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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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Oater Another term for a western film, especially one that follows the conventions of the genre closely and whose primary purpose is solely that of providing escapist entertainment.

Objective point of view (see Point of view)

Obscured frame Compositional treatment within a film frame so that part of the picture is obscured by an object, an actor, or by soft-focus photography. Obscured-frame composition is a device employed to direct visual emphasis to specific areas of the frame, to add visual variety and give a sense of depth to the composition, and to block from view parts of the screen image. See Blocking.

Off-screen space/on-screen space References for those images that appear within the film frame (on-screen) and those that are not visible but are apparent as existing beyond the edges of the frame (off-screen).

Omniscient point of view/narration A term used to indicate the point of view in a film where the narrator is an all-knowing, all-seeing omnipotent storyteller. Other characteristics include the ability to move from exterior to interior worlds, to shift freely in time and space, and to comment at will on characters, action, and story thematics. Third-person omniscient point of view is defined as the ability of a narrator to know the private thoughts and feelings of the other characters in the evolving story. Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi (2012) employed alternating points of view, predominantly Pi’s flashback first-person narration, which also veered from time to...

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