Film and TV communicate by means of visual imagery to a greater extent than any other medium, with the exception of photography. Thus, while both film and TV may contain spoken dialogue and written word, the two media also articulate ideas, themes, and feelings through constant visual output. Like written and spoken word, this visual output embodies a language, with a complete visual vocabulary.
Analysis of the visual vocabulary of can take on many forms. A look at imagery, symbol, and motif in anime shows how specific images may manifest themselves over the course of a series and what ideas they convey. However, visual vocabulary, like the vocabulary of any language, may be broken further into smaller pieces, analogous to the individual letters that make up words. An analysis of the treatment of light and shape deconstructs images in this way, examined here in Blade Runner, Bubblegum Crisis, and Max Headroom.
Last modified 20 March 2005