Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a films studies class.
Lecturer:Now I’d like to take a look at just how important editing is for the film maker. You remember we said a film is made up of what we call shots. The basic unit to film narrative. And each shot is a continuous image being filmed, in which the camera is turned on for shooting that is filming the actor, scenery, whatever. And then it’s turned off. And after the shots are filmed, they have to be edited, put together, to tell a coherent story. Now, the most common way, is to cut from shot A to shot B, now cut in this sense, is a sudden change from one scene to another. In editing, the film maker chooses which shots, and how much of each shot to use. And what order to arrange them in. The typical Hollywood film, contains between 800 and 1200 shots, so, with so many shots to assemble, you can see how important editing decisions are, in shaping the finished film. So, cutting is an important editing technique. And it’s commonly used in what I’ll call, spatial and temporal manipulation. That is, in the conscious control in the relation between shot A and shot B in space and time. When a film cuts directly from one shot to the next, as viewers we perceive these shots as one uninterrupted segment between time, and space. For example, let’s say a shot of the speaker cuts to a shot of a cheering crowd. In reality, these two shots could have been taken on different days, and in two different locations. But, we assume that the crowd’s appearing FOR the speaker, during the speech, we infer spatial and temporal coexistence. The possibility of this kind of spatial and temporal manipulation was explored extensively in the 1920s by the Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov. Kuleshov did some experiments with film editing. In his most famous experiment, Kuleshov edited together a short film in which the same shot of an actor’s expression on his face, a film star at the time, was alternated with various other shots, a bowl of soup, a child, et cetera. The film was then shown to an audience, who first saw the actors’ face with its neutral expression, then a bowl of soup, the actors’ face, then a child, and so on. And guess how the audience reacted? They believed that the expression on the actors’ face, was different each time it appeared. That the actor was looking longingly at the bowl of soup, and then lovingly at the child. Audiences craved the actors’ talent for portraying these thoughts and emotions, even though they saw the exact same shot of him. So the audience not only inferred spatial and temporal coexistence, but, presumably, they assigned to the actor, their own emotional reactions. This mental tendency of viewers’ to attempt to make shots fit together, even if the shots are totally unrelated, is widely known as the Kuleshov effect. Kuleshov came to believe, that editing was truly the essence of the art of filmmaking. And that everything else involved, was inconsequential. The camera angle, you know, the angle from which the film is shot, the details of the scenery, even the performance of the actor, in fact, at one point, he didn’t even call them actors at all, but rather regarded them, as a type of prop. Okay, now, before we go on, well (laughs), you’ll see in your textbook there’s some controversy among film historians about the exact details of Kuleshov’s film experiment, just what was included in these shots. Was it a child? Or a baby? That sort of thing. But regardless of the details, well, let me tell you, I’ve been making films for thirty years, and there’s not a single one in which I haven’t relied on the principles behind the Kuleshov effect. Alright, let’s consider the two types of films we’ve been studying this year: fiction and documentary. Well, you can see how in a fiction film, using cutting from shot to shot fits with the genre. But now the documentary, remember, documentary films are supposed to be of a real event - events that actually occurred, but, considering that virtually all documentaries have been edited to some degree, let me ask you, to what extent if at all, can a documentary filmmaker depict reality without in effect, manipulating our viewers?
1. What does the professor mainly discuss?
A. How film-editing techniques have changed over time
B. The effect of editing on viewers' perceptions of a film
C. Differences between fiction films and documentary films
D. How Kuleshov's experiences as an actor influenced his filmmaking
2. What point does the professor make when he describes a shot of a speaker that cuts to a shot of a crowd?
A. Filmmakers have difficulty manipulating time and space within individual scenes.
B. Kuleshov's early films used editing more extensively than his later films did.
C. Audiences tend to infer relationships between consecutive shots.
D. The filming of a crowd and the speaker on different days confused the viewers.
3. The professor describes Kuleshov's most famous film experiment. In the experiment, what aspect of the film did the audience praise?
A. The actor's ability to portray a variety of different characters
B. The actor's ability to express a wide range of feelings
C. Kuleshov's use of a popular actor
D. Kuleshov's ability to use scenery to create dramatic effects
4. What was Kuleshov's attitude toward the actors in his films?
A. He considered their acting abilities irrelevant to a finished film.
B. He depended on them to bring emotional impact to his films.
C. He believed that their training was often inadequate.
D. He valued their opinions about the filmmaking process.
5. What is the professor's opinion of the Kuleshov effect?
A. He thinks it is only of historical interest.
B. Film historians have overstated its impact on audiences.
C. It has a more dramatic impact in short films than in long films.
D. As a filmmaker, he finds it useful.
6. What does the professor imply about documentary films?
A. Most of them are produced without editing.
B. They tend to require more close-up shots than fiction films do.
C. They do not present events in an entirely neutral way.
D. They make more intentional use of the Kuleshov effect than fiction films do.