Do you ever get the feeling that big Hollywood blockbusters are just heartless products following an established formula to maximize profits? Well, that assessment may be more true than you think. The folks at physorg.com have published an article explaining how “Hollywood movies have found a mathematical formula that lets them match the effects of their shots to the attention spans of their audiences.”
Surprised? I’m certainly not. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Psychologist Professor James Cutting and his team from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, analyzed 150 high-grossing Hollywood films released from 1935 to 2005 and discovered the shot lengths in the more recent movies followed the same mathematical pattern that describes the human attention span. The pattern was derived by scientists at the University of Texas in Austin in the 1990s who studied the attention spans of subjects performing hundreds of trials. The team then converted the measurements of their attention spans into wave forms using a mathematical technique known as the Fourier transform.
They found that the magnitude of the waves increased as their frequency decreased, a pattern known as pink noise, or 1/f fluctuation, which means that attention spans of the same lengths recurred at regular intervals. The same pattern has been found by Benoit Mandelbrot (the chaos theorist) in the annual flood levels of the Nile, and has been seen by others in air turbulence, and also in music.
It’s commonplace to hear films like “Transformers” or “Avatar” described as formulaic, but this takes things to a whole new level. Read the full article here