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Using Film Cutting Techniques in Interface Design
May, J., Dean, M. & BARNARD, P.
Human Computer Interaction, 18(4), 325-372
Year of publication:
It has been suggested that computer interfaces could be made more usable if their designers made use of cinematography techniques, which have evolved to guide the viewer through a narrative despite frequent discontinuities in the presented scene (i.e., cuts between shots). Because of differences between the domains of film and interface design, it is not straightforward to understand how such techniques can be transferred. May & Barnard (1995) argued that a psychological model of watching film could support such a transference. We present an extended account of this model, which allows us to identify the practice of collocation of objects of interest in the same screen position before and after a cut. To verify that film makers do in fact use such techniques successfully, eye movements were measured while participants watched a commercially released motion picture in its entirety, in its original theatrical format. For each of ten classes of cut, predictions were made about the use of collocation. Peaks in eye movements between 160 and 280 milliseconds after the cut were detected for six of the ten classes, and results were broadly in line with collocation predictions, with two exceptions. It is concluded that film makers do successfully use collocation when cutting in and out from a detail, following the motion of an actor or object, and in showing the result of an action. The results are used to make concrete recommendations for interface designers from the theoretical analysis of film comprehension.