structure and mechanics of digital media. And more importantly it identifies the fact that the new computational nature of the media influences on both itself and its content. Manovich argues that the media has both “culture layer”(46) which refers to media content and “computer layer” (46) which means the ontology of computer. He further suggests that these two layers influences each other, which result in a new computer culture. Although this book did now show enough evident for the new computer culture, it provides an important perspective for studying digital media, which is from the “computer layer” and how it interacts with the “culture layer”.

In relating to my research, the study of global digital compositing companies in film industry might further explore the economical meaning of the “computer layer” and also the interaction and dynamic of the two layers in context. Further more this book is relevant to my research because it redefines digital cinema as well as points out the aesthetical space of digital compositing. Manovich advocates that digital cinema is a combination of live action material, painting, image processing, compositing, 2D compute animation and 3D computer animation. Therefor he claims that digital film becomes a special animation. This argument illustrates that filmmaking is becoming an increasingly complicated process (like animation), which demands time and labor. So that team work as well as the efficiency of the pipeline is important for the digital post-prodution industry. Further research into these two area mentioned above need to be done.

Further more the author points out that digital compositing creates four new spaces for moving image, which are “Spatial order of layers in a composite”; “virtue space constructed through compositing”; “2D movement of layers in relation to the image frame”; and “the relationship between moving image and the linked information in the adjusted window”(147). Therefore, he further suggests that digital moving image belongs to an “audio-visual-spatial culture”(147). From this point of view, space is one of the essential elements for understanding digital compositing. More over it is important that not only looks at the final scene constructed through compositing, but also different spatial dimensions that the process of digital compositing deal with. Especially, in which countries and places these different dimensions and elements are composited.

In addition, in this book Manovich discusses his idea of software studies for the first time. He suggests that in order to truly understand digital media we need to move from media studies to software studies.  His argument overstated the power of software as software is a tool and the contribution and efforts of digital artist could not be ignored.  However the capability and functions of software might be one of the factors influence on the techniques and efficiency of film post-production industry. Finally, co-operational relationship has been built between software companies and post-production studios, which allows them to work closely with each other.


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