Monday, 9 April 2012

The Sequential Composition : Designing in Time

Source: Motion Graphic Design : Applied History and Aesthetics 
By Jon Krasner

Chapter 8: The Sequential Composition : Designing in Time

This chapter encompassed sequential composition: forms of continuity, forms of discontinuity, and montage to explain sequential composition and elaborate into the manner in which events occur over time. This chapter dealt heavily on transitions, explain what different techniques mean, as well as defining a few rules. I found this chapter to be beneficial and would recommend anyone working with motion to read it and expand their scene-to scene techniques. 

Sequential Composition



Forms of Continuity

Spatial continuity

The viewer retains a sense where elements are when in they are in the frame, and outside the frame. 

·         Establishing context
·         Index and motion vectors
·         Frame mobility

Graphic continuity

The visual properties of line, form, value, colour, and texture.  Instead of fading, zoom into a coloured shape.

Temporal continuity

The use of time, to bring the viewer instantly to the past, present, or future. In this case a fade would be useful as we associate the fades with a shifting of time.

Action continuity

How to preserve animation continuity:
1.       Cut just before or after an action.
2.       Cut between different types of action that move in the same direction.
3.       When cutting during a camera move, continue the same motion in the following sequence.
4.       If you are panning with a moving object then continue the pan with the speed of the object.

Forms of Discontinuity

May weaken the narrative, but intensify the context.


Narrative & Non-Narrative Forms

Cinema and motion graphics


Graphic Considerations

The visual and conceptual aspects of a compositions graphical properties.

Stranger than Fiction - end titles (high quality)


Point-of-view editing enhances the narrative structure by representing the viewpoint of one or more characters.

2001: A Space Odyssey "Star Gate" sequence

Se7en (Opening Credits)

Spatial Discontinuity

Reconstructing an environment that relies partially on the imagination of the viewer.
·         Establish the viewpoint of a character
·         Intensify the overall emotional mood or impact of the concept.



Temporal Discontinuity

Deliberately create ambiguity, build tension, and intensify emotional impact. 

·         Jump cuts and flash cuts
Show an ellipsis of time, arouse tension, create disorientation
·         Parallel editing
Cross-cutting illusions the viewer o believe that different events are interwoven
·         Event duration and repetition
Differentiates onscreen events from the story screen time




Film was controlled by a rigid style of rules until the aftermath of WWI wherein surrealist and dad filmmakers juxtaposed unusual combinations of mundane images that were meant to explore the subconscious in a dream state.


Conceptual Forms

Idea-Associative Montage: juxtaposing 2 different ideas to create a third.

·         Comparison montage (similar)
·         Collision montage (opposing)


Analytical Forms

Indicates a passage of time and condense or expand time within a narrative context.

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