New Photography Project: The 1970s in Black & White

Jeremy Butler in 1970s Darkroom
Jeremy Butler in a 1970s Darkroom

In high school and college, I was an avid photographer; but I often could not afford to print all the images I wanted to. Consequently, I have a stack of almost 100 contact sheets containing hundreds of images that never saw the light of day. I recently embarked on a scanning marathon and digitized all of them.

So, what to do with all these black-and-white images from the 1970s? I decided to make an online gallery of them, titled The 1970s in Black & White—subtitled, Color Is for Rust Stains and Sea Anemones.

I figure, at least by the law of averages, that there should be some gems in among those hundreds of images. The site was just launched and, for now, will be slowly populated. If you’re interested, you can receive email updates on my progress.

Also, the photographs in The 1970s in Black & White are available for sale—as prints (framed and unframed) and various other merchandise (yoga mats!). My main goal is to get these images out into the world, and if a little income were to accrue from that process it would help to support my newly revived photography interest… obsession?

 

 

New Article on Statistical Analysis of Television Style

A new piece I wrote on the statistical analysis of television editing has been accepted by Cinema Journal and is forthcoming in its fall 2014 issue:

  • Butler, Jeremy G. “Statistical Analysis of Television Style: What Can Numbers Tell Us About TV Editing?” Cinema Journal 54, no. 1 (forthcoming). Update 2015, full citation: Cinema Journal 54, no. 1 (2014), 25-44.

A companion Website with full-sized, color illustrations and the data sets used in my analysis is now online:

Here’s the article’s abstract:

This article assays the value of splicing together humanities-based analysis of television style with digitally generated statistical data. The editing style of the situation comedy, Happy Days (1974-1984), provides an intriguing test case for such analyses’ utility as it made a radical shift in its mode of production after its second season—switching from single-camera to multiple-camera (with a studio audience). Using data collected on ShotLogger.org, this article measures the cutting rates correlated with each mode of production and finds there is a statistically significant difference between the two. Additionally, this article examines the general acceleration of cutting rates on American television since 1951 and it comes to a perhaps surprising conclusion about the impact of individual editors upon television style.

 

ScreenLex Migration: videography

This is a test of new podcasting software that we’re considering using for ScreenLex.org. The old software we’d been using (Loudblog) served its purpose, but it wasn’t being updated and we had some concerns about its security. Plus, we’ve lately been using WordPress for all our blogging needs and it is pretty flexible when it comes to podcasting.

There are some Loudblog features we’ll miss, but we think WordPress and a podcasting plug-in will serve us better in the long run.

We’ve temporarily taken down the ScreenLex server so we can make the transition. Should be back soon! Here’s a taste of one of the ScreenLex entries:

videography: The characteristics of the video camera. Wikipedia article.

Television Style Companion Website Launched

The companion Website for the forthcoming book, Television Style, has just been launched: http://www.tvstylebook.com

Television Style dissects how style signifies and what significance it has had in specific television contexts. Using hundreds of frame captures from television programs, Television Style dares to look closely at television. Miami Vice, ER, soap operas, sitcoms, and commercials, among other prototypical television texts, are deconstructed in an attempt to understand how style functions in television. Television Style also assays the state of style during an era of media convergence and the ostensible demise of network television.

Television Style is a much needed introduction to television style, and essential reading at a moment when the medium is undergoing radical transformation, perhaps even a stylistic renaissance.

Its companion Website features:

  • A draft copy of the Introduction, “Dare We Look Closely at Television?,” which surveys the literature on television (and film) style and advances the case for the stylistic analysis of the medium.
  • Approximately 300 illustrations (see below), every single image from the book–enlarged and, when appropriate, in color.
  • Several illustrative tables–some découpages (sequence analyses)–that had to be reduced for print. We here provide enlarged versions of them, along with color images.
  • 14 videos that tie in with Television Style‘s discussions of editing, visual effects (especially morphing), sound, and camera movement. (Most of these are password-protected. The password is telestylistics .)
  • The beginnings of a link directory. Every online resource cited in Television Style will eventually be included, along with links to additional resources.
  • Ordering information.

Television Style is scheduled to be published by Routledge this fall. You may pre-order it from Routledge or online booksellers. Also, lecturers/professors may request a 60-day examination copy. Orders may be placed at:

http://www.routledge.com/books/Television-Style-isbn9780415965125

Here’s a taste of all 300 illustrations:

https://i0.wp.com/www.tvstylebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/collages_all.jpg

Work in the MediaCommons

I’ve just joined the editorial board of MediaCommons, an online network for media scholars.  As it states on its “about” page:

MediaCommons, a project-in-development with support from the Institute for the Future of the Book (part of the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC) and the MacArthur Foundation, will be a network in which scholars, students, and other interested members of the public can help to shift the focus of scholarship back to the circulation of discourse. This network will be community-driven, responding flexibly to the needs and desires of its users. It will also be multi-nodal, providing access to a wide range of intellectual writing and media production, including forms such as blogs, wikis, and journals, as well as digitally networked scholarly monographs. Larger-scale publishing projects will be developed with an editorial board that will also function as stewards of the larger network.

In short, MediaCommons is providing a new platform for writing and thinking about media. One of its first projects is In Media Res, in which scholars–known as “curators”–select an online clip and write a short bit about it to seed discussion of it.

To that end, I’ve contributed “The Sitcom’s Death, the Zero Degree of Style” on My Name Is Earl and recent developments in sitcom style. Check it out and come join the conversation!

Pronunciation Guide Gets a Name: ScreenLex

The pronunciation guide I’ve been working on has been christened ScreenLex, with its own domain name:

www.screenlex.org

We’re also officially listed on the iTunes store now. To find us, just seach iTunes for “ScreenLex.”

I’ve also decided to use FeedBurner in order to captures some statistics about ScreenLex’s use. Plus, it has some cool ways to publicize feeds, like this graphic:

ScreenLex: A Pronunciation Guide
Finally, if you’d like to spread the word about ScreenLex, feel free to print out the PDF flier at

http://www.screenlex.org/ScreenLexFlier_screen.pdf

And come on by to sample ScreenLex’s work!

Pronunciation Guide Now in Beta

I just released The Pronunciation Guide for Film and TV Studies for beta testing:

[Updated 18 February 2007: http://www.screenlex.org]
The Guide contains terms used in film/TV studies and production, as well as people’s names. These items may be accessed in three ways:

  1. As a downloadable MP3 file.
  2. As playable online audio.
  3. As a podcast (e.g., for your iPod) or RSS feed.

The intent behind The Guide is to provide English-speaking film/TV students with guidance on how to say words/names that are often difficult for them to master. I can well remember when I was starting to study film that I read more about the topic than I heard it spoken about. So, I often had trouble putting the printed word together with the spoken one. “Truffaut” is pronounced “true-foe”?, I’d ponder.

The Guide runs on Loudblog software, which does a good job of automating most of the uploading, the presentation of the MP3 files, creating a podcast feed and submitting it to iTunes (which I have not done yet).

A graduate research assistant, Peter Bradberry, helped me get the first 20 or so online–adding end credits to the files. The credits themselves were prepared with the help of Rick Dowling at UA’s Faculty Resource Center. Rick also conducted a podcasting workshop that helped jump-start this project.