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Vera Kropf & Matthias Zeppelzauer (Vienna)

Introducing the project "Digital Formalism: The Vienna Vertov Collection"

The project

One of the main interests of "Digital Formalism: The Vienna Vertov Collection" is to develop new digital means of formal film analysis. The recently initiated project (February 2007) focuses on the elaboration of computer-based media tools for the analysis of films by Dziga Vertov (1896-1954) on the foundation of theoretical and historical film research. As a cooperation between the Department of Theatre-, Film- and Media Studies (Vienna University), the Interactive Media Systems Group (Vienna University of Technology) and the Austrian Film Museum the project is supposed to guarantee the intertwining of theoretical, historical, editorial and technical knowledge.


Digital Formalism: From a film historical and theoretical point of view

Digital Formalism: From a technical point of view

The project Digital Formalism aims at the development of content-based digital media tools for the analysis of films by Dziga Vertov. From a technical point of view, the analysis comprises the automated identification of high-level film elements, such as rhythm, contrast and montage sequences.

A first analysis step will identify and describe basic parameters, such as shot cuts, camera motion and transitions. In the second step we aim to combine these low-level parameters in order to derive higher level semantic concepts of montage. The user should have the possibility to refine the analysis by adjusting parameters and provide expert annotations.

The two parts of the paper will be presented as a dialogue between the involved film theorists and media processing scientists, in order to ascertain the interdisciplinary merging of film theory, advanced digital technology and materiality of film.