Hitchcock and shot scales

This week a look at shot scales and shot types in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The pdf can be accessed here: Nick Redfern – Statistical analysis of shot types in the films of Alfred Hitchcock

Statistical analysis of shot types in the films of Alfred Hitchcock

Abstract

This paper analyses the changing use of shot scales and shot types in the films of Alfred Hitchcock from The Pleasure Garden (1925) to The Birds (1963) in the context of the introduction of sound technology to British cinema in 1929 and the director’s move from Britain to Hollywood in 1939. A sample of 42 films was divided into 3 subgroups (British silent films [𝑛 = 9]; British sound films [𝑛 = 14]; and Hollywood films [𝑛 = 19]); and was analysed using linear regression of rank-frequency plots and nonparametric analysis of variance. The results show that all three groups of films are well-fitted by a linear regression model, with no one shot scale dominating these films. Analysis of the different shot scales revealed that there are no significant differences in the use of shot scales between the two groups of British films, but that significant differences did occur between the British and American films for close-ups and medium close-ups, which increase in frequency, and medium long shots and long shots, which became less frequent. The proportion of reverse-angle cuts in the Hollywood films is much greater than in the British films, and this may be due to the use of shot-reverse shot editing patterns in Hollywood cinema. There is no evidence that the number of point-of-view shots or inserts changed, and this may be attributed to the fact that these types of shots are used in specific circumstances as required by the demands of narrative. Overall the results indicate that the introduction of sound technology did not have an impact on Hitchcock’s film style, but that the move to Hollywood did result in specific changes in the style of Hitchcock’s films.

This paper expands and imporoves on the methodology of using rank-frequency plots and ranks to analyse shot scales that I’ve used elsewhere. It also clarifies and updates and earlier discussion of shot scales in Hitchcock’s films, as well as tentatively exploring the relationship between reverse-angle cuts and POV shots. There is, however, much work to be done in this area – especially on Hitchcock’s use of shot-reverse shot editing.

Advertisements

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 18, 2010, in Alfred Hitchcock, British Cinema, Cinemetrics, Film Analysis, Film History, Film Studies, Film Style, Hollywood and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: