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Visualizing Vertov


The article presents visualization analysis of the films The Eleventh Year (1928) and Man with a Movie Camera (1929) by the famous Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov. One of the goals of the project is to show how various dimensions of films can be explored using special visualization techniques inspired by media and new media art, as well as the basic principle of cinema itself - editing (i.e., selecting and arranging together media elements).

In some cases, we use digital image processing software to measure visual properties of every film frame, and then plot these measurements along with the selected frames. (For example, this approach allows us to visualize the amounts of movement in every shot in a film.)

In other cases, we don’t measure or count anything. Instead, we arrange the sampled frames from a film in a single high-resolution visualizations in particular layouts. (For example, we can represent a feature film as a grid of frames - one frame for every shot.)

This use of visualization without measurements, counting, or adding annotations is the crucial aspect of my lab’s approach for working with media collections. We hope that it can add to other approaches already used in quantitative film studies and digital humanities.

Article  2013