Back To Schedule
Friday, May 29 • 1:15pm - 2:30pm
Distant Reading Visual Media Using Computation and Digital Image Analysis Tools

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Distant reading has emerged as a method of analysis in literature, but has less often been used to analyze visual media such as movies, video games or other imagery. Our work centers on analyzing visual media using computation and distant reading techniques to generate deeper understanding. Methodologically, we employ image analysis software (e.g. Imageplot) to generate large scale visualizations of the media. Sometimes they function as digital “fingerprints” of the media, showing their unique structure and makeup, or the visualizations allow us to see a large number of objects across time and space in one view. Our panel will include examples of distant reading visual media from film, video games, instructional videos and art. Through presentation of individual work and discussion we plan to engage the audience in the possibilities offered by this area of work. Below we provide brief examples of our work.

Film study typically relies on faculty focusing on techniques of specific directors or film movements. This can be somewhat ambiguous, and instructors use discussion to isolate what makes each director's style unique. Employing digital image analysis allows new ways to teach film to students—ways that no longer rely exclusively on choosing key examples, but point to overall trends in a single film, repeated techniques throughout a single author’s oeuvre, or the possibility of finding commonalities among directors and movements that are typically unseen with traditional methods.

Game studies are just beginning to construct methodologies for critical analysis of games and their narratives, thus far such work has focused almost exclusively on a “close playing” of sorts -- a focus on specific moments or elements of play, drawing evidence for arguments from this narrowed lens. Using digital image analysis provides alternative methods for analyzing game aesthetics and meaning construction. Using videos of game playthroughs, we move toward “distance playing” which allows for analyses of whole games and game genres, identifying patterns and structures that emerge only in a holistic view of a game or genre.

Instructional video is often used but lacks research in the area of effective structuring and storyboarding. By generating digital fingerprints of instructional video we are able to distant read large corpora, looking for patterns in camera angle/zoom, brightness or other color measures that may affect learning/engagement. Studying these patterns allows us to develop structures for creating new instructional video that may further engage students and create better learning environments.

Art history often uses biography to understand works of art, but what if the artworks could tell us something about the artist? Individual artworks are examined to discuss very specific points in the artist’s life. However, using digital image analysis allows us to see the scope of an artist’s work, discovering trends and changes pertaining to color, hue, style, saturation, and more. By combining digital image analysis with biographical information, we are able to open the dialogue between the two and see a broader view of the artists work.

avatar for Scott Schopieray

Scott Schopieray

Asst Dean, Michigan State University

avatar for Patrick Bills

Patrick Bills

Research Consultant, MSU Institute for Cyber Enabled Research
Programmer/Analyst for researchers for 20 yrs. Currently the Database and R domain specialist for ICER. Web Application developer.
avatar for Megan Charley

Megan Charley

Ph.D. Candidate, Michigan State University, English
avatar for Cody Mejeur

Cody Mejeur

PhD Student/Graduate Instructor, Michigan State University
Cody is a PhD student in the English department at Michigan State University. His work focuses on game narrative, including narrative theory and game studies. He also works in the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition lab in MSU's English department. He currently teaches both... Read More →

Tatum Walker

Digital Media Specialist, Detroit Institute of Art
I am a digitally minded museum educator experienced in designing, creating, and managing learning kiosks, mobile multimedia tours, and serious games. I earned a B.A. in Art History and Visual Culture and an M.A. in Educational Technology at Michigan State University. I am currently... Read More →

Friday May 29, 2015 1:15pm - 2:30pm EDT
Centennial Room Kellogg Center

Attendees (0)