Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More on Silent Comedy Timing

Another great example of silent comedy slowed down to real time. Here's Ben Model working his magic on the opening factory sequence of Chaplin's Modern Times (1936). The bulk of this has been shot at 16 frames per second, so that watching it at 24 fps means that the action is 50% faster than life.

Note the pauses in the acting that Model points out that separate the movements and gestures. This is so the actions read clearly when they are sped up.

This sequence works in the finished film due to the inhuman speed that the workers must move on the assembly line. There's a sense of urgency that's not only funny but a story requirement: Chaplin's eventual nervous breakdown has to be believable.

As noted by Ben Model in the comments, here is the sequence where Chaplin has his breakdown, first at the speed at which it was shot and second as it plays in the film, 50% faster than it was shot.


Ben Model said...

I've just added another segment from Modern Times, the one in which Charlie has a mental breakdown in the factory and goes into the gears.

Don't know how to embed it here, but here are links:
click here to see part one, at 16fps
click here to see part two, at 24fps

Mark Mayerson said...

Hi Ben. Thanks for the additional sequences. I've embedded them in the main entry.