The Thrill is Gone?

An interesting question was posed to me recently…does knowing the behind the scenes stuff, the nuts and bolts, of media production lessen the “wow” factor for you as a viewer? This question not only applies to my experiences as a film and media student, but it’s also a question that directly relates to my experience as an intern at Abbott Media Productions. When I first considered the question, I thought it was a no-brainer, how could knowing not take away from the magic? Yet, it’s not that simple. Seeing a project unfold from concept, to its primitive form, and through to completion is very revealing and allows me, as a viewer, to engage with the form on multiple levels. The truth is, knowing the nuts and bolts of media production actually increases my viewing pleasure of media and makes me more appreciative of the form.

Most of us have heard the expression, “I don’t care how the sausage is made…” and as consumers of media, perhaps, this is our perspective, we just want to enjoy the end result and don’t need or want to know the details. Of course, seeing the final product is the big payoff, but we often times take for granted all of the dedication and effort that goes into the creation of a complete product. We overlook the fact that an artist, through a collaborative effort, has constructed what we see, hear, feel, and that everything within a media product has a function. The way an object or character moves, the texture, the lighting, the angle of the camera, all of these aspects of mise-en-scene—a fancy French word meaning everything that’s in front of the camera—is deliberate and conveys meaning.

Consider your favorite film or a memorable commercial for a moment and think about how the lighting used within a scene brings an object to life, enhancing the curves of a sports car or making a body of water glisten. Undoubtedly, this element, in this case lighting, influences how we perceive the object and ignites the visual enjoyment of what we see. The lighting, shadows, and reflections are not haphazard, but rather, a specific choice made by the artist creating media. So, knowing that lighting is constructed, often times being tweaked to perfection to get just the right amount of balance, not only functions to fulfill a specific vision but is effective in being visually pleasurable for the viewer.

Over the past few days, seeing the animators work on various projects has only increased the “wow” factor that I experience when viewing media. Having the opportunity to observe the thoughtful details and discussions that go into the visuals that Abbott Media creates only deepens my appreciation of media and the impact that it has on me as a viewer. I can now answer the question with certainty, and say that, behind the scenes knowledge of media production does not detract from my enjoyment of media, it emphasizes the power and wonder of media creation.

By: Shonell King

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