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©2019 by Chris Paul Walton.

Immersion

December 30, 2016

  

Previously we discussed emotions and character building. I feel at this stage it would be sensible to discuss why these things are important. One of the key terms here is Immersion, you want an audience to be immersed in your film. To feel connected, involved. Any inconsistency or error will drag an audience out, stopping them being immersed, and spoil the experience. 

 

So what is immersion? By definition it is the act of being completely engaged or involved. Ever been to a film and the credits roll before you know it? You were so immersed it didn't feel like two hours had passed. However, sometimes you feel every minute of it because you are so disconnected from what you're watching. This is why immersion is important. Prince (2012, p.183) tells us  that an ideal of sensory immersion is embedded in cinema…suggesting that there is an enduring human fascination with the experience of virtual spaces and perspectives. So humans have a desire to be immersed meaning they are willing to see past some issues in order to remain immersed, however not all problems can be ignored. 


Something doesn't have to always be realistic in order for you to be immersed. Indeed even a fantasy world can feel real and draw you in. This is known as suspension of disbelief. This is defined as the suspension of critical faculties in order to believe the unbelievable, to put aside logic for the sake of enjoyment. Take Star Trek for example, any of the series of films. The concept of giant space faring vessels travelling between the stars is beyond even our wildest technological dreams in current times. However within that universe it is the norm, it is accepted as real. An audience will suspend their disbelief provided you maintain a consistency of universe. But if you stray away from the established norms of the universe, this is when you will fun into problems. Star Trek is a good example here because of how widespread and huge the universe is. The lore and established "truth" of what can and cannot be has been grown over decades through multiple renditions and programs. Even the most outlandish sounding concepts can be accepted if it has been established as possible within the universe. Take the Q in various episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. A race of omnipotent beings with seemingly magical powers. They can manipulate space time, create and destroy whole star systems at a whim. The Q were established and their extreme power defined somewhat in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They are considered canon and even though to the uninitiated they may seem extreme and beyond belief Trek fans remain immersed, they suspend their disbelief. 

 

References:

  • Prince, S. (2012) Digital visual effects in cinema: The seduction of reality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

 

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