Race and the Digital Face: Facial (Mis)recognition in Gemini Man

Ang Lee’s 2019 film Gemini Man features the most realistic digital human to grace the cinematic screen, specifically a computer-generated version of young Will Smith who battles his more aged self throughout the film. And for the first time in film history, this photorealistic digital human is Black. This essay explores why this groundbreaking achievement […]

Virtue Through Suffering: The American War Film at the End of Celluloid

The World War II combat films made in Hollywood in the late 1990s and early 2000s demonstrate nostalgia for the celluloid-based, documentary-inspired techniques of the 1940s, while at the same time reveling in the possibilities of computer-generated imagery. This potential contradiction converges on the body of the American soldier, whose physical suffering is illustrated with […]

Assignment Examples

The following are links to or descriptions of the best of former student’s creative projects. (These projects were created for various assignments that changed over time.)  Projects with the least amount of technical expertise Diary project reflecting on tech detox (days spent without using a phone or social media)  #mediocrefoods Instagram showing what real food […]

Visual Effects: The Modern Entertainment Marketplace  (2000-present)

Since 2000, digital visual effects have played a central role in Hollywood’s governing business model of developing high-budget blockbuster franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, and the Avengers films. In the first years of the new century, the Lord of the Rings films exemplified this trend, introducing groundbreaking new digital […]

Digital Tools

Infographics + Visualization Canva — basic graphics, infographics, charts, and posters (free online) Bitmoji— make your own comic strips or emoji (free app for iOS, Android) Piktochart — easy infographics (free online) MakeaGIF.com — creates GIFs automatically (free online) Giphy GIFmaker — creates GIFs automatically (free online) Powtoons — creates animated presentations and videos (free educational package with limitations) Image/Video […]

More than a Man in a Monkey Suit: Andy Serkis, Motion Capture, and Digital Realism

This essay examines the design and performance of the title character of King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake, as well as their decision to expose their behind-the-scenes work in publicity material, online production diaries, and DVD special features.  I argue that these ancillary materials do more than just promote the film; they also introduce […]

Honors Methods Seminar

This seminar was developed to help undergraduate honors students in Film and Media Studies learn the research, writing, and production methodologies that will allow them to complete their honors thesis projects in a timely fashion. Faculty mentors visit the class to discuss their own writing and creative strategies, and the students share and workshop their […]

Digital + New Media Theory

This course serves as an introduction to theories of media, focusing specifically on digital media and its predecessors. Our readings will examine the origins and development of technoculture, which is a term that refers to the influence technology has on culture, politics, and aesthetic forms. More specifically, we will study the impact of computation on […]

Black Mirror

This course closely examines the Netflix/Channel 4 series Black Mirror (2011-2023), a science-fiction anthology series that explores the implications of digital technology on our society. The class pairs screenings of the show with readings on the relationships between digital media and politics, social relationships, privacy, identity, trolling, etc. Students then work on their own ideas for Black Mirror episodes.