CfP: Technology and Film Labour: Crafting the Look of the Film

Technology and Film Labour: Crafting the Look of the Film. Investigating the impacts of technological change on below the line film labour.

Recent technological developments such as the widespread adoption of virtual production processes and the use of generative AI have had a transformative effect on film production workflows and below the line film craft. The relationships between production departments as well as the roles and functions of cinematography, production design, sound design costume, location and visual effects have all been affected by technological change.

At the same time, such transformations in production practices are nothing new, with historical precedents including the impact on film craft of the transition to sound, the impact of colour on costume and set design and the emergence of lightweight camera technology. Whilst each of these shifts has altered the skill sets and daily work practices of film practitioners, such changes have been equally subsumed into enduring conventions around story and stylistic norms. This conference seeks to understand the latest wave of technological transformations in relation to these histories of below the line film craft and production norms.

Emerging scholarship in areas such as production studies, along with the archival turn in film scholarship, have seen the development in recent years of new critical discourses aimed at making visible the inclusions and exclusions in scholarly and popular understandings of creative labour. Drawing on such developments, this conference aims to track the historical relationships between technological change and below the line labour and to explore critical strategies for restoring the visibility of film craft in the production of meaning around individual films. We invite proposals on an array of topics from industry studies, to production history, to individual practice, to textual analysis, focused on the work of below the line crew. We particularly welcome papers that bring to light the intersection of technology and structures of gender, sexuality, race and class that have determined the (in)visibility of specific forms of labour or individual practitioners.

In that light, we are interested in papers on topics including, but not limited to:
  • Histories of film craft
  • Collaborative practices and creative partnerships, particularly of non-directing crew
  • Virtual production processes and workflows
  • Generative AI and previs/post production practices
  • Technology and low-budget/marginal film practice
  • Histories and practices of female and POC crew
  • Practices that challenge Hollywood’s hierarchical organizational structures
  • The affect of digital technologies on colour, framing, camera movement, etc.
  • Digital platforming and the look of film

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers from individuals or as pre-constituted panels. Please send a 300 word abstract and a short bio (100 words) to, subject “Technology and Film Labour.” Deadline for submissions is Friday October 18th 2024.

Contact Information
  • Conn Holohan (University of Galway)
  • Aaron Hunter (Trinity College Dublin)