Chapter 3


Kevin Webb. “The Hobbit’s New High Frame Rate Format Fails to Impress.” Atlanta Black Star, December 11, 2012.

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The article from which this quotation is taken is accessible at the following address:


Tessé, “La révolution numérique est terminée,” 8.


Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film, 166.


Babette Mangolte, “Afterword: A Matter of Time,” in Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida: Essays in Honor of Annette Michelson, ed. Richard Allen and Malcolm Turvey (2002), 263. Quoted in Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film, 163.


Rodowick, The Virtual Life of Film, 100.


This would account in part for the renewed interest today in this older format.

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While many of us today vaguely share this impression of loss of depth, warmth and proximity (a loss said to be caused by the digitalizing of media), it is difficult to view the matter from a distance and study it scientifically when the question is sometimes tinged with nostalgia or a fear of change. All the more so in that, even when one adopts the point of view of users, these orientations or “colourations” tied to the ontology of the transmission material are not always perceived. Recall in this respect the sometimes unconvincing contortions engaged in by Marshall McLuhan to explain how for him television was a cold medium which, according to his definition, encouraged participation in the medium. For McLuhan, the myriad of points that the viewer must recombine, without knowing it, in order to have access to the image transmitted on his or her small domestic screen, fit this criterion for participation. Associated in this way with the television viewer’s unconscious perception alone, the “participative coldness” defined by McLuhan aroused controversy. We might also wonder whether this “ontological” way of interpreting the digital image’s coldness-without-duration is not open to a critique of the same order as that levelled against McLuhan with respect to television. We might ask in passing, if the reader agrees to shift the conceptual field a smidgen, the following seemingly peculiar question: does the digital not also function, in its own way, as a technological ersatz of McLuhan’s television viewer, given that it carries out for us the synthesis and reconstruction of the digitized image we see?


Laurent Guido and Olivier Lugon, “Introduction,” in Fixe/animé: Croisements de la photographie et du cinéma au xxe siècle, ed. Laurent Guido and Olivier Lugon (2010), 11.


In French the authors use the expression image mouvementée. The latter term can mean stirring, lively, or eventful, but taken literally would mean “made to move.” It is, as they point out, virtually never used with respect to the cinematic moving image, but they argue it could be used to express an idea such as “an image put into motion.”—Trans.

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The word “mouvementé” was used in a similar sense with reference to moving images at the time of cinema’s invention, as can be seen by its presence in the very title of a book by Henri Fourtier, Les tableaux de projections mouvementés: Étude des tableaux mouvementés; leur confection par les méthodes photographiques: Montage des mécanismes (Paris: Gauthier-Villars et fils, 1893).


See Maria Tortajada, “Le statut du photogramme et l’instant prégnant au moment de l’émergence du cinéma,” in In the Very Beginning, at the Very End, ed. Francesco Casetti, Jane Gaines, and Valentina Re (2012), 23–32. See also Maria Tortajada, “Photographie/cinéma: Paradigmes complémentaires du début du xxe siècle,” in Fixe/animé, ed. Guido and Lugon (2010), 47–61.


Caroline Chik, L’Image paradoxale: Fixité et mouvement ( 2011).


“Dispositif” in a sense close to that with which it is used by François Albera and Maria Tortajada, translated here as “dispositive”: “The technical
dimension, approached through the question of the dispositive, brings together a) the spectator, the environment, the user; b) the machine, the
device or devices; c) the institution or institutions.” (Translation modified slightly—Trans.) François Albera and Maria Tortajada, eds., Cine-
Dispositives: Essays in Epistemology Across Media, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press (2014).


Philippe Marion, “Narratologie médiatique et médiagénie des récits,” Recherches en communication 7 (1997): 82.

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Ibid., 83.


With respect to radio, we should introduce a nuance here arising from the joint evolution of its uses and technologies. As Simon Thibodeau of the Université de Montréal has pointed out to us, with an iPhone application (TuneIn Radio) one can interrupt radio’s flow by hitting pause and going back ten seconds if one has missed a passage, to record an excerpt, etc. In this way, the radically homochrone nature of radio can be mitigated. In addition, as Marnie Mariscalchi of the Université de Montréal has pointed out to us, radio has ceased to be broadcast only live and can be played back in the form of podcasts, autonomous capsules that can be listened to on demand, downloaded, and stored (for example, the BBC World News hourly news bulletins).

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