Big Screen vs. Small Screen

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Nick Hall - Participant

Zooming in on puppets and presidents: the benefits of a technology-based approach to the film/television interface

When discussing the use of zoom shots in Hollywood cinema, critics and historians have frequently focused on the technological and stylistic developments of the 1960s and 1970s. At times they have emphasised the significance of stylistic transfers between European and Hollywood cinemas, but have failed to give a detailed evaluation of earlier progress within the American television industry.

My paper will discuss the development of the zoom lens in early American television, highlighting its first uses in programming during the 1940s and 1950s. I will demonstrate the stylistic impact of this new and imperfect technology, with examples including the children’s puppet show Kukla Fran and Ollie, national coverage of US presidential election campaigns, and an early precursor to Judge Judy.

My paper will show that a technology-focused approach can open new avenues of enquiry which have the potential to rectify an over-emphasis on theatrical motion pictures. I will show that by studying individual technological innovations such as the zoom lens, a new dimension can be added to our understanding of the historical interplay between the American film and television industries.
Feb 2011

Big Screen vs. Small Screen

Duration16 Feb 201116 Feb 2011
CityCanterbury Christ Church University
CountryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionNational event

Event: Conference

ID: 17513658