See the moving picture


Contiguous Spaces and Spatial Coherence

Desperate Poaching Affray

William Haggar, Haggar and Sons, Great Britain, 1903

Shot 4 can be divided into three “images” ([4-1],[4-2],[4-3]) unified by a single camera setup: the poachers enter lower left (4-1), run diagonally toward the upper right (4-2), and (pausing to fire at their pursuers) continue along the S-shaped road that gives contour to the diagonal which dictates movement in the frame (4-3). The direct cut between Shot 4 and Shot 5 (which contains 5 “images”) establishes a spatial continuity between (4-3) and (5-1), the latter showing a poacher entering the frame from the upper right and running down left into the pond (5-2), where he grapples with one of the pursuers (5-3). The action contained within the shot continues in (5-4) and (5-5) until we cut to the single image in Shot 6 (6-1), which, though shifting us to a nearby area of action, does not violate our sense of where one area lies in relation to another. Exactly the same thing can be said of the cut from Shot 6 to Shot 7 (7-1). Sometimes, in other words, the film depends on direct cuts between shots to reinforce the spectator’s sense of contiguous spaces and spatial coherence, while depending at other times upon patterns of movement within shots to overcome any potential confusion about spatial coherence.

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