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Analog Circuit Palettes, Cathode Ray Canvases: Digital's Analog, Experimental Past

Gregory Zinman
Film History
Vol. 24, No. 2, Digital Cinema (2012), pp. 135-157
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/filmhistory.24.2.135
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/filmhistory.24.2.135
Page Count: 23
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Analog Circuit Palettes, Cathode Ray Canvases: Digital's Analog, Experimental Past
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Abstract

Abstract This paper contends that the development of digital filmmaking can, in part, be traced back to the efforts of experimental filmmakers seeking to make abstractions in time. In other words, the advent of computer-generated and computer-assisted filmmaking occurred via analog means, beginning in the early 1950s, in the oscilloscope films of Mary Ellen Bute. These ideas were expanded and refined by John Whitney in his work on the title sequence for Hitchcock's Vertigo. Whitney continued to develop analog computer technologies to make wonderfully rigorous and colorful non-objective films, as did the first generation of video artists, who developed artisanal analog devices to create new ways of synthesizing imagery.

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