I am very happy about our new very interesting research connection: Dr. André Weinreich, Head of Research & Science from emolyzr (DE) is joining our Movie Pulse research group. He is a psychologist and dedicated researcher of emotions. His particular interest to join is the supposed ability to find emotionial patterns in peoples reactions, while watching movies – with the help of our app. This would be a breakthrough, because the app frees the research process from the need of a lab (within the limits of data which can beachieved with a wearable, of course). You can find more about their very sophisticated approach if you watch the videos of this company, which has been founded by the Humboldt University, Berlin.
Although some more data is waiting to be analyzed – we will now have our holiday break. Enjoy your days of lazyness or activity…
We will continue to analyze already recorded data, as well as we will run new screenings. I am especially keen to see the results of “Awakenings” 1990 by Penny Marshall – one of the most emotionial movies I’ve ever seen.
There are some serious attempts to deal with the fact that pace in movies has some impact of how a movie succeeds, in dramaturgical terms. I’d like to introduce an article by Mike Baxter, Daria Khitrova, Yuri Tsivian: „A Numerate Film History? Cinemetrics Looks at Griffith, Griffith Looks at Cinemetrics“. Yuri Tsivian and his colleagues found a very old proof that the topic I am devoted to – Movie Pulse – has been in discussion already 90 years ago. The mentioned article of the people above is dedicated to find similarities and points of contact for their own work: cinemetrics.lv, a database for analyzing the montage of movies.
But as Yuri Tsivian introduced me the little-known essay “Pace in the Movies” by David Wark Griffith, published in The Liberty Magazine in 1926, I could hardly believe what I am seeing and reading: A woman trying to get her average heart beat while watching a movie, captioned: „Fans will find it fascinating to measure their pulse beats with the pacing of motion pictures.“ Baxter, Khitrova and Tsivian even considered it might be a hoax or at least an essay from a pretender, but no. It’s written by David W. Griffith.
Griffith explains the relation of the heart beat and pace, which he refers to as „the ebb and flow of pleasurable tides of excitement, the rhythmical movement of events toward the ecstatic consummation of romantic and adventurous dreams“. He makes several attempts to explain the formal movie structure of sequential images and their narrative structure in sequences, scenes and shots to make the readers aware of the need and use of different pace. And he does not only focusses on various climax’ and increase only; he refers to slow down and retardation as well.
At the end of the essay he encourages the readers to make a self-experiment to measure their own pulse while watching certain scenes in a movie. „You will find that it is, for the very good reason that the whole science of pace in the drama is founded upon your pulse.“ Well said (in 1926). Although today I strongly disagree to do it at the second screening – you can do it instantly with Movie Pulse and a Apple Watch. Just press „start“ at the studio fanfare.
Here comes a first result to compare the heart rate of two different people watching the same movie. Both persons have seen the movie in different locations and at different times (Person 1 & 2).
At first I put graph one onto the other – regardless of the absolute heart rate, which resulted in a centered position in y, which is the pulse (Person 1 +2 Overlay). Because of the visual confusing outcome I decided to identify similarities via simple color multiplication (Similarities [Overlapping]).
This is my theory what this result can tell: In those regions which have overlapping color (red + red or green + green) both persons have had the same kind of pulse: either above the trend line (red) or below (green). This means both persons have been emotionally touched in the same manner. So the bars in grey depict those time frames, where both individuals have been responded similar – although they have seen the movie in different locations and at different day time (and of course at different dates).
Person 1 fails keeping attention after 30 minutes – it’s me, folks and this is why: I went to the cinema in the afternoon, when I usually have my energy drop.
Developing such thing as Movie Pulse came to my mind quite early this year. And just before summer I registered the app and domain. The purpose of the app has always been very clear, straight forward: watch a movie, record your heart rate, store the movie along with a descriptive visualization of what happened to you in terms of positive stress.
And of course this came to mind of other scientists – one example is this work analyzing 50 male students watching “The Silence of the Lambs” see page 35 ff., Induction of emotional arousal in laboratory experiments by Michael Myrtek in “Heart and Emotion: Ambulatory Monitoring Studies in Everyday Life”.
But this would be different: a small everyday device will be the companion and do the work.