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FI110-15 Screen Technologies

SCAPVC - Film & Television Studies
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
James Taylor
Credit value
Module duration
9 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module explores the causes and consequences of moments of significant technological change and obsolescence in the history of moving image media. Students will explore both technologies of exhibition (from cinema projection to home video formats and platforms) and production technologies. Of course, these two often cannot be clearly separated, so interrelations and points of overlap will become evident as the term progresses.

Module aims

The module’s weekly case studies allow students to consider the technologies in relation to a range of cultural contexts. Students will examine how social, industrial and aesthetic factors inform technological change. Throughout the module students will reflect on how new screen technologies may be related to both changes and continuities in modes of spectatorship, film cultures and aesthetics.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1 – The invention of cinema and early film (1893-1900) as a ‘cinema of attractions’
Weeks 2-4 - Home video: key technologies and their impact on spectatorship and film cultures. Focusing on VHS (week 2), DVD (week 3), Video on Demand (week 4)
Weeks 5-8 - Key production technologies and their impact on film aesthetics and film cultures. Photography (week 5), sound (week 7), colour (week 8)
Weeks 9 and 10 - Digital production technologies and their impact on film aesthetics and film cultures. Digital filmmaking (week 9) and computer-generated imagery (week 10)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the relative importance of the social, industrial and aesthetic factors which inform and instigate technological change.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with, and an ability to interrogate, important theoretical approaches to questions of technological evolution and change.
  • Analyse various ways in which technological developments affect the representational and aesthetic properties of screen media.
  • Reflect on the extent to which the technologies through which you access screen media, and the conditions and paratexts associated with these technologies, shape your experience.
  • Judge the historiographical value of different kinds of evidential sources.
Indicative reading list

See Talis Aspire link above for full reading list

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

This module develops skills of audio-visual literacy, through close textual and/or contextual analysis in relation to the moving image and sound. It may also develops understandings of historical, theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to screen arts and cultures.

Transferable skills
  • critical and analytical thinking in relation
  • independent research skills
  • team work
  • clarity and effectiveness of communication, oral and written
  • accurate, concise and persuasive writing
  • audio-visual literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (9%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (9%)
Other activity 18 hours (18%)
Private study 64 hours (64%)
Total 100 hours
Private study description

Weekly readings, independent research and preparing material to discuss in seminars.

Other activity description

Film Screenings


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Reflective journal 1200 words 40% 20 hours
Essay 1800 words 60% 30 hours
Feedback on assessment

Detailed written feedback accompanying return of essays; follow-up tutorials on essay as requested.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UFIA-W620 Undergraduate Film Studies