The impact of sound technology on the distribution of shot lengths in Hollywood cinema, 1920 to 1933

Nick Redfern


The impact of sound technology on Hollywood is analysed through looking at the median shot lengths of silent films from the 1920s (n = 54) and early sound films (n = 106). The results show a large increase in the median shot lengths with the introduction of sound (Mann Whitney U = 554.0, Z = -8.33, p = <0.01, PS = 0.0968), estimated to be 2.0s (95% CI: 1.6, 2.4). The dispersion of shot lengths measured using the robust estimator Qn shows a similarly large increase in the dispersion of shot lengths with the transition to sound (Mann Whitney U = 319.0, Z = -9.18, p = <0.01, PS = 0.0557), estimated to be 2.0s (95% CI: 1.7, 2.4).


film style; statistical analysis; Hollywood; shot length distributions; sound cinema; silent cinema

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