Shaping edits, creating fractals: a cinematic case study

James E. Cutting, Karen Pearlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated physical changes over three versions in the production of the short historical drama, Woman with an Editing Bench (Pearlman et al. 2016). Pearlman (2016) had written about the work that editors do to create rhythms in film and, through the use of computational techniques employed previously (Cutting et al. 2018), we found that those descriptions of the editing process had parallels in the physical changes of the film as it progressed from its first assembled form, through a fine cut, to the released film. Basically, the rhythms of the released film are not unlike the rhythms of heartbeats, breathing, and footfalls – they share the property of “fractality.” That is, as Pearlman shaped story and emotional dynamics over the successive revisions, she also (without consciously intending to do so) fashioned several dimensions of the film – shot durations, motion, luminance, chroma, and clutter – to make them more fractal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalProjections : the journal for movies and mind
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • editing
  • filmmaking
  • fractals
  • rhythm
  • Svilova
  • Vertov


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