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Chair: Image, Light, Space

Image Light Space deals with the structure of pictorial elements and how they interact. We distinguish static and dynamic image composition. Elements of visual story-telling are: figures and objects in their materiality and lighting, both in their spatial as well as in their temporal or narrative placement within the film frame. While this is commonly known as montage, the creative dynamic of Image Light Space goes deeper: the arrangement and change of the pictorial elements through camera movement, or through the movement of the objects themselves within the image, create an inner tension and cause an inner montage that cannot be achieved in this intense form through editing alone – this is dynamic pictorial composition.
The most important dramaturgical element is: the authentic moment. This is what one strives for (particularly in documentary) film. Yet capturing authenticity is the most difficult thing, as it mostly vanishes with the presence of the camera. In a theatrical film, dramaturgical progression and authenticity can (ideally) be staged, capturing the Authentic Moment. In documentary films it can only be “injected”. In Light Image Space seminars, students learn the sensitivity, ways and inspiration to train their “injection capability”.

Image Light Space – world behind the screen

An image is composed of several elements, which are arranged according to laws of composition and are subject to the general laws of art. A film image is ideally more than tangible things pressed into a frame. Instead the audience should be given the impression they are looking into a world created by the filmmaker. Light and filmic space are the prerequisites for this experience. The boundaries of the screen aren’t a “picture frame”, but a “window” into this world. In order for this world to be imbued with a soul and an inner reality, this space behind the screen must be given an authentic continuity.
Image Light Space courses examine how to create this continuity, and are a must for cinematography students, as well as for students of directing and screenwriting. Its significance is comparable to that of harmonics to music. Authenticity is the prime objective.
A mere picture montage, on the other hand, simply produces a superficial experience and resembles  randomly flipping through a magazine.

Image Light Space – mere image, or art window into the world - Statement by Prof. Peter Zeitlinger

“To me films cannot be divided into documentary, fiction or experimental (structure) films. To me films can be distinguished only by whether they claim to belong to visual art or to performing art.
In visual art the canvas is the (picture) frame, in which the filmmaker creates something that evokes in the ‘viewer’ intellectual, aesthetic delight, repulsion or shock. The pictorial elements are arranged either in accordance with the rules of art or in contradiction to them. In performing art, however, an illusion of reality is created in the ‘spectator’, who ‘experiences’ the world the filmmaker has created. In this process, the camera becomes an instrument with which one ‘extracts’ pieces of reality and inserts them into a temporal and spatial context. The camera window becomes a window into the world instead of a surface on which pictorial elements are arranged according to the rules of art.
My work is guided by these fundamental principles, and all creative design decisions follow the one question: What do I want to tell and how am I going to focus audience attention in that direction, to achieve the effect my reality calls for? This automatically leads to a color design, a rhythm, an ‘image composition’ – it results in a style. The genres and editing are then mere conventions of marketing but not of design. The montage must already be anticipated or implied in the spatial, temporal arrangement of my shot.”

Image Light Space – Listening-plane exercises

A narrative work of film is composed of a story and characters, in an audio-visual space-time continuum, immersed in light. A picture-listening space conveys the film experience to the spectator / listener.

The Chair Image Light Space deals not only with this aspect in and of itself, but rather with the interaction of all these components. That is, we deal, for example, with the effect of several illuminated pictures in succession, together with the perceived audio plane.

In a light exercise, for example, paintings and famous films are emulated as three-dimensional scenes. The students are guided to study the complex lighting atmospheres in combination with the quality of the materials, and to reconstruct them in a practical set-up in the studio. This helps them find the basis for their own ideas and styles.