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Dictionary of Film Terms

The Aesthetic Companion to Film Art – Fifth Edition

Frank Beaver

Now in its fifth edition, Frank Beaver’s Dictionary of Film Terms has become an indispensable reference tool for the study of films and filmmaking. This trusted and practical handbook clearly and concisely defines the essential terms of film analysis and film art, with a special focus on the aesthetic parameters and values of filmmaking.
The updated and expanded edition includes new definitions ranging from «bullet-time» optical effects, to the coming-of-age narrative, and LED lighting technology in science fiction films such as Gravity. More than 200 film title references not cited in previous editions have been added. Many classic and contemporary photo stills are included to illustrate terms. Extensive cross-referencing among individual definitions ensures easy access to interrelated terms, and a comprehensive topical index relates to larger concepts of film art.
This up-to-date and comprehensive resource is a useful companion for film students and filmgoers, who will find it illuminating in its range and clarity.
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Fade A transition device for moving from one scene or sequence to another in a motion picture. A fade-out occurs when the image on the screen fades to black to end the scene. The scene that follows may suddenly appear, or it may gradually fade in from black. The first is a fade-out/cut-in transition, while the second is the traditional fade-out/fade-in. The use of a fade-out/cut-in has a different effect than the slow, more contemplative movement of the fade-out/fade-in. The fade-out/cut-in gives the fade-out a feeling of finality and separation to the scene just ending, while the cut-in introduces the new action in a dynamic, attention-getting way. In Small Change (1976), François Truffaut uses the fade-out/cut-in transition to separate the longer sequences of his film about children. The use of this technique separates the parts of the film like movements in a musical composition or stanzas of a poem without significantly slowing the pace of the whimsical film.

Falling action (see Dramatic structure)

Fantasy A type of film story or film experience that occurs within the imagination, dreams, or hallucinations of a character or ← 109 | 110 → within the projected vision of the storyteller. Siegfried Kracauer defined film fantasy as storytelling or visual experience that is “outside the area of physical experience.” The term “fantasy” is also often used to describe a work that is set in an unreal world or that includes characters that are incredible in conception. Many of the early trick...

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