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FilmmakerMagBlog tipped me to this NY TImes article on “evolution” of editing to mirror the way the brain works or likes to.
The basic shot structure of the movies, the way film segments of different lengths are bundled together from scene to scene, act to act, has evolved over the years to resemble a rough but recognizably wave-like pattern called 1/f, or one over frequency — or the more Hollywood-friendly metaphor, pink noise. Pink noise is a characteristic signal profile seated somewhere between random and rigid, and for utterly mysterious reasons, our world is ablush with it.
Movies today are, on average, much pinker than the films of half a century ago. Their shot structure has greater coherence, a comparatively firmer grouping together of similarly sized units that ends up lending them a frequency distribution ever more in line with the lab results of human reaction and attention times. “Roughly since 1960,” Dr. Cutting said, “filmmakers have been converging on a pattern of shot length that forces the reorientation of attention in the same way we do it naturally.”