Center for Educational Computing Initiatives

The Virtual Screening Room

The Virtual Screening Room is intended to be a fully interactive multimedia "textbook" for use in teaching film analysis both at MIT and at other institutions. While conventional film analysis textbooks translate a kinetic medium -- cinema into a static medium -- the printed page, the Virtual Screening Room allows the user to read about and view actual film clips simultaneously.

The Virtual Screening Room
Our efforts have been focused on the development of the Editing chapter, which serves as the prototype for the overall project. In the Editing chapter, users draw on a database of 500 film clips which illustrate basic vocabulary and techniques for analyzing film editing. History, theory and criticism are integrated into discussions of practical editing choices.

The Virtual Screening Room includes sections on the emergence of continuity editing, the principles of Soviet montage, Bazin's discussion of the long take, feminist theories of the gaze, and an overview of postclassical film style. Film examples are drawn from the broadest possible range of films, from early silent cinema to contemporary action films, from the French New Wave to Asian popular cinema.

A close analysis section includes shot-by-shot analyses of representative films. As an electronic textbook, this valuable resource will impart a better understanding of film genres and conventions, of the history and cultural context of film, and of the complex theories of the aesthetics of film.

The program was built in Supercard, was recently ported to Director and runs in both a MAC and PC environment.

Screen Shots


  • The National Endowment for the Humanities

Project Team

  • Content Authors: Henry Jenkins, Ben Singer, Ellen Draper
  • Executive Producer: Janet Murray
  • Project Manager: Lestra Litchfield
  • Design: Henry Jenkins, Janet Murray, Ben Singer, Jon Lofin, Stephanie Miller, Ellen Draper, Dorothy Shamonsky, Andy Bennett, Freedom Baird
  • Programming: Jon Loflin, Stephanie Miller, Kevin McDonald, Yuying Chen, Dorothy Shamonsky, Freedom Baird