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Of course there is more to film art than shot lengths, and new kinds of film analysis tools are starting to emerge which analyse action within and beyond the frame or shot (see, for example, the Gestus Project, which employs vector analysis; or Tim J.
Smith’s acclaimed work on visual cognition, which maps where our eyes actually rove over the screen as opposed to where you think they might be looking).
But art and the market started to demand that these shots be brought together.
Films might now be measured in reels, but within those reels a complexity emerged, as the number of shots, and their length, started to vary according to the type of film or producer.
This was not an issue as such for the producers of the period, but decades later it has become a matter of great interest to film scholars who would like to assess the art of film not just qualitatively but quantitively. isn’t on your bookshelf as yet, it should be), probably best known for introducing film scholarship to the marvels of pre-revolutionary Russian dramatic film, notably the work of Yevgenii Bauer.
features three relatively long single takes: the scene where Kee gives birth (); the roadside ambush (); and the final battle ().
Even if statistics leaves you cold, the ingenuity and dedication merit your admiration.
Acknowledgments to Nick Redfern of the Research into Film blog, a Cinemetrics contributor and film empiricist, whose blog alerted me to the new ‘conversations’ feature.
Then things get more complicated, because films comprise multiple shots.
This was a puzzle for the earliest film producers, who started off believing that a different shot became a different film, to be catalogued, priced and sold separately.