Analysis of Average Shot Length

Average shot lengths are usually measured in seconds. Some more contemplative films have average shot lengths that last minutes, as noted in the comments field of Unspoken Cinema's post on average shot length.

"ASL (Average Shot Length) indicates the average duration of a shot between cuts in a film (total film run time divided by number of shots). It's a data used to compare films from their editing style : how often do they cut, how long do the shots last. A long ASL means the film uses, on average, longer shots and fewer cuts. Comprehensive example of ASL calculation (at OffScreen) : Bresson's Pickpocket(1959) ASL = 10"

"In my book, THE WAY HOLLYWOOD TELLS IT, I try to show that the acceleration of cutting in recent decades can be seen as moving from an ASL range of 8-11 seconds before 1960 and towards a range of 4-6 seconds in recent years." David Bordwell

[Read more here]


Michelle said...

I'm fascinated with this now and went to imdb to see if ASL is logged under a film's "technical specs", but no.

p.s. I bet David Lynch's films have longer ASLs. I bet Twin Peaks has one of the longest ASLs of any program appearing on network television. Speaking of, I'm hoping to blast out of here early tomorrow (not likely)and try to catch him in person. Rush seating only, though, so may not happen. You're welcome to tag along. Charles was going to come with but he'll be on a plane.

SisterRye said...

I was going to go (had DL's picture up on my calendar), but decided to hang out with my daughter instead. Thanks for the invite!

Charles said...

My ears are burning.... someone said my name....

Interesting wikipedia entry on the the not so average shot length (the long take) to be found here:

It includes some of the more notible long takes as well as some of its practioners (Shout out for Miklos Jancso!)

SisterRye said...

Hey Charles,

Thanks for the link. How was your miso soup?

I haven't seen any Miklos Jancso films. Which would you recommend?

Charles said...

After I got off the phone with you the fever and joint pains kicked in. I didn't even have the strength to make miso soup.

I've only seen one Jancso film but it made a lasting impression.
The Red and the White.

Perhaps its time for the PFA to put together a retrospective?

Perhaps a Jancso/Wajda two for one special?

SisterRye said...

Not enough strength to make instant miso soup? Now that's ill.

Good idea. I'll call my friend over at the PFA and see if he can put one together for us!