Specialized knowledge from various domains of activity is more and more successfully communicated within sites of appearance and dissemination whose rationale is both educational and commercial. The focus of this paper is on how specialized knowledge related to the domain of film production is communicated in order to both instruct and persuade. Based on social semiotic theory, this paper explores how specialized film knowledge is multimodally communicated in the discourse of four multimedia kits created during 2006-2009 in connection with annual international symposiums on digital production of film and TV organized by a German leading art academy. These multimedia kits, Insight Out, are targeted at film and media professionals, teachers and students who want to know how film making and film language will develop in the digital era. In the multimedia kits, the educational and advertising discourses are combined across semiotic modes and media when conveying the new knowledge. Applying a multimodal analytical framework, the paper focuses on the modal ensembles through which new film knowledge is communicated in the multimedia kits through both educational and advertising discourses. The multimodal discourse analysis explores how the meaning-making potentials of several semiotic modes are integrated across media, and how this complex integration is simultaneously influenced by the instructive and persuasive purposes of the discourses. On the basis of the detailed exploration of the interdependence and functional differentiation between semiotic modes, the paper attempts to reveal how a social semiotic understanding of such multimedia kits can provide relevant means for rethinking and consequently improving educational materials in various contexts.
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The 5th International Conference on Multimodality, 2010