The mAR index of Hollywood films

UPDATE: reviewing the methodology of the mAR index in general, Mike Baxter noted an error in the data whereby I had reported the exponent of the negative exponential function instead of the mAR index for films from the 1960s. I have now corrected this and redone the analysis and the graphs (which are still cool). This mainly effects the conclusions regarding differences between genres. Overall, it turns out that, as a result of this error, I had actually underestimated the difference between the classical and rank mAR indices. If anyone finds any other errors then feel free to add a comment to this post and I’ll try to correct it as soon as possible.

And so to finish the month as we started, looking at robust estimates of the mAR index of film style. Below is the first draft of a paper comparing the mAR index  based on the methods used by James Cutting, Jordan De Long and Christine Nothelfer to describe the clustering of shots in motion picture with a rank-based alternative that is resistant to outliers. Naturally, it features some pretty cool graphs.

The pdf file is here: Nick Redfern – The mAR index for Hollywood films

Robust estimation of the modified autoregressive index for high grossing films at the US box office, 1935 to 2005

The modified autoregressive (mAR) index describes the clustering of shots of similar duration in a motion picture. In this paper we derive robust estimates of the mAR index for high grossing films at the US box office using a rank-based autocorrelation function resistant to the influence of outliers and compare this to estimates obtained using the classical, moment-based autocorrelation function. The results show that (1) The classical mAR function underestimates both the level of shot clustering and the variation in style among the films in the sample.; (2) there is a decline in shot clustering from 1935 to the 1950s followed by an increase from the 1960s to the 1980s and a levelling off thereafter rather than the monotonic trend indicated by the classical index, and this is mirrored in the trend of the median shot lengths and interquartile range; and (3) the rank mAR index indentifies differences between genres missed by the classical index.

 

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About Nick Redfern

I graduated from the University of Kent in 1998 with a degree in Film Studies and History, and was awarded an MA by the same institution in 2002. I received my Ph.D. from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 for a thesis title 'Regionalism and the Cinema in the United Kingdom, 1992 to 2002.' I have taught at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire. My research interests include regional film cultures and industries in the United Kingdom; cognition and communication in the cinema; anxiety in contemporary Hollywood cinema; cinemetrics; and film style and film form. My work has been published in Entertext, the International Journal of Regional and Local Studies, the New Review of Film and Television Studies, Cyfrwng: Media Wales Journal, and the Journal of British Cinema and Television.

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Cinemetrics, Film Analysis, Film Studies, Film Style, Hollywood, Statistics, Time Series Analysis and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nick, enjoyed reading this and your other articles. Was wondering if your text “An introduction to using graphical displays for analysing the editing of motion pictures” is somewhere on this blog – would like to use in my Spring class.

    I just put online my paper “Visualizing Vertov” which presents my approach to “exploratory media analysis” using high-res visualizations created with free tools developed in my lab. (The concept of course is derived from “exploratory data analysis”). Would love to see your comments:

    http://lab.softwarestudies.com/2013/01/visualizing-vertov-new-article-by-lev.html

    Other recent articles on theory, methods, and examples of exploratory media visualization are here:

    http://lab.softwarestudies.com/p/publications.html

    Also, since you are clearly much better with time series analysis than me, would like to talk about some data we extracted from Vertov’s film (not shot lengths)?

    Best,

    Lev

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