8 - video time

Like space, time in video is not constant or fixed. Video has the ability to represent a vast expanse of space or time. The line between "what is video space" and "what is video time" is often a blurry one. The passage of time in video is completely under your control and, in fact, you *must* control time in your video productions. For example, a movie might cover the story of a family over several generations, but the film itself will only last about 90 minutes. Alternatively, a fight scene that took place in seconds in real life might seem much longer in video.

The textbook says, "... movies are life with all of the boring parts cut out. (Stinson 46)"

Possible lesson idea? = http://ed.ted.com/lessons/slowing-down-time-in-writing-film-aaron-sitze

Manipulating Video Time:

In real life, time passes at the same speed, always, for everyone, simultaneously. In videos, time can be manipulated in several ways.

Slow Motion

Slow motion has the power to do several things. Moderate slow motion can produce a dreamlike effect. It can seem:
  • romantic - like a couple running toward each other in a field
  • nightmarish - like a fall toward certain death
  • nostalgic - like a flashback to a powerful memory

Music will play a big roll in determining what effect the slow motion will have on the audience's emotions. Slow motion also allows the viewer to witness details that would happen to quickly for them to perceive otherwise.

(Stinson 47)

Fast Motion

A small increase in speed can make a scene more intense. Fighters seem more powerful, car chases are more dramatic. Speeding up action too much, however, makes a comic effect.

Time Lapse

Time lapse allows us to quickly view events that occur over a very long period of time. This girl will grow from birth to elementary school aged in just a few minutes. Time lapse lets us watch a plant grow, flower, and die. Time lapse also lets us view the path the moon and stars take as they travel through the night sky.

Overlapping Action

Overlapping action allows the events of a short period of time to expand and seem to take longer. As a man is running frantically toward a goal, he is filmed from many different angles. The distance may have been short but by editing those different angles together we can make him appear to be running for a very long time.

Omitting Action

Alternatively, we can leave out footage of an event that takes a long time - showing only pieces of the action. This allows us to view the sequence of events much more quickly. We don't need to watch the characters in this scene as they climb the entire cliff. We can see a little bit at the bottom, a little bit in the middle, and a little bit at the end. The rest of the climb can be omitted to keep the action moving.
Serial Time Flow

Serial time flow represents one sequence of events, no matter how compressed or expanded. We see the events that occurred, in the order they actually happened, without overlapping or omitting any action.

Parallel Time Flow

Cross cutting between two people acting at the same time (hero hanging, rescuer running to help). With parallel time flow we are able to put the viewer in two places at once - watching two events that are happening at the exact same time.

The video shows the audience an event in current time, then shows an event that happened earlier in the story's timeline. Flashbacks usually help explain something that is happening in the storyline or help contrast the present with the past.

Flashfoward is the same idea and works the same way. The audience sees a glimpse of what will happen in the character's future.