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What does Steven Spielberg’s average recording length say about his films?

Steven Spielberg, master of audience loyalty.

Look, I don’t think I need to list Steven Spielberg’s accomplishments here to convince you he’s one of the greatest directors of all time. The guy knows how to get a movie to the top of the box office and get people to show up. Spielberg understands more than anything how to get audiences to engage with a film.

Often referred to as a manipulator of emotions, Spielberg always painted with a subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle brush.

Spielberg’s recording length has now been scrutinized. How do his films differ in their recording length and what does that say about Spielberg and his audience engagement?

A recent tweet from Vashi Nedomansky went into the details of Spielberg’s recording length in some of his films. Other directors were mentioned in the tweet, and we’ll be looking at each director individually, but this article is obviously focused on Spielberg.

So after looking at this tweet, let’s focus on Spielberg and Take a look at Spielberg’s selection of recording length based on each of the films analyzed.


Recognition: Vashi Nedomansky

As you can see, these recording lengths vary depending on the tone, genre, and even length of the movie as a whole. His action adventures seem on average almost five seconds shorter than his weighty dramas.

When Spielberg deals with a serious topic like the Holocaust or the Pentagon Papers, one can safely say that he does not feel the need to cut frenetically, but rather to let emotions linger. He even does the same for a weighty subject like The soldier James Ryanwhich you might think is cut like an action film but instead lingers in the human emotions and losses during the mission.

The films in the middle are the most interesting for me. Pine, war of the worlds, and Jurassic Park– all of which actually have stories that combine fast and exciting scenes with conversation scenes or talking heads. The longer the takes, the more we see the talking heads with less and less action, except in quick bursts, which can help shorten the length of the shot.

Again, The soldier James Ryan could be the outlier here, but I think the tone changes the story.

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments.

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