Advertisement

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

Tonight on PBS: A Capitol Fourth with Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, and KC and the Sunshine Band
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IQqWgdF1z0[/youtube] Tune in tonight to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS, featuring Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, and Lang Lang, and hosted by Bradley Whitford. And ...

posted 12:00:57pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Marvin Gaye Sings the Star Spangled Banner
Happy 4th of July! [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/34606761[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:38:56am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Declaration of Independence -- Happy 4th of July!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETroXvRFoKY ...

posted 7:00:25am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.