Cinemetrics across Borders
April 30-May 3, 2015

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 setups 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 users from across the globe came to Chicago to puzzle out such questions.

Full playlist available here


A Numerate Film History? Cinemetrics Looks at Griffith, Sennett and Chaplin (1909-1917)
March 14, 2014

The digital age opens film history both to newer tools and the challenges of statistics. One such tool is Cinemetrics, a sizable database of shot lengths that enables users to amass and process numeric data related to film editing. The one-day conference “A Numerate Film History?” was about the possible promises—or traps—that emerge as a result of the encounter between century-old films and the computational statistics of today. Conducted under the aegis of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and co-sponsored by the Film Studies Center, the conference featured Professor Tom Gunning and Professor Yuri Tsivian from Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago and two Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellows: Michael Baxter, Emeritus Professor of Statistical Archaeology, Nottingham Trent University, UK and Daria Khitrova, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles.