The days of long, languid CGI FILMS are gone, being replaced with short, snappy sequences that mirror the social media demand for disruption of the viewer’s eyeline.
Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation
In an arms race for cut-through, CGI sequences are getting shorter and faster as attention spans become even shorter still.
Those of a certain vintage will remember the epic fight scene in Rocky IV between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, still classed as the finest fight scene ever filmed and directed.
Sylvester Stallone recently went back into the editing studio to re-cut this entire scene from the movie for the modern viewer, as the original sequences from 1985 are, in his words, “just too damned slow and cumbersome for today’s world.”
We’ve witnessed the exact same shift in viewing tolerances with our recent CGI film sequences. But instead of a 35-year change in the process, we’ve seen the attention span of our viewers plummet in the last five years.
The excerpt shown here is just a small part of the opening sequence from a 2018 urban apartment scheme in Birmingham and explores how we would now look to re-cut this original sequence from 27 seconds to 8 seconds just to hold the viewers’ attention.
That’s a reduction to a third of the time, in just five years!
Basically, we’re moving from CGI film production to film trailers.
The days of long, languid shots and smooth tracking pans are gone. We’re replacing these tools with short, snappy sequences that mirror the social media (and I include LinkedIn in this) demand for disruption of the viewer’s eyeline, to cut through the vast amount of content being pumped out.
It’s an arms race. Our CGI sequences are getting shorter as attention spans become even shorter still.
How far this particular trend will extend will be interesting to see, but I believe we have a little way to go before we reach the cut off point. As long as we ease back well before we reach the realm of ‘Blipverts’ (one to three second advertising segments) or perhaps the trend will buck as we sprint towards a saturation point of the content we’re all willing to consume.
One thing is for sure though, the next stages will need to be faster and faster as we scroll quicker and quicker.