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Film and Philosophy

Volume 24, 2020

Keith Dromm
Pages 156-174

CGI and Affective Responses to Narrative Films

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has transformed filmmaking. It has made it possible to film scenes that could not even be conceptualized without such technology. It has also made it easier to film many other types of scenes by relieving filmmakers of the need to reproduce entirely narrative elements at the profilmic level. For example, instead of performing dangerous stunts or creating expensive sets, filmmakers can create these elements digitally. This paper details how this advantage of CGI deprives filmmakers of a technique for enhancing audiences’ affective responses. When elements are duplicated at the profilmic and narrative levels, the overall affective response can be enhanced by eliciting the same affective responses to both levels. I label this phenomenon affect doubling. The dominance of CGI threatens to render this technique obsolete.

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