Left–Right Position in Moving Images: An Analysis of Face Orientation, Face Position, and Movement Direction in Eight Action Films

in Art & Perception
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There are compositional biases in works of art that have been documented in static images. This study extends the analysis to moving pictures. We examined eight films by four different directors (Ford, Leone, Kurosawa, Chahine), each with a male actor in the major role. These directors are also from different countries (USA, Italy, Japan, Egypt). The analysis focused on three compositional aspects: a) the orientation of the face of the actor (which cheek was visible), b) the position of the face within the image (positioned either to the left of the screen showing the left or right cheek or to the right of the screen showing the left or right cheek), and c) the movement of the actor within the scene (moving to the left or to the right). Unlike in paintings there is no evidence that the left cheek was visible more often than the right. However, we confirmed that position and facing direction are related, i.e. the actor tends to face toward the centre of the screen. With respect to the analyses of movement, there was a greater frequency of movements from left to right, and this may explain the lower than expected frequency of the left cheek. Interestingly, we found a cultural trend in that the pattern of results from Western directors did not extend to the films by Chahine, which may be influenced by reading direction.

Left–Right Position in Moving Images: An Analysis of Face Orientation, Face Position, and Movement Direction in Eight Action Films

in Art & Perception

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Figures

  • View in gallery

    Posters for the films used in the analyses. Each column is for a different Director/Actor pair. From left to right: Leone/ Eastwood (Fistful of Dollars; The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), Ford/ Wayne (The Searchers; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), Chahine/ Sharif (Struggle in the Valley; Struggle in the Pier), Kurosawa/ Mifune (Sanjûrô; Yojimbo). This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Examples of face orientation and body position (from Yojimbo, 1961). The red (grey in print) line represents the midline of the screen used to demarcate left and right. The first image shows Mifune on the left of the screen (Position), showing the right side of the face (Orientation). The second image shows Mifune on the right of the screen, showing the left side of the face. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Analysis of Orientation of the face. The left panel shows the count of the number of events of each type (left cheek visible or right cheek visible). The right panel shows the average duration of the two events. Error bars are 95% CI. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Analysis of Position and Orientation of the actor’s face. The left panel shows the count of the number of events of each type (LL, LR, RL, RR and none of the above). The right panel shows the average duration of the events. Error bars are 95% CI. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Analysis of Position and Orientation of the actor’s face, collapsed to show just the Position. The left panel shows the count of the number of events of each type (left is the combination of LL, LR, right is the combination of RL, RR). The right panel shows the average duration of the events. Error bars are 95% CI. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Data from the analysis of Position and Orientation of the actor’s face, collapsed to show just the Orientation of the face (presenting the left cheek, or presenting the right cheek). The left panel shows the count of the number of events of each type (left is the combination of LL, RL, right is the combination of LR, RR). The right panel shows the average duration of the events. Error bars are 95% CI. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

  • View in gallery

    Analysis of Movement. The left panel shows the count of the number of events of each type (motion to the left and motion to the right). The right panel shows the average duration of the events. Error bars are 95% CI. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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