Mobilising Stillness: from database to story, via still and moving-image

Wyn Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article explores the concept of 'database filmmaking' (i.e. first compiling a creative database of images in order to later construct a narrative in post-production, rather than following the more traditional pathway of filmmaking via scriptwriting), arguing that approaching a film from a database perspective can potentially increase its cinematic qualities. The article builds upon Database as a Symbolic Form (2001) by Manovich, along with cinema writings by Kracauer, Bresson and Tarkovsky. The author takes his own short film, Crossing (2008) - co-directed with filmmaker/photographer, Ian Wiblin - as an example and case study in formulating image-led drama. The film's database consisted of both still and moving-image, which were juxtaposed in a variety of ways; the article reflects upon this methodology and how the meanings generated by the interplay of still and moving-image could only have emerged from adopting a database approach to storytelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143 - 162
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Media Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • cinematic
  • database
  • filmmaking
  • moving-image
  • still image


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