Visual effects and 19th century stereoscopic photography: cinematographic remediation in new media.

doutor filipe costa luz

The erasure of stereoscopic photography from 20th century media history (referred by authors such as Jonathan Crary or Tom Gunning), had repercussionsin other fields. In the main bibliography of visual effects history we can find some historical reviews from the different eras of stereoscopic movies (S3D) but we hardly find references to the stereoscopic photography.

Computer-generated effects are addressed as a remediation of analogue techniques in motion pictures, such as the double exposures of Georges Méliès, the image compositing of Edwin S. Porter, the “glass shots” of Norman O. Dawn or the model animations of Willis O’Brien, among others. However, we cannot find relevant studies about stereoscopic compositions using transparencies from 1860, which could be looked upon as direct predecessors of modern spectacular effects in cinema and television.

The compositing work of French tissues, such as Diableries from the publisher Adolf Block (1860-1900), reveals processes of image manipulation that can be found in modern visual effects movies. Nowadays, the digital work made from render and matte passes in film is similar from Tron (Disney, 1982) post-production processes, but we intend to clarify that Tron remediates compositing methods from Diableries and others French tissues stereocards.

In this work we intend to investigate the remediation of the feeling of admiration and wonder (wow effect), present in these early manipulations, as it is in state of the art 21st century visual effects. We shall also address the importance of the stereo apparatus in the spectator response to visual effects, hoping to comprehend if, how, and to what extent, does the device influence the emotional response and the immersive effect.