Higher Education

Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics, 7th Edition

  • Herbert Zettl San Francisco State University (Emeritus)
  • ISBN-10: 1133307353  |  ISBN-13: 9781133307358
  • 464 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2011, 2008, 2005
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $222.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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Media aesthetics have gained prominence with the dramatic advances in the digital technology of video and electronic cinema, making Herb Zettl's SIGHT SOUND MOTION: APPLIED MEDIA AESTHETICS more applicable than ever. The seventh edition of SIGHT SOUND MOTION continues to be the most comprehensive book on the market, not only describing the major aesthetic image elements--light and color, space, time-motion, and sound--but also presenting in-depth coverage on how they are creatively used in television and film. Zettl's thorough coverage of aesthetic theory and the application of that theory place this contemporary and highly relevant text in a class by itself. Richly illustrated and now presented for the first time in full color, this edition features strong visuals that often draw on traditional art forms, such as painting, sculpture, and dance.

Features and Benefits

  • The aesthetic liabilities of digital effects and their potential meta-messages are highlighted.
  • More than 700 visual examples support Zettl's comprehensive coverage of aesthetic theory.
  • Current material reflects up-to-date ideas of media aesthetics.
  • A comprehensive glossary defines all of the fundamental media aesthetic terms. As with the vocabulary of a foreign language, knowledge of these terms is an essential prerequisite to communication about media aesthetics. Some of the less familiar terms, such as 'vectors,' are used in this book not to test the reader's patience but because they are more precise than some of the more common terms. Students are encouraged to consult the glossary before reading the text to facilitate understanding the various concepts.
  • The power of inductive shooting and sequencing is highlighted in the context of large and small screens.
  • The text explores the major aesthetic features of electronic cinema and how it differs from video and conventional film. Emphasis is placed on the elusive "film look" in electronic cinema.

Table of Contents

About the Author.
1. Applied Media Aesthetics.
2. The First Aesthetic Field: Light.
3. Structuring the First Aesthetic Field: Lighting.
4. The Extended First Field: Color.
5. Structuring Color: Function and Composition.
6. The Two-dimensional Field: Area.
7. The Two-dimensional Field: Forces Within the Screen.
8. Structuring the Two-dimensional Field: Interplay of Screen Forces.
9. The Three-dimensional Field: Depth and Volume.
10. Structuring the Three-dimensional Field: Screen Volume and Effects.
11. Building Screen Space: Visualization.
12. The Four-dimensional Field: Time.
13. The Four-dimensional Field: Motion.
14. Structuring the Four-dimensional Field: Timing and Principal Motions.
15. The Five-dimensional Field: Sound.
16. Structuring the Five-dimensional Field: Sound Structures and Sound/Picture Combinations.
17. Visual Narrative: The Syntax of Continuity Editing.
18. Visual Narrative: The Syntax of Complexity Editing.

What's New

  • This seventh edition of SIGHT SOUND MOTION is presented in full color. You need no longer turn to a color-plates section when searching for color references; instead, you can find them in the text where they belong. Paradoxically, this achievement coincides with a renewed emphasis on the power of black-and-white images to express emotions and elicit empathy, a topic explored in the desaturation theory section.
  • This text contains valuable information about how to compose effective shots for the tiny mobile media display as well as the large screens in motion picture theaters. Coverage on aspect ratios discusses the various ways of framing shots in the 4 × 3 standard video aspect ratio, the 16 × 9 high-definition television aspect ratio, and the small cell phone screen.
  • Although some proponents of 3D claim that there is no difference in the acquisition of 2D and 3D images, the aesthetics of the two production modes differ to a great extent. The major 3D features are explained throughout the text, and more extensively in the three-dimensional field chapters.
  • Extensive information about special effects in film and video productions is integrated throughout the text.
  • The text provides a basis for the study of media literacy--an educational discipline that has become an essential prerequisite for producers as well as consumers of media programs.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"SIGHT SOUND MOTION is still the 'gold standard' in the field, and other books only emulate Zettl's approach."

— Joan Goloboy, Endicott College

"This is the 'Bible' of media aesthetics. That's huge. Everyone uses it. Everyone knows it."

— Christopher Strobel, Northern Kentucky University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 1285081196 | ISBN-13: 9781285081199)

The Instructor's Manual contains resources designed to streamline and maximize the effectiveness of your course preparation. This helpful manual includes teaching approaches and methods, suggestions for developing a course syllabus, chapter outlines, class-tested activities and exercises, technology resources, test items, and assessment tests. Each chapter includes key concepts, class exercises, VideoLab activities, and questions in essay, multiple-choice, and true-false formats. It also includes a section devoted to extra book, digital, and media resources.

VideoLab 4.0  (ISBN-10: 1111348901 | ISBN-13: 9781111348908)

Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 is the fully updated, award-winning DVD-ROM that brings a virtual video production studio right to your students' computer! This stand-alone, interactive DVD-ROM uses demonstrations and guided practice to teach students the basics of the video production process. It establishes a scenario in which the student plays the role of a video intern, getting hands-on video production experience that introduces them to the principles of camera, lighting, audio, switching, editing and the video production process. Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 now features Advanced Labs, challenging exercises designed to improve students' ability with the equipment and concepts introduced in the regular modules. This virtual lab can be used with any of Herb Zettl's books, with other television texts, or with no book at all. Unlike any available book, Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 gives students an opportunity to see, hear, and practice the skills being taught in accurately simulated studio and field environments.

List Price = $228.95  | CengageBrain Price = $228.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $169.50

Student Supplements

VideoLab 4.0  (ISBN-10: 1111348901 | ISBN-13: 9781111348908)

Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 gives you virtual hands-on practice and a proven shortcut from reading about production techniques to applying them in the studio and the field. Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 now features Advanced Labs, challenging exercises designed to improve your ability with the equipment and concepts introduced in the regular modules.

List Price = $228.95  | CengageBrain Price = $228.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $169.50

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Herbert Zettl

Herbert Zettl is a professor emeritus of the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where he led the Institute of International Media Communication and received the California State Legislature Distinguished Teaching Award and the Broadcast Education Association's Distinguished Education Service Award. Prior to joining the SFSU faculty, Zettl worked at KOVR (Stockton-Sacramento) and as a producer-director at KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, where he participated in a variety of CBS and NBC network television productions. Because of his outstanding contributions to the television profession, Zettl was elected to the prestigious Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northern California Chapter. He is also a member of the Broadcast Legends of the NATAS Northern California Chapter. Lecturing extensively at universities and professional broadcast institutions both in the United States and abroad, Zettl has presented key papers at a variety of national and international communication conventions. He is the author of VIDEO BASICS, TELEVISION PRODUCTION HANDBOOK and SIGHT SOUND MOTION, which are translated into several languages and published internationally. His numerous articles on television production and media aesthetics have appeared in major media journals worldwide, and he also developed an interactive DVD-ROM -- Zettl's VideoLab 4.0 (Cengage Learning). His previous CD-ROM version won several prominent awards, including the Macromedia People's Choice Award, the New Media Invision Gold Medal for Higher Education, and Invision Silver Medals in the categories of Continuing Education and Use of Video.