Will Luers

Will Luers

Welcome to the class. I am your guide through the world of electronic literature.

Narrative Time

The Classical Hollywood Style:

  • objective camera (no looking at lens)
  • cause and effect editing (narrative time experienced as continuous movement in space)
  • goal or desire and an obstacle to goal (time pressure)
  • closure – plot resolved

Aristotle’s Poetics, 335 BC:

  •  plot = “the arrangement of the incidents” into a whole
  • drama vs. narration / show vs. tell (mimesis)
  • unity of action (cause and effect chain)
  • complex plot: reversal and recognition
  • tragedy arouses pity and fear and then purges them (catharsis)

Freytag’s Pyramid

Continuity as Narration:

His Girl Friday, 1940 – directed by Howard Hawks

Continuity determined by character quirks: gestures, glances, reactions…

Leave a Reply

Pocket Cinema

I would have been more successful if I’d left movies immediately, stayed in the theatre, gone into politics, written, anything. I’ve wasted a greater part of my life looking for money and trying to get along, trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paintbox which is a movie. And I’ve spent too much energy on things that have nothing to do with making a movie. It’s about two percent movie-making and ninety-eight percent hustling. It’s no way to spend a life.” -Orson Welles 

The cost of Movies pushed the industry towards more control: star system, clear story arcs, spectacle.  Little room to fail.  The Hollywood Studio System defined the new system of storytelling – The Classical Hollywood Style (David Bordwell).

Evolution of the Moving Image Camera:

Black Maria, Thomas Edison’s studio – 1893




Image result for Cinematograph






Image result for movie cameras in 1920s

Mitchell Standard Model A 35 mm, 1920s



Image result for movie cameras in 1950s

Paillard Bolex, 16mm, 1960s




Image result for video cameras 1970s

Sony DV-2400 Video Rover, 1970s


Image result for vx1000 sony

Sony DCR-VX1000 (first prosumer digital video camcorder) 1990s


Image result for iphone

iPhone > smartphone – 2007 


GoPro (Hero) 2006


Image result for Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II

Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II, 4k = 3840 × 2160 resolution, 2018 


What Does Smaller Cameras mean for Cinema Arts?

same “language”: camera movement, position, editing…

Cinema = Frame>Shot>Scene>Sequence>Act – shaping the experience of space, time and movement.


 Night Fishing by Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong


Digital Video Documentary: Visual Evidence

GoPro, micro-cameras

160 Characters from Victoria Mapplebeck 


Leave a Reply



Exact Repetition

short-term memory =  under 20 seconds

beginning > middle > end

semi-static (infinite loop)


complex loops – variable duration of each shot



loops in new media – movement and interactivity

FilmText, by Mark Amerika

Zoe Beloff


Simultaneous Loops

spatial montage = “coexisting temporalities” (Lev Manovich)

Flora petrinsularis by Jean-Louis Boissier 1993

Interactive Cinema, by Uda Atsuko http://www.iamas.ac.jp/~makura/index_old.html


Sequential Loops

Eric Loyer calls “temporal polyrhythms”

The temporal map of the comic’s inter-panel progression with the various nested intra-panel movements.


“Our Toyota Was Fantastic” -Gilles Roussel a.k.a. Boulet

Interactive Cinema, by Uda Atsuko http://www.iamas.ac.jp/~makura/index_old.html


Nested Loops

an asynchronous assemblage of nested loops offers a picture of fractal time;

simultaneous temporalities of different scales, rhythms and durations.


Cinemagraphs (portion of image is in movement)

3 Loop Exercise

adobe premiere

insert a loop into a blog post with vimeo or youtube

(video src=”url” loop=”on” autoplay=”on”) – only with square brackets not parentheses!




Leave a Reply

Cinema Narration

The Classical Hollywood Style:

  • objective camera (no looking at lens)
  • cause and effect editing
  • goal or desire and an obstacle to goal
  • closure – plot resolved
  • time and pace for story effects and information

Aristotle’s Poetics, 335 BC:

  •  plot = “the arrangement of the incidents” into a whole
  • drama vs. narration / show vs. tell (mimesis)
  • unity of action (cause and effect chain)
  • complex plot: reversal and recognition
  • tragedy arouses pity and fear and then purges them (catharsis)

Continuity as Narration:

His Girl Friday, 1940 – directed by Howard Hawks

Continuity determined by character quirks: gestures, glances, reactions…

Documentaries and Narrative Continuity

Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s ‘Listen to Britain’ – Illusions of Continuity

Cinema Narration:

The Lunch Date is a 1989 American short films directed by Adam Davidson.
– selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
-won Short Film Palme d’Or in 1990 Cannes Film Festival.
-won an Academy Award in 1991 for Best Short Subject.


Leave a Reply

Time Frames

Building blocks of cinematic storytelling: Framing (moving camera), Continuity Editing, Montage and Mise-en-scène

Framing: distance from subject, angle, diagonal lines, foreground-middleground-background, depth, light/shadow, focus/unfocus, focal length, depth of field, rule of thirds, moving frame, duration

Continuity Editing: extended cinematic space – screen movement + narrative momentum + viewer imagination – the motivated shot, screen direction, 180 degree rule, 30 degree rule, match on action, graphic match, eyeline match, POV

Montage: juxtaposition of discontinuous shots: rapid cuts, rhythm, emotional sequences, thoughts, ideas, summary of events, passage of time, voice-over sequence, associational thinking, commentary, evidence, split screen

Time, narrative and editing…


Discontinuous Continuity

Parallel Action:


Forever with Maya Rudolph sequence – narrative rhythm…

Temporal Montage:

screen time <= story time

Illusion of Continuous time: screen time <= story time


Compressed time:  screen time < story time

Long takes:  screen time = story time

The Cranes Are Flying – by Mikhail Kalatozov


Expanded time: screen time > story time


Alternating Expanded and Contracted time

160 Characters from Victoria Mapplebeck 


Post-continuity or “Chaos” Cinema



Leave a Reply

Evolution of Cinema Language

Cinema Form/”Language”

  • mise en scene – world depicted/in front of the camera, faces, landscape, gesture, costume
  • framing – camera position and lens, moving camera
  • editing – continuity and montage, order, rhythm, syntax/grammar
  • sound – voice, music, effects, 3d space

Cinema Space > Storytelling

Continuity Editing: connecting shot to shot so that there is momentum in the narrative telling and a seamless narration of causally connected events. All edits are discontinuous. Story and character drive the editing and the sense of continuity.


Eadweard Muybridge – motion studies (1878)

Thomas Edison – Kinetoscope, movement, sensational (1896)


Lumiere Brothers- outside (light), portable, travel, “documentaries” (1895)


Melies – theater, vaudeville, fantasy, special effects, illusion (1909)


HER TRUST – D.W. Griffith (1912)

D.W. Griffith

“A shot of a whole battlefield would be incomprehensible because looking at real things, the human vision fastens itself upon a quick succession of small comprehensible incidents like a mosaic out of such detail- the director counterfeits the operation of the eye with his lens and varies the length of shots to avoid the hypnotic affect.” – Griffith

Continuity Editing (The Classical Hollywood Style)

objective camera, invisible editing, dramatic tension (desire and obstacle), cause and effect chains


  • 180 degree rule
  • Cut in
  • Match on Action
  • Parallel action
  • Motivated Pov shot
  • Eyeline match
  • Flashback
  • Multiple camera set ups
  • Close up
  • Extreme long shot/Establishing shot
  • Cross cutting, intercutting / Parallel Action
  • Visual Dramatic climax. Form=Content


  • production design
  • mise en scène: set /costume / acting/ facial expression/gesture
  • pan
  • tilt
  • camera angle
  • lighting effect
  • fade
  • dissolve
  • iris shot
  • mask
  • split screen
  • soft focus
  • matte shot



Leave a Reply


Editing Issues?

Adobe Tutorials

shoot 720p, edit by dragging clip into timeline

Premiere export in codec .H.264, format .mp4
Presets for Vimeo and Youtube

Upload to Vimeo
compression guidelines

Upload to YouTube
compression guidelines
creative playbook


Look at Framing Assignments…



“Rules” Continuity Editing (and Shooting):

  • Establishing shot 
  • 180 degree rule
  • 30 degree rule
  • Cut in / Match on Action
  • Motivated Pov shot
  • Eyeline match/ Shot Reverse Shot
  • Empty frame
  • Graphic Match
  • Parallel action/ Crosscutting

Movement through spaces driven by the narrative.

Continuity Clips: North by Northwest – Alfred Hitchcock, cafeteria scene…

In-class Exercise: Blocking shots for Continuity 

In-class Editing Exercise:  Skyfall

Premiere keyboard shortcuts

Download Youtube video – get Firefox Addon – 1-Click Youtube Downloader or use https://keepvid.pro/




—————————— BREAK ——————————

“Fake Continuity”

All edits are discontinuous. Editing is a trick of condensing and expanding illusions of space and time for story effects. Story effects are built from the juxtaposition of discontinuous units: Frame-Shot-Sequence-Act-Story.

Continuity editing creates the illusion of continuous space and time in a documentary and should be considered as an opportunity for making fluid connections and not as a set of strict rules never to be broken.

Cover what you can of an event and always look for opportunities for continuity cuts.

Move around the subject(s) (within 180 degrees) and vary your camera framing:tight (CU) , medium and wide (establishing).



Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s ‘Listen to Britain’







Jump Cuts – Godard, Breathless

Celebration – documentary style cutting / dogma manifesto





Continuity Assignment (5%) – due by next class

Shoot and edit a short video that follows the principles  of continuity to create the illusion of continuous space and time.  Try to vary the angles and distances of your shots:  establishing shot, medium-shot, close-up. Sound may be an element here, but please do not include talking, music or verbal explanations. We are working on visual explanations, depicting continuity of action. Here is an idea if you can’t come up with a mini-story:

  • Making or Doing Something:
    Document someone making something or doing some focused activity. The process may take 3-30 minutes, but the final video should be no more than 60 seconds. Document a single continuous action (making art, playing sports, cooking a meal, walking a dog) and edit it into a sequence that is between 30-60 seconds. 

Post your Continuity Assignment with a Vimeo/Youtube embed (place the url on its own line) and write a short assessment of your video from the standpoint of framing and continuity editing. What works and what doesn’t work to tell the visual story?




For covering processes -like somebody making something- think of five shot variations for each sequence:

Michael Rosenblum’s 5-Shot-Sequence

  1. A closeup on the hands of a subject – showing WHAT is happening
  2. A closeup on the face – WHO is doing it
  3. A wide shot – WHERE its happening
  4. An over the shoulder shot (OTS) – linking together the previous three concepts
  5. An unusual, or side/low shot – providing story-specific context


Student Continuity Work:




Leave a Reply


Framing (camera position)

Variety of camera positions and angles keeps the eyes busy and interested, evokes the space and psychology of characters. Maintaining a single angle or distance reinforces a point of view.

types of camera positions:

ELS – extreme long shot (landscape)

LS – long shot (full body)

MLS – medium long shot (from knees up)

M – medium (from waist up)

MCU – medium close-up (from chest/shoulders up)

CU – close-up (face)

ECU – extreme close-up (portion of face)

lens length:

wide angle = opens space, more distance, more inclusive

telephoto/zoom = collapses space, more intimate, separate from background.

types of camera angles:




types of subject compositions:

3/4 front
left/right profile
3/4 back – over the shoulder, POV
profile two shot
direct to camera two shot
over the shoulder two shot
headroom, look room
subjective/objective styles

rule of thirds in shot composition


Keep Track of Camera Framing:


Leave a Reply