Cinemetrics Across Borders

Free and open to the public. 

Thursday, April 30 - Sunday, May 3

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Room 201
915 East 60th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

It takes skills to tell a story. What skills it takes depends on the medium we use. Film is the medium of showing. What to show closer? What to show longer? What to show once, and what to show again?  Filmmakers have dealt with these problems since the beginning of cinema. Those who study film history today need to have a clear picture of how and why filmmakers made these decisions throughout time. What were D.W. Griffith’s favorite camera set ups in 1914? What year was it that Chaplin learned to cut? Questions like these relate to film editing, and will keep coming up as long as film editing remains art. How many cuts does that seemingly seamless Birdman hide? How did they slice and splice the 12 years of real time in Boyhood?

Cinemetrics is a website that helps to puzzle out such questions. Launched in 2005 as a digital tool designed to assess and compare various ways of editing films, Cinemetrics has grown into a global forum on experimental methods in cinema studies. Hundreds of film students and scholars from different countries, each with their own research agenda, submit shot-length and shot-scale data to the Cinemetrics website. For years, we have been comrades-in-arms in cyberspace. Between 2013-2015, the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has enabled us to talk to each other face to face about the value of Cinemetrics data. As part of this project, from April 30 to May 3, 2015 the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and the Film Studies Center hosted the International Conference “Cinemetrics Across Borders” at the University of Chicago, which brought together filmmakers and scholars from around the world. Co-sponsored by the Adelyn Russell Bogert Fund of the Franke Institute for the Humanities and the Chuck Roven Fund for Cinema and Media Studies.

Conference Schedule

Afternoon session held at the Neubauer Collegium
5701 South Woodlawn Avenue
2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Registration
3:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Welcoming Remarks
Jonathan Lear (Roman Family Director, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago)
Opening Remarks
Yuri Tsivian (Faculty Director, Cinemetrics Across Boundaries: A Collaborative Study of Montage, University of Chicago)
3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Screening: Boyhood (2014)
Directed by Richard Linklater, editing by Sandra Adair
6:30 p.m. Reception
May 1-3 sessions held at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
915 East 60th Street, Room 201
9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Coffee
10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Keynote Address
Cutting Boyhood
Sandra Adair, A. C. E.
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Panel | One
Latest Trends
Barry Salt (London Film School)
Methods of Time-series Analysis of the Shot Structure of Hollywood Film
Jordan DeLong (Indiana University Bloomington)
1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Lunch
2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Panel | Two
On the Heterogeneity of Cinematography in the Films of Aki Kaurismäki
Jaakko Seppälä (University of Helsinki)
Red Herrings and the Drama Factor: Cinemetrics and Reality Television
Christina Peterson (Eckerd College)
4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Panel | Three
Computational Touch: Patterns of Expectations in Perception of Cinemetrical Graph
Mohsen Nasrin (Carleton University)
Information Density and Valid Evidence: Teaching with Cinemetrics
Burke Hilsabeck (Oberlin College)

9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Coffee
10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Keynote Address
How Movies Grab Our Attention
James Cutting (Cornell University)
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Panel Four
Small Data: A Report from the EASTT Group
Kaitlin Fyfe and Lea Jacobs (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
A Day in the Life of a Digital Humanist: Film Data, Tools and the Human Mind
Adelheid Heftberger (Austrian Film Museum)
1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Lunch
2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. | Panel Five
New Measurement Tool and Possible Improvements in Measuring and Representation of Data
Gunars Civjans (Social Integration Agency, Latvia)
Is Raw Data an Oxymoron? Or, the State of the Cinemetrics Database as a Digital Humanities Tool
Ian Bryce Jones (University of Chicago)
4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. | Panel Six
The Future of 1913
Daria Khitrova (Harvard University) and Michael Baxter (Emeritus, Nottingham Trent University; 2013-14 Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow)
Cinemetrics Looks at Griffith; Griffith Looks at Cinemetrics
Yuri Tsivian (University of Chicago) and Michael Baxter (Emeritus, Nottingham Trent University; 2013-14 Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow)


9:30-10:00 a.m. Coffee

10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Keynote Address
Cinemetrics and Sound Cinema: A Field Report
Charles O’Brien (Carleton University)

11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Round Table Discussion and Concluding Remarks