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

Critics: Which Movied Get Childhood Right?
Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about our favorite movies from the perspective of a child.  Here was my answer: "To Kill a Mockingbird" somehow captures the voice of the novel in allowing us to see ...

posted 11:09:45pm Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: David and Christi Eaton of "Hope Bridge"
David and Christi Eaton wanted to help families devastated by suicide and those who struggle with thoughts of suicide. And so they wrote "Hope ...

posted 3:02:12pm Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Good Dinosaur
Coming in summer 2016 from Pixar. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0QlRSVKwFA0?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 8:00:31am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Honeyglue
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHHQD3RfCA[/youtube] "Honeyglue" follows the story of Morgan (Adriana Mather), who flips her conservative, protected life upside down after learning she has three months left to live. She sets out on ...

posted 8:00:31am Jun. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Jalmari Helander and Onni Tommila of "Big Game"
Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force One during an attack. I spoke to ...

posted 3:53:08pm Jun. 27, 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.