Examining the Evolution of Movies and Human Perception

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At a recent event, psychologist James Cutting presented his findings about the the evolution of cinema and how things like shot length, shot patterns, motion, and lighting have changed over a century of filmmaking history--and what it also says about the evolution of human perception.

As Wired's Greg Miller reports, "The average shot length of English language films has declined from about 12 seconds in 1930 to about 2.5 seconds today, Cutting said. At the Academy event he showed a scatter plot with data from the British film scholar Barry Salt, who’s calculated the average shot duration in more than 15,000 movies made between 1910 and 2010. That’s a lot of shots. In a 2010 study, Cutting found an average of 1,132 shots per film in a smaller sample of 150 movies made between 1935 and 2010; the King Kong remake, incidentally, had the most: A whopping 3,099 shots packed into 187 minutes."

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