Soviet Montage

Kuleshov Effect

Dziga Vertov– Man with a Movie Camera

In this sequence of Man with a Movie Camera, the impression of  busy city life is conveyed through fast montage of varying discontinuous shots.

Five Methods of Montage

Sergei Eisenstein‘s methods of montage

1. Metric 

where the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature of time), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to elicit the most basal and emotional of reactions in the audience.

2. Rhythmic

– includes cutting based on the action within the frame – such as match -on-action, creating visual continuity from edit to edit.


3. Tonal

– a tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots—not just manipulating the temporal length of the cuts or its rhythmical characteristics—to elicit a reaction from the audience even more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage. For example, a sleeping baby would emote calmness and relaxation; billowing sails and the calm before the storm.


4. Overtonal/Associational

-the overtonal montage is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect. This is the Eisenstein’s famous Odessa Steps sequence (revisited in the Untouchables).


5. Intellectual

uses shots which, combined, elicit an intellectual meaning. you put the idea together by the collision of shots.


French Pre-War Montage 

Coeur Fidèle (1923, Jean Epstein)

An Andalusian Dog, by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí – 1929 (tonal, rhythmic, false continuity)


Other Examples:

Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky – metric, tonal


City of God – metric, tonal, rhythmic

Tree of Life, Terence Malick  – overtonal/associational

I Wish, Hirokasu Koreeda


Jump Cuts for Effect:


Nonlinear, Chaos and Post-Continuity Editing

Cinema in the Digital Age, by Nicholas Rombes 

-replications and loops
-digital degradation, errors and glitches
-nonlinear editing and chaos cinema
-random access of database
-malleable time, nested time, time shifting

  • Classical = linear cause and effect , illusion of 3D space, material invisible (theater)
  • Digital = nonlinearity, repetition (loop), manipulation of time and space, materiality foregrounded (device screen)
  • Information space (Interface) and Narrative Space (Immersive world)

Chaos Cinema 1, by Matthias Stork
Chaos Cinema 2 by Matthias Stork


Steenbeck Editing

Nonlinear Editing

timeline> sequence > tracks >clips> audio sync/linked  > transitions


Compositing/Spatial Montage/Effects/Color Manipulation



Spatial Montage:

Jean-Louis Boissier’s Flora petrinsularis. – the interface

Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Mike Figgis – Timecode



ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 


Start to formulate an idea for the final project. Propose the idea to in person or as an email.

Final Project (30%)

rough cut due – last two weeks of class
final cut due – last class

With consideration of the assignments, readings , screenings and class discussions, create a final project that explores/exploits at least one feature of “digital cinema”: looped video, glitched video, composited video, networked video, hyperlinked video, database video, etc.  You may create a fictional, non-fictional or abstract project. However,the project must be made of video (moving digital images originally captured as video), incorporate cinema language (thoughtful continuity editing and/or montage) and you must engage with the class ideas in the conception of your project. Your grade we will be based on the quality and effort of your creative work as well as its conceptual foundation.

Some suggested ideas:

  • a mini documentary
  • a profile of a person, company, product or institution
  • a fictional short video
  • a video essay
  • a Youtube web series
  • a series of video loops
  • a work of hypercinema (HTML5)
  • a mashup or series of mashups,
  • an experimental video that creates a hybrid space with composting, spatial montage and other effects
  • a multilinear database narrative

Group projects are possible.

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