3D movie subtitling. Searching for the best viewing experience
CoMe - Studi di Comunicazione e Mediazione Linguistica e Culturale
Year of publication
Subtitles these days have taken a new function beyond translating or transcribing dialogues. New technological development allows for placing subtitles, as texts, in any region of the screen, also for subtitles to become an integrated part of the narrative. Different terms have been used to label the new subtitles, their function and effect. Some authors use the term “dynamic subtitles” and they find through testing end users that subtitles have “the potential to make the overall viewing experience less disjointed and more immersive” (Brown et al 2015). O’Sullivan comments on this on-screen text type of the play between the diegetic and extra-diegetic: subtitles function as an “extreme anti-naturalistic device” (o’Sullivan 2011: 166). Commenting on the limits and nature of subtitling itself Luis Pérez-González points at a higher audience attraction “that shapes audience engagement by commenting upon the diegetic action and disrupting conventional forms of semiotic representation, making viewers consciously work as co-creators of media content” (Pérez-González 2012: 18). Finally, Dwyer through eye-tracking methodology challenges “that screen media is made to be viewed, not read” (Dwyer 2015). All these authors point at one issue: a change of viewing tradition and user involvement regarding subtitles. Not only subtitles are more engaging, media content is trying to maintain audience and gain new audiences through higher emotional interaction. 3D has been for over a century a format aiming at offering a more real environment where action develops. This article looks at subtitles accompanying 3D media, again a new subtitle opportunity to play with the narrative and the viewer interaction and engagement. The first part of the article revises the different ways to create 3D images. This is important to understand the second part of the article, when some 3D subtitled movies and videogames are analysed from a descriptive approach. The article concludes with the need to research from a user-centric perspective subtitle production to achieve the best viewing experience.