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Film Analysis Tool Released

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May 7, 2002.CCNMTL in partnership with Larry Engel, adjunct professor of film at the School of the Arts, released Deconstructor: A Film Analysis Tool, which will aid film students in learning, understanding and applying the language used in film analysis. Dr. Engel envisioned this new media tool to change the student role from a passive film viewer to an active critical thinker about the construction of a film scenes, a skill they will carry into their own work as filmmakers.

Using Deconstructor, students will view film scenes, dissect them into a series of shots, then annotate each shot according to a standard film analysis template. They will be prompted to look at scene analysis with a set of criteria used to identify film elements, such as shot type, angle, and camera movement.

Analyzing a series of shots, students will build a visual score for a scene by layering and juxtaposing different variables across time. The graphing feature will aid them in identifying relationships and patterns among different film elements.

Professor Engel modeled Deconstructor on the teaching of former Columbia Professor Stefan Sharff. Says Professor Engel, Sharff's "approach to film grammar and syntax opened a way of seeing film that I hadn't thought of before. This new tool is a way of continuing his work and helping students more easily collect data necessary to discuss and learn about film's inherent grammatical underpinnings."

A beta of Deconstructor was introduced to Engel's course, Analysis of Film, this spring. The final version, which will be ready for use in fall 2002, will include many more graphing options and interface changes based on comments from students in the spring course.

The Deconstructor