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The Code for Making Hollywood Blockbusters

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It makes sense that a movie has to conform to our average attention span. This way we will not get bored during the film. Cornell University psychologist James Cutting has worked out the formula for delivering a blockbuster hit.

To find out whether the length of camera shots in films might follow 1/f too, Cutting measured the duration of every shot in 150 high-grossing Hollywood movies in various genres released between 1935 and 2005. He then turned these into a series of waves for each film. He found that later films were more likely to obey the 1/f law than earlier ones (Psychological Science, in press). But he stresses that it isn't just fast-paced action films like Die Hard II that follow 1/f. Rather, the important thing is having shots of similar length that recur in a regular pattern throughout a film.

Link - via popsci

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