Annotation and Statistics

  • Adelheid Heftberger
Part of the Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences book series (QMHSS)


An integral component of analogue film production from its beginnings has been its segmentary nature. In the first years of the cinema, around the time of the Lumière brothers, a film was usually only about a minute long, which corresponded to the length of a roll of film. A few years later, several smaller reels were already being assembled together, and the individual sequences, too, were no longer shot only in the chronology of the screenplay but increasingly from different points of view chronologically transposed. One reason for the break with chronological sequence was economic; in this way the classic Hollywood system became a leader in its efficient organisation of shooting (Bordwell et al. 1985). Already in the 1900s, the first films were produced with more than a single shot, in which one could, for example, insert close-ups as so-called cutaway shots, which enriched a linear narrative with important nuances. Among the earliest examples of films with more than a single shot are COME ALONG DO! (1898, R. W. Paul) and THE KISS IN THE TUNNEL (1899, G. A. Smith) (Salt 1992: 36). But it was only in the editing that one brought the individual pieces into the desired order, which could be a chronological sequence or not. This new freedom, to be able to arrange the individual sequences as one wished, encouraged experimentation on the one hand while on the other making a meaningful graphic depiction of the individual chronological and thematic segments a necessity.


  1. Birett, Herbert. 1988. Alte Filme: Filmalter und Filmstil. Statistische Analyse von Stummfilmen. Der Stummfilm. Konstruktion und Rekonstruktion, ed. by Elfriede Ledig. Munich: diskurs Film.Google Scholar
  2. Bordwell, David, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson. 1985. The Classical Hollywood Cinema. Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. 1985. Toward a Scientific Film History. Quarterly Review of Film Studies 10/3 (Summer): 224–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, Harold. 1990. Physical Characteristics of Early Film as Aids to Identification. Brussels: Féderation international des archives du film.Google Scholar
  5. Buckland, Warren. 2002. Statistical Style Analysis. URL: Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  6. DeLong, Jordan E., Kaitlin L. Brunick, and James E. Cutting. 2012. Film through the Human Visual System: Finding Patterns and Limits. Social Science of the Cinema, ed. by James E. Kaufman, and Dean Keith Simonton, 123–137. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ewerth, Ralph, Markus Mühling, Thilo Stadelmann, Julinda Gllavata, Manfred Grauer, and Bernd Freisleben. 2009. Videana: A Software Toolkit for Scientific Film Studies. Digital Tools in Media Studies. Analysis and Research. An Overview, ed. by Michael Ross, Manfred Grauer, and Bernd Freisleben, 101–116. Bielefeld: transcript.Google Scholar
  8. Grzybek, Peter, and Veronika Koch. 2012. Shot Length: Random or Rigid, Choice or Chance? An Analysis of Lev Kulešov’s Po zakonu [By the Law]. Sign Culture. Zeichen Kultur, ed. by Ernest W. B. Hess-Lüttich, 169–188. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.Google Scholar
  9. Eisenstein, Serge. 1961. Montage 1938. Gesammelte Aufsätze 1 by Serge Eisenstein, 229–280. Zürich: Verlag der Arche.Google Scholar
  10. Faulstich, Werner. 2002. Grundkurs Filmanalyse. München: Wilhelm Fink.Google Scholar
  11. Fuxjäger, Anton. 2009. Wenn Filmwissenschaftler versuchen, sich Maschinen verständlich zu machen. Digital Formalism. Die kalkulierten Bilder des Dziga Vertov, ed. by Klemens Gruber, Barbara Wurm, and Vera Kropf, 115–127. Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Maske und Kothurn 55/3.Google Scholar
  12. Hahn, Stefan. 2009. Filmprotokoll revisited. Digital Formalism. Die kalkulierten Bilder des Dziga Vertov, ed. by Klemens Gruber, Barbara Wurm, and Vera Kropf, 129–135. Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Maske und Kothurn 55/3.Google Scholar
  13. Ke, Yan, Rahul Sukhthankar, and Larry Huston. 2004. Efficient Near-duplicate Detection and Subimage Retrieval. URL: Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  14. Kipp, Michael. 2003. Gesture Generation by Imitation: From Human Behavior to Computer Character Animation. Boca Raton: Florida Scholar
  15. Kloepfer, Rolf. 2009. How to Capture Offers of Filmic Effectiveness. AKIRA III as an Aid. Digital Tools in Media Studies. Analysis and Research. An Overview, ed. by Michael Ross, Manfred Grauer, and Bernd Freisleben, 177–192. Bielefeld: transcript.Google Scholar
  16. Kovács, András Balint. 2014. Shot Scale Distribution. An Authorial Fingerprint or a Cognitive Pattern? projections 8/2, Winter: 50–70.Google Scholar
  17. Lorenz, Rolf J., and Joachim Vollmar. 1996. Grundbegriffe der Biometrie, 1996. Stuttgart, Jena, Lübeck, Ulm: Gustav Fischer.Google Scholar
  18. Redfern, Nick. 2012. The log-normal distribution is not an appropriate parametric model for shot length distributions of Hollywood films. Literary and Linguistic Computing. URL: Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  19. Salt, Barry. 1992a. Film Style and Technology: History and Analysis. London: Starword.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1992b. Statistical Style Analysis. URL: Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  21. ———. 2006. Moving Into Pictures. More on Film History, Style, and Analysis. London: Starwood.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2011. The Metrics in Cinemetrics. URL: Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  23. Zaharieva, Maia, and Christian Breiteneder. 2010. Archive Film Comparison. International Journal of Multimedia Data Engineering and Management 3/1: 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zaharieva, Maia, Dalibor Mitrović, Matthias Zeppelzauer, and Christian Breiteneder. 2010. Film Analysis of Archived Documentaries. IEEE Multimedia Journal 18 (2): 38–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zeppelzauer, Matthias, Dalibor Mitrović, and Christian Breiteneder. 2011. Cross-Modal Analysis of Audio-Visual Film Montage. Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks.Google Scholar
  26. Zaharieva, Maia. 2011. Features in visual media analysis. Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.
  27. Zeppelzauer, Matthias, Dalibor Mitrović. 2011. Syntactic and Semantic Concepts in Audio-Visual Media. Last accessed 8 Aug 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adelheid Heftberger
    • 1
  1. 1.German Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv)BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations