M

cu mcu nu Shot Scale

Fig. 3.3. Distribution of shot scale in Jurassic Park (whole film) (bcu = big close-up; cu = close-up; mcs = medium close shot; ms = medium shot; mis = medium long shot; Is = long shot; vis = very long shot)

Table 3.1. Frequency and percentage of shots in the first 30 minutes of The English Patient

Shot length (seconds)

Frequency

%

1

41

11.5

2

84

23.6

3

61

17.1

4

46

12.9

5

28

7.9

6

28

7.9

7

14

3.9

8

12

3.4

9

6

1.7

10

6

1.7

Table 3.2. Mean, standard deviation, and skewness of shot length in the first 30 minutes of The English Patient

No. of shots 356 Mean 5.1 Standard deviation 8 Skewness 10.9 Standard error of skewness 0.129

Table 3.3. Frequency and percentage of shots in the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park

Shot length (seconds)

Frequency

%

1

20

7.9

2

40

15.9

3

29

11.5

4

22

8.7

5

24

9.5

6

28

11.1

7

11

4.4

8

13

5.2

9

7

2.8

10

8

3.2

Table 3.4. Mean, standard deviation, and skewness of shot length in the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park

No. of shots 252 Mean 7 Standard deviation 6.69 Skewness 2.68 Standard error of skewness 0.153

can test John Seale's claim that he avoids moving the camera unless absolutely necessary (see Table 3.5).

Table 3.5. Camera movement values in the first 30 minutes of The English Patient

Frequency

%

Still camera

302

84.8

Pan

31

8.7

Track

22

6.2

Crane

1

0.3

The still camera is by far the most common value (85 per cent of all shots), with only 15 per cent of the shots containing camera movement. This seems to confirm John Seale's claim that he likes to keep the camera still.

In comparison, Jurassic Park contains the values shown in Table 3.6. These results may surprise some readers, especially the high percentage of still shots in an action blockbuster. But the percentages are significantly different to The English Patient, since Jurassic Park has 11 per cent more moving shots than The English Patient.

Table 3.6. Camera movement values in the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park

Frequency %

Table 3.6. Camera movement values in the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park

Frequency %

Still camera

187

74.2

Pan

33

13.1

Track

26

10.3

Crane

4

1.6

Pan and track

2

0.8

Finally, in terms of shot scale, the distribution in both films conforms to what statisticians call a 'normal distribution', with high values in the middle (the mean) and progressively lower values on either side (see Fig. 3.3, p. 112). The result of these normal distributions is that the standard deviation and skewness values are low. Both directors favour medium close-ups (28 per cent in Jurassic Park, and 33 per cent in The English Patient) and medium shots (21 per cent in Jurassic Park, and 20 per cent in The English Patient), although Jurassic Park only contains half as many close-ups as The English Patient (9 per cent in Jurassic Park, 18 per cent in The English Patient). Jurassic Park compensates with almost three times as many long shots as The English Patient.

In summary, The English Patient contains a short range of shot lengths averaging out at 5 seconds, heavily biased towards shots of 1-3 seconds, with a very high percentage of still shots. Jurassic Park has a much wider distribution of shot lengths, which average out at 7 seconds, with a bias (but not as much as in The English Patient) towards shots below this value, with a slightly higher percentage of camera movement. Seventy-one per cent of shots in The English Patient are at eye level, compared to 81 per cent in Jurassic Park. Furthermore, 7 per cent of shots in The English Patient are from a low angle, compared to 11.5 per cent in Jurassic Park. This similarity is surprising, for Spielberg is well known for using low camera angles. The values for shot scale are more 'stable' in both films, and conform to the normal distribution of values.

One final task needs to be carried out to check the viability of the above results - the representative nature of the first 30 minutes of a film. Here we shall simply note major similarities and differences between a statistical style analysis of the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park and an analysis of the whole film. (When two figures are quoted, the first one always refers to the 30-minute sample and the second to the whole film.) First, shot length. The mean for the first 30 minutes is 7 seconds (252 shots divided by 1,800 seconds), whereas for the whole film it is 6 seconds (1,145 shots divided by 6,870 seconds), suggesting that the cutting rate increases as the film progresses. This increase in cutting is not surprising for an action film with its usual climatic ending, but what is surprising is that the increase is small. Standard deviation remains stable between the two samples, whereas skewness increases from 2.68 to 3.58, suggesting a increase in bias towards shots of shorter length in the whole film. And indeed, when we look at the percentage of 1 - second shots, we note that, in the 30 minute sample, they constitute 8 per cent of shots, whereas in the whole film, they constitute 14.5 per cent. The other low values of shot length also increase slightly in the whole film. Whereas, as reported above, 54 per cent of shots in the 30-minute sample fall between 1 and 5 seconds, in the whole film 54 per cent of shots fall between 1 and 4 seconds. Put another way, shots between 1 and 5 seconds in the whole film constitute 63 per cent of shots (as opposed to 54 per cent in the 30-minute sample). Shot scale remains almost identical in both samples, as does camera movement (surprisingly, the number of still shots only falls 1 per cent to 73 per cent in the whole film, despite the increase in action). Significantly, the percentage of low camera angles almost doubles when we take into consideration the whole film - from 11.5 per cent to 21 per cent.

The information that the SPSS software has yielded is simply the raw material for writing about the style of The English Patient, and for comparing its style to that of other films. The above analysis only presents a small sample of data and even fewer tests on the stylistic patterns to be found in the film. The primary difference between this analysis and more conventional mise-en-

scene analysis is that statistical style analysis is more systematic and rigorous, and is more narrowly focused, for it exclusively analyses shot parameters. When reading the results of a statistical style analysis, we need to keep in mind that both the computer and statistics are merely tools, means to an end to analysing data on style, a way of quantifying style and making easier the recognition of underlying patterns.

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