DAVID WHITMORE: Hello and welcome. My name is David Whitmore, I'm the associate director of Alumni Affairs and Development for the College of Arts and Sciences. I work with the Dean of the college. And I didn't do that intentionally.
I'm very happy to introduce Professor James Cutting. He is a professor of psychology here in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has been part of the college and the university for 30 years. Before that, getting his B.A. At UNC Chapel Hill. His PhD at Yale, teaching at Yale and Wesleyan before coming to Cornell in 1980.
I was intrigued to find out when I got a blurb from him a few days ago that he actually was a modern dancer, professional modern dancer in the 1970s, which seems to me to have led naturally to an interest in motion. And in the case of being a psychologist, the perception of motion.
That's something that naturally leads to I think an interest in film and how we perceive a film and sort of cognitively process film, which is the subject of at least part of his talk today. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce Professor James Cutting.
JAMES CUTTING: OK. This is, in some sense, the best part. And not in some sense. And probably all senses. OK. When I talk to undergraduates, the first thing I say is usually an incredible disappointment to them.
And that, is, I say, we didn't evolve to watch film. It's just the case. Film hasn't been around long enough. However, it is the case that film has very much changed over the years to become more and more aligned with our perceptual and cognitive systems.
And there's a lot more to say about film for social and political and other kinds of reasons. But I want to focus on perceptual and cognitive ones. And I want to start with Pauline Kael. Some of you may remember when she was the review editor of films in The New Yorker.
Some of you may also remember that there was a kind of intellectual competition between Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, who was the reviewer for the Village Voice. Most deep intellectuals and people interested in film aligned themselves with Sarris.
I, at the time, thought Pauline Kael was terrific. This is I think her first or second book and I love its title for its triple entendre. I Lost it at the Movies. So in the context of the 1960s, what could you lose at the movies?
Well, you could lose your wallet, you could lose your virginity, and you could lose your mind. Now, however interesting it might be were I to discuss the second of these, I'm actually going to focus on the third. That is, if you will, losing your mind.
Film is I think by far and away the most engrossing and encompassing of all the major arts. Let's see if I can name some literature, poetry, theater, art, architecture, and sculpture. Dance, music, and film. And film is, of those nine, by far the most recent.
So what I want to do is to kind of skim lightly over a number of things that you almost surely know about. But I want to add to them some psychological tidbits as to sort of why they happened and in some cases, maybe some sociological ones as well.
And then I want to concentrate on some research that my students and I have done over the last three years on the pacing and structure of the visual narrative. But I want to start with film and how film began.
There are two important inventions to note. One by George Eastman and the other by Thomas Edison. George Eastman, in inventing the small and portable camera called the Kodak, invented roll film. And so roll film was very important in this particular context.
And Thomas Edison, probably, I think his most important invention in the context of movies are the sprockets that go on the film. And with the sprockets and the rolled film, one can invent a camera, which in this case is hand-cranked, and that camera can take movies.
You can record the film and then you can splice it together and do all the important things that editors and directors and cinematographers are involved in and create a film. Now, so here are the sprockets in Eastman's hand and this is Edison on that side.
The next most important concept I want to talk about is theaters. Films were most imperatively shown in theaters. And this was a great advantage. And you might say, but of course. I mean, there's no big deal here.
Theaters were being used for theatrical productions. They would soon be used in and about the same time for vaudeville shows and other kinds of things. Isn't it natural to use a theater? Well, no. At least not in the United States.
The use of theaters for film basically started in France with three individuals, Georges Melies and Auguste and Louis Lumiere. And they began to show their films in theaters. And this is a slide from one of the very early films shown in 1895. It in some sense was the first theater film.
I could show you the movie but this in a sense, the whole movie. The whole movie lasts 50 seconds. There were 33 viewers. Each one of those people paid a franc, the equivalent of about $10 today. So if you worry about sort of paying money to go see movies, 50 seconds long cost you $10.
I mean, these are among, if you will, if you do the inflation, among the highest grossing movies per effort of all time. People loved these things. And so, La Ciotat was a small town which was on the outskirts of Marseilles. It's now inside Marseilles.
The first film was shown in the United States about six months later in what is called or what was called Keith's Theater. For those of you who remember, this Keith is actually related to the RKO Keith that was popular.
There was a famous Brooklyn movie theater that some people tried to rip down and they finally saved, one that was built in the 1930s. This is much older than that. And I don't actually know whether this particular Keith's theory was.
Now, the reason why theaters are important is, for example, that Edison, who was a very powerful force in America at the time, didn't think theaters would work. He wanted to show them in his invention, the Kinetoscope.
He thought watching a movie was a private thing. That you look into a little glass here and you have the film spooled around all kinds of sprockets and other kinds of things. And that that was the way that you watched film.
Now, Edison would have loved the iPod, I'm sure. If he were not sort of probably litigating it because thinking that Apple had infringed on his patents. Edison spent about the last 15 years of his life in litigation and infringement of patents.
But the idea of things being shown in theaters is very important. Why? One is image size. The size of an image is big. And I'll explain as we go along why that's particularly important. Another thing that's important is that it's at some distance.
The reason why that's important is that things that are close up are registered by you by various sources of information that you use to register distance. So if you're looking at a screen, a computer screen or something, binocular disparities and accommodation and convergence are all telling you that the screen is very close to you.
And it's kind of a minified world and very strange. When you get it farther away, stereopsis essentially ceases to exist, convergence, the two eyes and how you use them to look at things. And accommodation, how you manipulate your lenses, all of that goes away. And you're essentially looking into an Alberti's window.
Leon Battista Alberti was a 15th century Florentine who wrote about perspectival representations of things. And talked about essentially looking at a perspective image as if you were looking through a window into an alternative world. And that's precisely what movies do best in theaters.
Also important are contrast ratios. Contrast ratios are how bright things are compared to how dark they are. And everyone in this room has probably gone through the phase of replacing their old TV set, standard TV set, with a new one, a high definition one.
Of course, you go into Best Buy or whatever and the sales people are telling you this screen has a 20,000 to 1 ratio of luminance and all this other kind of stuff. Nonsense, none of them do. The maximum amount of luminance that you'll get probably from any one of those screens is about 1,000 to 1, which is really good.
Standard TVs were in the neighborhood of 100, 150 to 1. Normal film was in the neighborhood of about 200 to 1. And painting, you go to a museum, see a painting. The brightest and the darkest things of a particular canvas are in the range of 30 to 1. So contrast ratios are important.
But the reason that people at Best Buy are lying to you is because when you take them home, to get those particular contrast ratios, you have to be sitting in the complete darkness. Anytime you have ambient light that is around you, the contrast ratios diminish and you're pretty close to where you would be probably with a standard TV. OK.
Now, projection rates. Initial film was hand-cranked and would be taken at about 12 to 14 frames per second. But they found that when you projected it at 12 to 14 frames per second, it was wildly weird. It wasn't great at all.
And so they usually showed it at about 17 to 18 frames per second. And if you remember, some of you may, but if you remember the original Charlie Chaplin films, they're kind of shown with him walking down a particular street or something in this kind of strange gait.
And that strange gait was too fast and that's because of this discrepancy between the frame rates at which the film was taken and where it was shown. But the projectionist needed to avoid 12 frames per second because it's actually quite aversive.
So they started making films at about 16. And then mechanically, there were motors put on these at 24 frames per second. And people realized, oh, this is getting expensive. We're using up more footage. And so there was an invention and I have for 30 years been trying to figure out who invented this thing.
Some engineer, late teens or whatever, who put what is called an episcotister in front of the image to interrupt it several times. So what happens with an episcotister is that it's a disk, it's got sort of three pie-shaped holes in it and it spins around three times for every frame.
So essentially, you're showing the frames on the screen and you show them each three times. So frame one, one, one, two, two, two, three, three, three, four, four, four. And of course, throughout the film.
And by doing, that the motion becomes seamless. It physiologically is indistinguishable at the retina, at the lateral genicular nucleus, registering in [INAUDIBLE] in the brain, it's completely continuous. You see the film as if it were real life.
Now, the reason for this concerns flicker. And I want to take you through a few graphs. But this is our flicker function. It's called the De Lange curve. What this means is that along the abscissa, this is the abscissa, this is the ordinate. I tell students, when they come to my class, we're going to look at graphs.
I will tell you how to remember abscissa and ordinate and you will never forget it. Abscissa, ordinate. OK? So you got it. So on the abscissa, on the abscissa, importantly, we have about 10 Hertz per second. 10 or 12. And you can see that we are maximally sensitive to flicker at that rate.
And in fact, what you can see in this particular-- we are sensitive to less than a half a percent of flicker. So this is equivalent to-- imagine we have a light on and it's 100% on. Now suppose I dim it to 99.5%. And then I bring it to 100%, 99.5%, 100%, 99.5%, and I do that 10 times a second. You will see the flicker.
Now, if we're doing film and we're projecting it, we're projecting it at 100% light, 0% light. 100%, 0%, 100%, 0%, 100%, 0%. It's aversive. And this is, in fact, one out of 3,000 people have photosensitive epilepsy that can be triggered by this kind of flicker. This is the reason movies were called the flicks. Because of this aversive flicker.
Now, if you approach undergraduates these days, they don't know that movies are flicks. They have no clue. The only residue of this particular term is the notion of chick flick. But you know, what is a chick flick? They know what chick flicks are but they don't know where the flick came from. And it came from this idea of flicker.
So this is maximum sensitivity. This is completely minimum sensitivity once we get above 50 Hertz. This is why, in the United States, alternating current goes at a rate of 60 cycles per second. And in Europe, goes at 50 cycles.
The reason for this is that you've got an incandescent light bulb and you've got current running through it like this. If it's running at 60 Hertz or at 50 Hertz, the flicker is invisible. The light actually dims as, you know, or the thing would functionally dim as it goes back and forth. But you don't see the dimming because of this particular flicker rate.
Now, alternating current was the project of George Westinghouse. Direct current was the project of Thomas Edison. This is the transformer. Most all of us have transformers because computers work on direct current, cell phones work on direct current, things like that. But the problem with direct current is that it doesn't transmit very far.
There's a reason for the length of this. Because if this gets much longer, the direct current gets more and more ineffective. So alternating current to here goes in the walls and alternating current is everywhere and it's 60 Hertz or 50 Hertz, depending on where you are. Because of the flicker, right? Now.
So let me just take you through the De Lange curves. 1,000 trillions is daylight. 100 trillions is about what we have in here and so forth on down. The importance is that at 12 or 14, you're maximally sensitive to this flicker. If I up it to 24 frames, you can still see a flicker of 195, 195.
But if I just boost it with an episcotister, you're insensitive completely and you can't see it at all. So it's the episcotister that brought us the real continuity, the real seamlessness of motion in film.
Sound. Now, you probably all know the story. First-- actually, not the first sound film. Sound had been experimented with for at least 10 years before The Jazz Singer came out. The Jazz Singer is mostly silent.
There were silent films that continued to be made for at least a dozen years. Modern Times was Chaplin's last silent film and The Great Dictator was his first.
But I want to tell you a story about sound in film. And sound and film is an important watershed. First of all, it's important for how people made films. And we can go there but I won't have time. But what's most important is that sound almost killed international cinema.
The UFA Studio in Germany in 1921 was making 600 films a year. More than Hollywood was doing at all. And the UFA Studio would hire a Danish actress and a French actor and they would shoot their scenes. And then they would make their inner titles into any language they wanted, like Italian.
Take that film and ship it off to Italy. Switch the inner titles to Swedish, ship that film off to Sweden and so forth. So there could be a European cinema and you'd produce it this way. And with the invention of sound, essentially no one wanted to read the inner titles anymore. Actually, that's a long story too.
But what happened is that sound film took over. And when sound film took over, it didn't kill national cinemas but it diminished to those with a smaller watershed of people. And today, we basically have three cinemas. We have Hollywood cinema, we have Bollywood cinema, and we have Hong Kong cinema.
Hollywood cinema because there are a lot of English speakers in the world. Bollywood because there are a lot of people in India. And Hong Kong film because they also are in the watershed of China and the rest of the Middle East. Sound. Sound created that kind of constraints.
The full length feature film, when did we finally have films that were feature length? In other words, early on, though the standard film length was 50 seconds or three minutes or that kind of thing.
Well, these are actual data that I've taken. Don't be confused by the box plots. Essentially, what you need to do is to track the bracket in the middle, which is the median of these. And my eye picks out three trends.
First of all, you have a lengthening in the silent era up to about 1925. Then you have a fairly steady state period from the end of the silent era to the present. And then there's a small little bump in the 1960s and 1970s and this is when Hollywood felt it was in competition with television.
And so it was making the larger epic and other kinds of things. Those larger epics actually had to usually have intermissions so that you could go to the bathroom and those kinds of things. And that kind of thing went away.
And essentially, we now have films that average in the neighborhood of 110 minutes. Those are long enough so that if you go to the bathroom before, you can wait until you go to the bathroom at the end. Children's films are shorter. Children's films are in the ballpark of about 70 minutes for probably the same kind of reason. OK.
Color. We know about Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and those were the first sort of feature films to use color. There were people in Hollywood that wanted to do color at the same time that they we were doing sound but they did not. But color had actually been around for a long time.
They had been around in Disney cartoons and in other forms beforehand. And of course, black and white films did persevere for some period of time. But this is a colored frame from a Melies film, Le Royaume des Fees, Kingdom of the Fairies in 1903. And all the frames in this film are hand painted.
So essentially, they go in and they color things red and they color things yellow and other kinds of things. And you can also see that this is essentially a stage kind of production. And it's incredibly cluttered with things. It's not exactly like an image that we would see now. Transition to color in Hollywood happened roughly between about 1939 or so and 1960.
There was a period of time in here where the A-list movies were generally in color, they were higher budget. The B-list movies were often mostly in black and white. Today it's really interesting to look back because we actually like the B movies now probably better than a lot of the A movies. Why color?
Or put it another way, why do we make sense out of black and white? Why does black and white photography work? Why do black and white films work? And there's actually a quite good reason for this. We have multiple systems in our brains. The system that analyzes form in film or the real world or anything, anytime doesn't care about color.
The system that analyzes color is wholly separate, evolved on a completely different path. And actually is not very good at form perception. So you ask, what good is color? And as it turns out, what good is color is that it effectively-- if you can think about it-- effectively boosts resolution. It gives us an image that has higher resolution.
For sure, it looks more natural, for sure, you know, you got red, green, and blue, and those kinds of things. But what all of that is doing is essentially increasing the quality of the image. So you can do lots of experiments to figure this out.
But basically color gives you three times the information that you would ordinarily have in a black and white image. Why? The black and white image is being analyzed by the brain and then the addition of color adds this other sorts of information that boosts it a little bit more.
Aspect ratios. Something really weird happened about 1955. And what happens here is that the image in a camera behind the lens is circular. And what you do in photography or what you do in film is sample that circular image in a particular way. Now, as it turns out, from time immemorial more or less it seems, most films and most photographs were in a ratio, as it's called, 4:3.
Now, it's actually 1.37, and for those of you who have remembered any of your math, you can probably recognize that 4:3 is not exactly what 1.37, it's 1.33. That's OK. Where did this 1.33 come from? If you look in film stock earlier than movies, this ratio is roughly the one that's most popular.
If you look at paintings painted throughout the 19th century and you look at the ratio of landscapes and then you look at the ratio of the height and width of portraits, this is about what you find on average across all paintings and all landscapes.
And it was George Eastman who, when he got his sprockets together with the help of Edison, chose the ratio of 4:3 in the film stock itself and as the camera worked. So we had 4:3 for a long period of time.
And then in 1955, all hell broke loose. One of the hells that broke loose is 16:9. Right? And 16:9 is actually not this ratio either, it's 1.78. But it's a wider image and a narrower image. And so what you're doing in the camera is cutting off that circular image in a slightly different way.
So in 1955, the following happened. So from, again, time immemorial with respect to movies, you had this 4:3 ratio. And then in 1955, Cinerama came, lots of other things came. And you have this panoply of films. The size of the dot represents the proportion of films in this particular format. And you see that 4:3 didn't actually go away, but 16:9 became very popular. But there's also this one, 2:35 which is very common. And it's the one that if you're looking at a movie on your high definition set, it's the one that has the black stripes at the top and the bottom, often called a letterbox format. And many films today, in fact, most films today, are actually made in that format rather than this one.
Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to change the format of these things? Well, it turns out there's a very important reason. The center of your visual field-- and we can market out-- the size of two fists. The size of your fist is called-- is about 10 degrees of visual angle, for your eye to the fist. Put two of those up there, and this region in front of your face, is essentially part of a pipeline of information that goes directly to the visual cortex, right back here.
What's beyond that annulus, if you will, here, and above, but mostly on the sides, what we're talking about, not only goes to the visual cortex, but it goes lots of other places in the brain. It goes to the brain stem. It actually has a reasonably close connection to the vagus nerve modulating your heart rate. The stuff that's going on out here greatly affects your emotions.
So if you have a wider screen, a bigger screen, like this, and you're looking at the stuff roughly in the middle, the stuff on the side of the screen is what's really juicing you up in watching, for example, an action film, or another kind of film. So it's a separate pipeline. And by having an aspect ratio that's wider, and this-- I mean, this is why sports-- watching sports on a high definition television set is really terrific because you're getting that information on the side, as well as the stuff in the middle that you're looking at.
So that's why 16:9 is, if you will better, than 4:3. It's engaging different parts of your brain, ones that are actually responsible for your balance and other kinds of things. So you want as wide a field of view as you can.
OK, so that's the skimming across light parts of things that you probably knew a little bit about, but you didn't know what the psychological, or even sociological ramifications were. I want to take you on a different path now, sort of we're going to go a little bit slower, and tell you about the research that my students and I have been interested in. And we're interested in the changing structure of the visual narrative. We're interested in what you see. And provisionally, we're just going to throw away sound. And
In particular, I'm interested in the cadence of the shots that come up on a screen. Now these are often the elements of film that are taught. You have the whole film. Sometimes films are divided into acts, either three or four, depending on your system. Sequences and scenes are usually things that take-- a scene is usually something that takes place at a single time in a single place, often with single groups of people.
A sequence is something that takes place with those people, but usually across different places, like in a chase scene in a movie. A shot is a continuous run of film from a particular point of view, and then when there's a transition and the camera moves to a different point of view. And of course, frames are things that we essentially just talked about.
And I'm going to talk about the shot and the structure of these shots. And what happened when people first made films is that the first films were essentially one shot. But then as films got longer, filmmakers needed to compose these shots and they needed to put them together to tell a story. So you needed multiple shots.
And basically, shots are just designed to focus your attention and capture eye movements. And contemporary filmmakers do this terrifically. They know where they want you to look and they control, your eyes, your attention, eye movements, and they do this extremely well. The concordance across a group of people, if I were to show a movie, particularly a movie by a director who really wants to control the narrative, like Hitchcock-- I'd show the Hitchcock film and almost everyone's eyes would be in exactly the same place on the screen because of the control of the narrative.
So I'm interested in what I will call the statistics of shots and shot relations. Now if we're going to talk about shots, we should talk about average shot length, or mean shot length, and this is the pattern across roughly 100 years. And I see four patterns here. There is an asymptotic decline from the 19-teens into the Silent Era. That's followed by what happened after sound.
And what happened with sound is that people didn't know how to make films anymore and you often have these incredibly long shots. In the Silent Era, suppose you had a family. What you might show is them all getting up in the morning, and then you would show a shot of the father driving to work. You'd show a shot of the young child in school. And you'd show the shot of the mother-- I'm sorry, probably in the kitchen.
And you wouldn't do that in a sound film. You would probably, in the narrative, sort of explain where everyone is going and it would probably be a single shot in the kitchen. Making films, they had to completely relearn how to do it. And one of the things that suffered was shot length.
Then we have the Studio Era, and things bounce around in the Studio Era from, like, 1935 to, let's say, 1960, but it's generally flat. And then when the studios fall, We now have another asymptotic decline. We're going from about eight seconds down into the range of five seconds.
Now when you hear people talk about film, one of the prominent things they talk about is the average shot length and that it's getting faster, and things like that. And surely, you know that there are movies with very short shot lengths. The Quantum of Solace, the most recent James Bond film, if you clip out the glossy credits, sort of 10 minutes into the film, has an average shot length of 1.7 seconds across the entire hour and 15 minutes of the film. It has 3,000 shots in it.
But that's not an average movie and these are the averaged data, here. So who is Quantum of Solace appealing to? We could talk about that later, but not now.
But there are two explanations given in the sort of popular literature for this particular decline. One is the invention of music videos, and the other is, essentially, some vague notion that we live in an attention deficit, hyperactive disorder society, so we all have ADHD. And that can't be right.
First of all, music videos came on us in 1982, when most of the decline had already happened. And if we are ADHD now, well, maybe they were in the roaring 20s, as well. I mean, that can't be-- neither one of those can be a simple explanation. That's not to say that music videos haven't had a terrific influence on Hollywood film, it's just they can't have been the only influence here.
So I'm going to look at films from 1935 to 2005, a 70-year span, and I want to look at particular aspects of those. So my students and I selected 150 films, 10 each from 15 years-- 1935, 1940, '45, '50, '95, 2000, 2005. And we had a computer program that we wrote to detect the cuts and the transitions in film, and that's a very hard task. And there's an international competition on how well you can do this, And basically, the best anybody can do is about 95% of the time within a computer algorithm.
So we wrote a cheesier algorithm that didn't do quite as well, but then we checked up on every one of these shots just to make sure that it worked. So 150 films and we spent between 20 and 30 hours per film, and two years, basically. At least I did a lot of it, not just my students, OK?
So two films I want you to look at. And so the vertical axis, the ordinate, is shot length. And this is the serial relation from the first shot length to 1,600 shot lengths-- so whatever-- for the film Jumanji.
I picked Jumanji because this is the oldest film in our sample that I can guarantee that the undergraduates have seen. I mean, they were five and six, and it's a kind of kid-based film, and-- it just makes you think about-- this is why you're at a reunion, rather than otherwise.
Now another film, King Solomon's Mines from an earlier period-- longer shot lengths than general, but the same kind of pattern. And this pattern is kind of ugly. I mean, it's got spikes and other kinds of stuff. But you can see kind of clusters of things sort of shortening, and other kinds of things here, and it does really have a pattern. So I want to talk about that particular kind of pattern.
But before I can do that, I have to give you some background in something entirely different, so entirely different will be over here. And that is there's no such thing as voluntary attention sustained for more than a few seconds at a time. Human beings simply cannot focus on something without being distracted fairly rapidly, OK?
So this is a plot from a colleague of mine, David Gilden. David Gilden was trained as an astrophysicist, and some of his early papers were on the semi-periodicity of pulsars and things like that. So he knows how to gauge waveforms like this.
And this is actually a track of an experiment in psychology, and it's called-- this particular one, I believe, was essentially a word verification task. What that means is that letters would appear on a screen. You press a button-- yeah, that's a word, or no, that's not a word. And you just go through.
And takes-- this is undergraduate data, but we wouldn't be that different than that. And you average about 500 milliseconds, or so. But then look at these spikes. The undergraduates and you are completely out to lunch. I mean, it takes you like twice as long, four times as long, six times as long to make that decision. And yet, it's the same thing right in front of you.
This is the profile of what we do. And in fact, I'm sure there 15 of you that aren't even listening to me right now, right? And that's because you're in one of these particular kind of states. I mean, you just kind of flake out. I mean, the reunions are a busy time and you thought, oh, God, 7:00, I got to meet with [INAUDIBLE]. That's the kind of stuff that goes on in our heads rather than just paying directly attention to someone out there.
So Gilden showed that this is a particular kind of pattern that you find in all kinds of psychological experiments. And this is, if you will, a kind of profile of what our minds are like over time. Now, I looked at this particular array and I looked at this particular array, and so I said, well, they're sort of similar. They kind of go together. Is there anything that brings them together?
And what brings them together is a linking hypothesis. And that is-- every shot in a movie, particularly when it changes to a new shot, demands the reorientation of your attention. And you may not even know this is happening, but every time something new is presented-- [SNAPS FINGERS] bingo-- you have to pay attention to it in a different way.
And so the same is true, actually, of King Solomon's Mines, and other movies, as well. So this is the pattern of what I'm going to call endogenous attention. This is the attention pattern that you generate within yourself, and that we all do. And this is the exogenous pattern demanded by a movie.
And what I want to say over the next few minutes is that these two are pretty close, and since about 1960, they've been getting closer and closer and closer. So I need to tell that story and that story takes place over here.
Fourier analysis-- some of you may remember Fourier analysis. Jean-Baptiste Louis Fourier was an interesting guy. He was an Egyptologist who worked for Napoleon and other kinds of things. And before and after that, he was a mathematician.
And he proved what, I think, is probably the most important theorem in really, all mathematics, with regard to practical application-- certainly, if you're an engineer. And that is any signal is subdivided, or can be subdivided, into a series of sine waves of different amplitude, different wavelength, or a different frequency, and different phase, putting these back and forth. And you can decompose this into a large number of sine waves that are just like this.
And this is, essentially, analysis, what analysis is like-- and that's it, that's simple, this decomposition. The problem is when you actually do Fourier analysis, you get these complex numbers that are half real and half imaginary, and you have to do some kind of strange products and other things to sort of get things out. So I'm going to take a different route in explaining Fourier analysis.
But the idea here is that in your mind, and in film, there are multiple waves going on at all times. Sometimes they align, sometimes they don't. I think we all recognize-- undergraduates are a bit different, but we we're awake during the day and were asleep at night, OK? And that's kind of the largest wave, or rhythm.
Some of you will regard yourselves as morning people, some as afternoon people, some as night people, and that's maybe a slightly smaller wave that is coursing through your behavior. Some of you recognize that there are waves that occur over a smaller period of time. So I probably started this lecture with reasonable coherence, and probably about five minutes into it, I was stammering and couldn't quite get a thought. That's another kind of wave that would course through. And all of these are going at the same amount of time, and that's the kind of analysis that I want to show.
OK, so let's go to what's called autocorrelation. I'm going to divide a film into all its shots, so these are stretches of film. And I want to see how much the first shot is correlated in its length with the second shot, the second with the third, the third with the fourth, the fourth with the fifth, and the fifth with the six. And we're going to call that Lag One correlation.
And that's only the beginning. What we're going to do is also measure the correlation of shot one with three, two with four, three with five, four with six, all the way out to the end of the film. And if you think this is boring, there's more.
We've got one in-- one and four, and two and five, and so forth, that's lag three, we've got four, we've got lag five, and you get the picture. It goes all the way out. And we've also got lag zero, and if we correlate everything with itself and it's one, stupid, but it's part of the process.
So here's our friend Jumanji and looking at the different lags. And what we find-- yes, correlation of one at lag zero. And then the lags go down, and then it bounces up and down in this region. Now I don't know if you remember what a correlation is, but a correlation is a number between minus one and plus one centered on zero. Zero means no relationship between-- minus one is a negative and plus one is a positive relationship there.
And what you see is that there's a slight correlation of all shots with one another. Now let me sort of rearrange this. There's nothing important about one, so let's truncate the ordinate at two, and then we've got this range out here. And as it turns out, nothing much is interesting for me happening out to 25.
But now if you look at the autocorrelation function out to lags 512, and what this means-- I mean, take every shot and lay it out across the amphitheater, here. And what we're doing is measuring the correlation between shots one and 513, two and 514, three and 515-- distally related across the whole film, and that's what we're getting out here.
But there are bumps-- the technical term I will use is ripples. OK, we've got ripples, here. And we've got a ripple centered on shots correlation 211, and another one centered on shots 391 apart, and their whole region separating those.
What this means is given the average shot length of Jumanji is 3.5 seconds, here's a ripple that's going through the film that's 14 minutes apart, OK? What that means is that the shot lengths that are going on here are similar in their length to what's going on here, and that effectively happens all the way out through the whole film. And there's another ripple at 25 minutes and my arms aren't long enough to show that.
So these are similarities-- not anything except for short length. I'm not talking about content. I'm not talking about music, soundtrack, or anything else. But the manipulation of the pattern of the shots by the filmmakers is mimicked, distally related across the film.
OK, so here's the idea-- so you've got these multiple waves going through and we have these ripples that I've seen. And what we're going to do is measure those in what I call a power spectrum. What that means is that, essentially, the height of this ripple and the height of that ripple are being measured along this axis, the ordinate. And so the one that's 14 minutes apart is lifting this whole function up here. The one that's 25 minutes apart is lifting the function up here. And there are smaller ripples in throughout here that lift the function up, too.
So we're getting this kind of decline, and its at a slope of-- it's a number. It doesn't matter. So we're going to look at these particular kind of functions across 150 films. So let's take some film noir.
Here are the functions for-- oops-- three film noir, and no ripples. It's noise. And this is kind of really interesting. I mean, you get these incredibly flat functions down here I think that's really interesting about film noir. In doing this analysis of films, I sort of fell in love again with film noir.
Film noir is this really interesting category of Hollywood films that-- some of them-- I mean, you have to realize the time period that they're taking place. This is the mid-40s and 50s. This is a time when there are lots of men coming back from World War II. They don't know what they're doing. The women had jobs beforehand and then they sort of descend back into the home.
And the films are essentially about, in many cases, strong women who have extremely poor taste in their guys, and the film ends badly. It's just not like anything that we would see in a Hollywood film now. And that seems kind of like life is random. And not only is life random in film noir, the shot lengths are random, too. And so the idea that I would propose is that the relative chaos in the shots is another channel of information into film noir that's essentially giving you information about what kind of film it is.
OK, Hitchcock-- here are three Hitchcock films. And Hitchcock films, particularly the early ones, have lots of ripples. That is, there are some negative correlations out after about five minutes in the film. There is another negative correlation here and positive correlations. Rebecca has a lot of repeating ones, Spellbound, not so much. But these have relatively steep slopes in this particular measure. More ripples in these films than in Spellbound.
Let's look at two James Bond films, 1965 and 1995. And they're actually quite a few ripples in here, although it may not look at as much. But there are a lot more ripples, particularly in this kind of narrow band in Goldeneye, and they create a very high slope in this domain. And here are two Star War films, 1980 and 2005. And a huge ripple that runs through here, plus some activity way out here, and incredibly striking ripples in Revenge of the Sith, and quite steep power functions in this context.
OK, these are 150 films and their data. 1.0 is roughly the slope when you look at the reaction times in a psychological experiment of our attention span-- no, I don't want to use that term-- of the fluctuations of our attention. And here we have the whole panoply of films, from 1935 to 2010.
So here are the two Star War films, here are the two James Bond films, here are five film noir, and here are six Hitchcock films. And you can see that the early Hitchcock is really quite different than the later Hitchcock in our database. This is the Studio Era, and in the Studio Era-- it's really a messy kind of function. But in the Studio Era, it's all over the place. There's really not a whole lot going on.
But if you look at after the Studio Era, there is a systematic increase in the slope of these functions. What that means is that they are getting closer and closer to our natural rhythms of attention. And you can see there have been some films, sort of all along, that have that particular kind of slope now, anyway.
So here is the slope in a psychophysical reaction task. Here's the Empire Strikes Back. This is endogenous attention. This is exogenous attention. And incrementally, they are coming to match more and more.
So in not quite ending, but in a summary, film is evolving. It's adjusting its relations among shot lengths, leading to multi-scale waves of similarity. And this evolution is in the direction of matching variations and attention.
JAMES CUTTING: This got a lot of press. I was incredibly surprised. I mean, I got well more than the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol had promised me, for reasons which I'm not entirely sure. But this has appeared in The New York Times, and shows all the other films.
And it's kind of fun-- Superman is here and Rocky IV is there. Spies Like Us is this one. Scary Movie, Walk the Line, Catch-22, here's King Solomon's Mines, Grapes of Wrath, 39 Steps-- you can sort of see. Maybe you can't, but it's the array. And there were probably 2,000 blogs that picked this up from The New Scientist, from The New York Times and other places. And this is popular science. I mean, I thought it would be fairly mainstream.
And people are-- this is me-- "Mathematician cracks code for making Hollywood Blockbusters." I'm not a mathematician, I'm a psychologist. It's not a code, it's a pattern that I've tried to give you an inkling of. We didn't look at Gone with the Wind or Avatar. They weren't part of our base, and we weren't even interested in blockbusters.
In particular the correlation between the slope that I've shown you and the ratings of these films is zero. This is not a measure of what you and I would say is a good film. This is a measure of, potentially, how much of a film can grab your attention.
So the analogy here is that many of you probably-- the TV is on at night, you're watching a film. And it's going-- it's a film you would not have seen in the theaters. You would not have paid money for it, but it's on the TV, and so you're going to watch.
And you sit there and you say-- and you get about an hour into it, and you say, why the hell am I watching this thing? But you can't let go, right? I mean, you just can't turn it off. That's the effect, OK? This film is pumping you with shots that match the way you think and the way you live your life, and you're at one with this thing that, intellectually, you couldn't care more, or less about.
OK, so there are other kinds of blogs. This is a fun one-- "Shocker-- Hollywood movies are Formulaic." So "brace yourselves, I don't want you keeling over and dying on your keyboard on account of me, but editing Hollywood films movies follows a precise formula," blah, blah, blah, blah, "psychologist Professor James--" so forth.
Now precise formula-- no. It's not a formula, it's a pattern. And it's not about attention span. I slipped up earlier saying that it was.
It's about fluctuations of attention. Attention span is what psychologists measure and see how long you or a six-year-old can pay attention to a particular task. and we're not very good at that. What I'm measuring is not the attention span, but the fluctuations. As you can do the tasks, you drift away, you come back to the task, and how that occurs, so it's not attention span.
OK, sort of in summary, I've told you about a bunch of things that I would claim are related to us as human beings and what our limitations are. And theaters minimize cues to flatness, episcotisters get rid of aversive flicker, sound-- obviously uses dialogue and contributes to flow, but it was hard to master. Full-length film, I think, is due, in part, of constraints of body function.
I mean, think about theater. Theater has-- on tracks. I mean, they have periods of time between acts, where you can go off and do what you need to do and then you come back. And in a dark theater, you don't want to do that. So people sort of-- they shorten the films. Color increases discrimination, the aspect ratios engage the periphery, and systems of balance, and the pacing and visual of the narrative is adapted to the natural pacing of human attention.
So in closing, let's get back to Pauline Kael. And I would say that, no, you're not losing your wallet, or other things, and you're not losing your mind. When you go to the movies, you're losing your body. Movies is as close as you can come to dreaming while you're awake, and you love it
And if you want to ask questions that's great. If you don't, you can leave. I mean, that's fine. You ought to know that I have to say this in every class-- this is the time for many people to leave because they have other obligations. They have been saturated with information and they want to go elsewhere, so we'll let them do that, and then you have questions. Yes?
AUDIENCE: Deborah [INAUDIBLE], full disclosure-- engineering operations research undergrad, working for 15 years in the film industry, camera system, top feature.
JAMES CUTTING: Wow, OK.
JAMES CUTTING: You're just to say that everything I said was wrong.
AUDIENCE: No, no, what I'm curious about is we don't--
JAMES CUTTING: Curious or furious?
JAMES CUTTING: Curious, OK.
AUDIENCE: Curious-- we don't always cut. We sometimes move the camera, so there's pans and things. And the research isn't accounting for the fact that you may cover the equivalent of three shots by a camera movement.
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Do you have any inkling about the impact of camera movement, in terms of maintaining attention, versus a cut?
JAMES CUTTING: There's another hour talk that I could give. But I won't do it. What's interesting is that the rapid-- there's a wonderful book by David Bordwell called Planet Hong Kong. And he's really interested in action films in Hong Kong versus action films in Hollywood style.
Hollywood style, you have lots of short cuts and things like that. And the real aficionados of this say, that's cheap and dirty and not very good. Hong Kong films are interested in virtuosity. You want to see the guy doing the triple-flip, head over back, and doing-- and then the toes go right into the guy's neck, and no cuts.
It's just like Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire did not allow cuts to occur within his dance films with Ginger Rogers, and everybody else after that. Why? Because he felt they distracted from the virtuosity of the thing, of the film.
Now I have done windows of analysis here. And one window, which I think you're going to be surprised at, one window is year 2000. And I-- actually, another researcher-- counted up the number of shots in a film that have camera motion or camera moves. So they actually can be pans, it could actually be zooms and other kinds of stuff, which is not-- dollies, tracks, all those kinds of things.
And then we did the analysis of how many shots are in those films. So what percentage of shots-- a medium, not an average-- what percentage of shots actually have camera motion in them, do you think?
AUDIENCE: That end up in the final movie?
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah, of course, I mean, we don't know-- only you get to see the other stuff.
AUDIENCE: Right, [INAUDIBLE].
JAMES CUTTING: Right
AUDIENCE: Probably less than 25%.
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah, 8%.
JAMES CUTTING: 8%-- isn't it astonishing?
AUDIENCE: Woody Allen's got to be an outlier.
JAMES CUTTING: Yes, and there are a lot of outliers, but what's interesting, and this is what I find fascinating-- the older the film, the longer the shot, the more likely there is camera motion in those shots. So you'll have your studio set, you have a pan from one character to the next, or other kinds of things, in this kind of long discussion of what might be going on in a room, or something like that.
So I actually think-- you have to-- action films are a little weird, but I actually think that there is a higher percentage of shots in older films that have camera motion in them than in contemporary. What people are doing in contemporary films is just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut and--
AUDIENCE: Define older-- '70 or earlier?
JAMES CUTTING: Oh, yeah, good question. Up to 1950, really old.
AUDIENCE: So prior to 1950, there was more camera [INAUDIBLE].
JAMES CUTTING: They have more camera-- I'm making things up now as I talk, so. But that's certainly my impression. And I have only-- I've only the year 2000 only is the only one in data. In the back.
AUDIENCE: When you showed the chart that showed the graph of the duration of shots, and that we have approximately five seconds now, and then 50 or 60 years ago, it was also five seconds, and then it went up for a little bit and came back down, did you also look and-- you said that you dismissed the idea of that it's the pace of modern life that is causing shots to become shorter and quicker, did you also look at the amount of information contained in that five-second shot? Because the five-second shot today may contain 10 times the amount of information from a shot that was 60 years ago that was also five seconds?
JAMES CUTTING: Yes, but everything is contingent on how you measure information. So how we measured information is just to register how much change is going on. So what we did-- we divided every film up in to separate frames, stored every frame as a jpeg on the computer, 256 by 256, just because that's a standard in the area of interest that I am. The average film has 165,000 frames, so 165,000 jpegs, and on my Matlab computer, I just correlated frame one with two, two with three, three with-- on like that.
I turn the program on. I walked away to the mailroom, go to the bathroom, talk to my colleagues. Come back 20 minutes later-- done. I mean, no one-- I mean, you carry around computers, you never tax the computation ability of the computers that you use. I mean, yeah, your word processing doesn't do it, and if you're just downloading stuff, that's a whole different thing.
These things-- this is faster than a supercomputer of 15 years ago by a lot. And so you can do these kinds of analyzes and we did them, 150 films. And basically, in 1935, '40, '45-- it's a linear function-- there's a whole lot more, as we call it, "visual activity" in contemporary films than in older films. That also separates, not surprisingly, by genre. So action films had the most, adventure films are close. Comedy films are actually pretty far up there.
Animations-- OK. So you take your-- probably, many of you-- Madagascar, 2005 animated film. Madagascar has the same amount of visual activity in it that Mission Impossible II does, and we take six-year-olds to Madagascar. We're pumping their heads full of this incredible kind of motion and stuff that's going on.
Animations are very active, and dramas not so much, OK? 1935, '40, and '50-- no difference across those genre. The genres have only separated out in the last 30 years. And again, action films are way at the top. So that's my measure of information. Claude Shannon wouldn't be completely at one with that, but it's close enough as far as I'm concerned. Yes, question?
AUDIENCE: You talked about some of the consequences of when [INAUDIBLE] the film industry switched from silent to sound.
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: And another concept you didn't mention, but I always found amusing is that a lot of the actors and actresses that were very successful in silent faded completely with sound because they had horrifically irritating voices.
JAMES CUTTING: Right and this is an era where film decided, OK, what in the world are we going to do? So they hired Broadway actors and they bring them in, and all that kind of stuff. And there are huge stories about that. Question here, yes?
AUDIENCE: How do you know if-- did you do any research on how the guerrilla-style filming--
JAMES CUTTING: How what?
AUDIENCE: Guerrilla-style, how they move around--
JAMES CUTTING: Oh, yeah.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] natural [INAUDIBLE].
JAMES CUTTING: Guerrilla-style-- you mean like--
AUDIENCE: Without a tripod of anything, instead of--
JAMES CUTTING: Oh, queasy cams?
JAMES CUTTING: Like, so Cloverfield, or Bourne Ultimatum, or things like that-- huge increase in, quote, "visual activity." I mean, the cameras going around like this. And Cloverfield is really off the charts.
What's interesting about looking at Bourne Identity and Cloverfield is that when it was in the theaters and people were going on the internet Movie database and rating it, and before it came out on DVD, the Internet Movie ratings were-- for the Bourne Identity-- was ranked about 30th best film of the year, and Cloverfield was ranked about 90th best film of the year. After release on DVDs, Bourne Identity jumps about number eight of 2007, 2008-- one of those. Cloverfield jumps from 90th to about 25th.
Now my explanation for this is everyone on DVD is looking at it on a smaller screen on their computer. When you see it in the theater, and there's this incredible riot of action going on out there, people got sick. And a lot of people didn't like it. When you see it on the smaller screen, particularly in front of you, it's a different experience. And a lot more people like it.
So there's-- it's sort of going beyond what your question is, but I think there's this interesting thing about the mesh of the sort of size of the image and the kind of film that-- so you didn't call it a queasy cam. You called it--
AUDIENCE: I called it guerrilla style.
JAMES CUTTING: Guerrilla style, as if a gorilla were the camera man, or something like that. Yes, question?
AUDIENCE: Has your research extended to television, 30-minute, 60-minute advertising and releases, and all that?
JAMES CUTTING: No, and what's interesting about that-- I haven't looked at television. I have a student who is thinking about that particular process. But television is interrupted. Some films are not, but almost at equal cadences throughout. That is going to break up this particular pattern that we have.
So I don't-- I mean, it'd be funny because the commercials themselves have lots of shots in them, too. And they are usually cut faster than the actual films, so it would be kind of interesting-- advertisers are picking the films that they want to advertise within, so it would be kind of interesting not to just look at the TV film, but to look at the relation of the TV film and the commercial, continuously throughout. And I haven't done that. It Would be really cool. Yes?
AUDIENCE: Have you looked at the impact of 3D, that when there's a--
JAMES CUTTING: The--
JAMES CUTTING: 3D, oh, boy. 3D has been tried in Hollywood at least-- this is the fourth time. The first time, House of Wax, Vincent Price, and things like that. And actually, Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder was originally filmed in 3D. And if you remember the film, there are a lot of shots under the furniture and things like that. But he withdrew all the 3D versions and that.
And then there was a span in the 60s where 3D was tried, and mostly in porno films. I mean, you imagine body parts kind of swinging out, and things like that. And then there was another period that was briefly tried in the 80s, and now we have a new thing. But the studios, particularly Pixar and Disney, has really dedicated themselves to this.
The efficacy of-- there are a lot of debate on film theorists. I just came back from a conference where this was a topic. The idea is when you're watching a film, do you want to be in the film, or do you want to have it at kind of arm's length? I mean, most of the stuff in film, we are sort of at arm's length.
And what 3D does is basically bring it towards you. But I ask undergraduates, and the undergraduates are incredibly enthusiastic about 3D, and they think it's great. And I go to a 3D film, and for the first 20 minutes I find it aversive, and then I forget it's there. But maybe that's good. Maybe, finally, I'm forgetting it's there and that contributes to the experience-- no clue.
But yeah, I mean, part of me thinks that 3D movies are just a way for Hollywood to temporarily avoid pirating because no one has the efficacy to do that. But you know that will pass. In the back, yes?
AUDIENCE: Have you found any evidence from directors, either in interviews or press, that there's any kind of conscious effort to do this, or--
JAMES CUTTING: Yes and no. So let's think about these ripples again. A lot of people, film editors, and also some film theorists, have talked about scenes tend to be cut in a more or less uniform style.
So you've got a conversational scene, and it's not like every one is the same. The only film I know that everyone is the same is in the beginning of Wedding Crashers, where they're playing a film. It's the Isley Brothers-- I forget what the song is. But there's a cut on every beat of the song. And it's fun, but that's not what filmmakers do ordinarily.
But a particular scene will have a kind of pacing. And then you go to a new scene and there's a new pacing. And so filmmakers know about this particular kind of thing. What filmmakers don't know is that this pacing is related to a scene way out there.
Now I mean, you read somebody like Walter Murch, who is a terrific editor and sound editor and visual editor, and they have these intuitions about making films. And intuitions, I think, are incredibly important in this. And I think what I've discovered in this particular context is that intuitions take you sort of partway there, and then I'm starting in a completely different place, and coming part way back.
But just to sort of finish up that question, I had some wonderful email correspondence with film editors from Hollywood and New York after this thing came out. And the thing that they told me, which I think is very important, is that, in general, editors have a lot more quote, "film stock" to-- I mean, it's digital these days, but footage to deal with. They can make many more choices in how to compose a scene than they used to be able to.
So the idea is that if you're-- you can't put in the film something that wasn't shot. Well, actually, you can now with CGI, but you didn't used to be able to do that. And so if you have more of these choices, then you can allow your kind of aesthetics to guide the way that you compose this thing. And so the idea is that maybe with this extra latitude, the editors are actually putting these things together in a way that, in fact, matches the kinds of things we've been talking about. I mean, that's my hypothesis on the basis of two emails from two different people, basically. Yes?
AUDIENCE: When I saw Saving Private Ryan, I was very impressed with that sort of staccato part, where every time there was a battle, you had this sort of look of unreality about it.
JAMES CUTTING: Right.
AUDIENCE: But maybe if you could comment on it--
JAMES CUTTING: Adds visual activity, it adds-- it raises your heart rate. You'll be breathing faster. It's just part of the general bodily rhythms that are going to be associated with what. you do. So filmmakers, in action sequences, are deliberately sort of getting you involved in a different way than you've been getting involved with before.
Everything I've talked about is content-free, right? So I haven't been able to talk about the narrative and what's going in the narrative. And in drama films and other kinds of things, it's a-- sort of all of Schindler's List is in the narrative, you would have thought, it's just an incredibly wrenching thing. And my analysis would tell you nothing about that. So but the argument I would make is that in addition to what the narrative is doing, filmmakers are controlling other aspects of the visual display of the film that, hopefully, are in sync with the narrative and are certainly not discrepant from it. Yes?
AUDIENCE: In reference to what you just said about Schindler's List, but his decision to use that red coat in the black and white film, doesn't that sort of--
JAMES CUTTING: Yes, there's a history of putting in dabs of color. And so in the Hitchcock movie, Spellbound, it's entirely in black and white. And there's this wonderful scene where Leo G. Carroll, the bad guy in the film, and Ingrid Bergman, are-- it's very towards the end of the film. And he pulls out a gun. He looks like he's going to shoot her.
Now Hitchcock wanted to have the gun in focus and Ingrid Bergman in focus, so he made up a six-foot gun with a very long arm attached to it, and stepped way back so he could get both in focus on those. And so the gun tracks Ingrid Bergman across as she exits the room, and then of course, he turns it around and fires a shot.
And there are three frames that are red in the film that show the kind of explosion of the burst of the shot, rate at this incredible point-of-view shot that you get. So yeah, I mean these are things that people have done for sort of a long period of time for effect. I mean, there are any number of things where, particularly in Bourne Identity they just throw in random frames of bright lights, or something like that, in the cadence of longer things. And you barely register those, but they kind of increase the anxiety and your sort of attunement to the action and other kinds of stuff that's going on. Yes?
AUDIENCE: Just going back to 3D because the reality is, we're all watching a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional screen.
JAMES CUTTING: Right.
AUDIENCE: So if you extrapolate out from that into a real 3D environment, not withstanding the Hollywood profit motive semantics of it, do you think that there could be-- I mean, there's going to be more data because you have three-dimensional data.
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah, we were talking about information just before and that that is going to be richer in information.
AUDIENCE: Do you think that is going to show more spikes within the context of seeing, because you have three-dimensional data versus two-dimensional data?
JAMES CUTTING: Right, so let me sort of fill out what I think you're saying. So we have these spikes of shot lengths, and that's just about shot lengths, not about content. Clearly, within shots, there are going to be things that are going to sort of capture your attention more. And that should be able should be contributing to some overall pattern that I haven't measured.
And yes, I would say that 3D, insofar as you can control foregrounded and background in those situations, would likely do that. Whether does it more than-- oops. What happened? it does that more than selective focus in the old style, mono-vision--
AUDIENCE: Like rack focus?
JAMES CUTTING: Rack focus, yeah, sort of like if you remember, in The Graduate, there's this wonderful scene where Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross and Anne Bancroft-- of course. And he is in the daughter's room and the camera's focused on her. The door opens up and the camera changes focus to the mother, just drawing your attention-- that kind of thing is used in film a lot. And I'm not sure that would be different than 3D.
The 3D stuff is simultaneous, but the task-- I'm assuming that the task of the filmmaker is to draw your attention to one particular location in the space of the film, but also in depth. And so I don't know.
AUDIENCE: I don't know, because multiple levels of depth is based on lighting--
JAMES CUTTING: Yes.
AUDIENCE: OK, and there's obviously depth based on lens usage.
JAMES CUTTING: Yes.
AUDIENCE: So now you're adding depth based on three-dimensionality.
JAMES CUTTING: Focus, right.
JAMES CUTTING: Right, right, all of things.
SPEAKER 1: So I'm going to step in here. I want to, again, thank Professor Cutting [INAUDIBLE].
If you have [INAUDIBLE], you want to come down and--
JAMES CUTTING: Yeah, I'm here. I'm here.
SPEAKER 1: Thank you so much for coming. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
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Popular movies have evolved over the last century to fit better our cognitive and perceptual systems. Indeed, film can tell us a lot about the human mind.
James Cutting, professor of psychology at Cornell, discusses the many ways in which films have changed--adjusting frame rates, aspect ratios, shot lengths, and adding
sound, color, and 3D--in the service of a more immersive experience.