Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Movies by the Numbers — A Formula for Editing Film

posted by Nell Minow

New Scientist Magazine reports on a study by a psychologist of 150 movies and found that “the more recent they were, the more closely their shot lengths tended to follow a mathematical pattern that also describes human attention spans.” Based on a 1990′s study that turned the attention span data of hundreds of volunteers into “a series of waves using a mathematical trick called a Fourier transform,” this paper applied that formula to the edits of popular movies. The scientist, too-perfectly named Professor James Cutting, found that having shots of similar length recur in a regular pattern throughout the film correlates with box office success. However, it does not necessarily correlate to quality.
I wonder if, as many theorists suggest, the attention spans of high consumers of media are decreasing, and we will see those formulas speed up over time.



  • James

    This is really timely as I was discussing a phenomenon with a friend the other day. I’ve been going back and watching films I remember as being really entertaining from my youth (80’s). When I watch those same movies now, they seem REALLY slow and take forever for something to actually happen. Not sure if this is a trick of memory or a loss of attention span on my part!

Previous Posts

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.