Temporal and spatial order

Audience cognitive construction of time, space and causality through the compilation of two parts at the time.

Temporal order
In the figure above, the temporal situation AB1 in the story is created by imagining a particular relationship between the duration of two onscreen spaces, A and B resulting in such story relationships as temporal continuity, ellipsis, overlap, simultaneity, reversal or distortion.

  • AB1 is represented as continuous
  • AB2 is represented as an ellipsis (spectator must fill in the gap mentally); if completed by a new screen event, it is a flashforward
  • AB3 represents the time of A continuing into B with an initial overlap
  • AB4 represents a complete overlap, a simultaneous time
  • AB5 represents an overlap with the time of A but with an initial brief jump back in time; retrospective or retroactive story time
  • AB6 represents time prior to A, a past time or flashback
  • AB7 and AB8 represent temporal distortions. The time relative to A is radically altered, compressed (fast motion) and expanded (slow motion)

Spatial order
In the figure above, the spatial situation AB1 in the story will be created from a space assumed to include merely a background and a foreground. The temporal change will be made assuming that it will be only effected through the editing of shots. The result of these assumptions is that:

  • AB1, AB3 and AB4 represent a new space which either adjoins, overlap, or repeats an old space so as to compose a chain of spaces


  • Acousmatic mechanisms and character glances allow spatio-temporal identification to the fullest
    Editing and particularly its tempo make fluctuate the ease of spatial ad temporal orientation to the audience

Related inductor effect: Editing; sound design; Tempo and cutting rate; Character glance

(Branigan, 1992)

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