Workshop “Computer-based Approaches for the Analysis of Film Style”

Workshop “Computer-based Approaches for the Analysis of Film Style”

Date: 3. / 4. May 2018

Venue: ZeM – Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM)

With his idea of distant reading, Franco Moretti suggests a quantitative approach for literary studies that makes use of computer-based methods to identify complex patterns and hidden relationships in texts. One of the most popular approaches to implement distant reading is called stylometry. It is based on the assumption that authors have characteristic stylistic preferences when it comes to writing a text. These preferences may be expressed in terms of individual vocabulary or the frequent – and oftentimes unconscious – use of common function words, such as articles or conjunctions. By calculating the frequencies of individual word usage in different texts, a stylistic fingerprint of a text can be obtained. Texts may then be classified stylistically by means of their individual fingerprint. One popular application of stylometry is automatic authorship attribution for texts with unknown authorship by calculating their stylistic distance to other texts, where the authors are known.

In the workshop, we would like to explore how these quantitative stylometric approaches that are used in literary studies, can be transferred and extened to the analysis of film style. This also involves a critical reflection on the meaning and usage of the term style in the context of film studies as well as a discussion about its formalization to facilitate the automated computer-supported analysis of film style. One of the main challenges in adapting stylometric procedures from literary studies to the analysis of film can be found in the identification of quantifiable parameters. In literary studies, stylometry operates on word frequencies. In film studies, we find a plethora of other – technical as well as aesthetic – factors that influence film style, e.g. shot lengths and frequencies, angle and size of shots, techniques for connecting shots and scenes (e.g. cross fading), manipulation of time (e.g. slow motion and time lapse), motion and direction of movement (camera- and object motion), color usage and contrasts, frequently occurring persons, objects, audiovisual motifs language use and dialogic structure.

With this transdisciplinary workshop, we would like to bring together scholars from different fields such as film studies, literary studies, linguistics and computer science. We expect participants to contribute to the workshop by presenting their ideas and experiences on the analysis of style and to discuss chances and limitations of quantitative and computer-based approaches for the analysis of film.

Workshop organized by:

Adelheid Heftberger, Manuel Burghardt, Johannes Pause, Niels-Oliver Walkowski and Matthias Zeppelzauer

Confirmed workshop participants (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Dmitry Adamsky (University College London)
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jan-Hendrik Bakels (Free University Berlin)
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Manuel Burghardt (University of Leipzig)
Prof. Dr. Ralph Ewerth (Leader of the Research Group Visual Analytics, TIB Hannover)
Prof. Dr. Barbara Flückiger (University of Zurich)
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Matthias Grotkopp (Free University Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Malte Hagener (University of Marburg)
Dr. Adelheid Heftberger (Brandenburg Center for Media Studies)
Dr. Dietmar Kammerer (University of Marburg)
Dr. Sebastian Möring (University of Potsdam)
Dr. Christian Gosvig Olesen (University of Amsterdam)
Dr. Johannes Pause (Université du Luxembourg)
Prof. Dr. Yuri Tsivian (University of Chicago)
Prof. Dr. Chris Wahl (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF)
Niels-Oliver Walkowski (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)
Prof. Dr. Mark Williams (Dartmouth University)
Dr. Matthias Zeppelzauer (University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Pölten)

Venue: Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM), Hermann-Elflein-Straße 18, 14467 Potsdam.

Participation: If you are interested in participating, please send an Email to until April 15, 2018.

Workshop funded by the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZeM).


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Niels-Oliver Walkowski (2018, 16. April). Workshop “Computer-based Approaches for the Analysis of Film Style”. DHd AG Film und Video. Abgerufen am 27. Mai 2024, von