Turning away : Embodied movement in the perception of shot duration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Image schemata are integral to understanding perception, for they provide the basis for the articulation of visual form and the parameters by which the body relates to already constituted visual objects. They also describe patterns of movement and, therefore, can be employed to understand the ordering of time in visual perception. This is of particular importance to film, where matters of proximity and spatial organisation are always grounded in onscreen bodily movement and mediated by the temporal patterns of camera movement, editing and montage. This article will address the relationship between image schemata and film form through an analysis of shot duration and in particular how bodily attitudes inform viewer anticipation in the long take. This involves an investigation of what differentiates the long take from other shots and the interrogation of why the spectator expects the shot to end within the time of viewing. In applying the theory of image schemas to temporal aspects of film, it is suggested that it is important to distinguish between those schemas that have a determinate end (such as the SPG schema) and those that do not (CONTAINER and BALANCE schemas). With respect to the long take, it is not only the expectation of the shot?s termination in the form of a cut that informs the viewer?s perception of shot duration but the indeterminate bodily inclination to turn away from the screen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89 - 101
Number of pages13
JournalImage & Narrative: online magazine of the visual narrative
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this