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musical technique in film?

Hi everyone,

I'm a musician with only a layman's understanding of cinema, so I hope this post doesn't seem too strange. (I did some research first, but I'm still not even sure if this question belongs in cinematography or editing or both.):huh:

There's a technique in classical music called "rubato", where the music is speeded up and slowed down just before an important moment, in order to accentuate that moment. It occured to me that the same thing could be done in film (with slow motion and fast motion), especially for action scenes. I figure it's already been done (but probably with a different name), so I'm hoping someone can tell me where (so I can see it). But on the off-chance it hasn't been done, I'm hoping someone here will be interested to try it, or can send me to someone who might be.

thanks very much,

Ethan Moore
Welcome to indietalk.

It's called over cranking (slow motion) and under cranking (fast motion), a term
from the days when the cameraman ran the film through the camera by a hand
crank. slashfilm has a nice article from June of this year on slow motion.

Off the top of my hear I can think of several fast motions scenes in movies; the
"Can't Buy Me Love" sequence in Richard Lester's "A Hard Days Night", the famous
threesome sequence in Kubricks "A Clockwork Orange", Bishop's knife trick in
Cameron's "Aliens". Monty Python uses fast motion often in their TV series and films.

Are you looking to speed up and slow down the music only, imagery only, or both together? I was a bit confused but I think rik got it.
I think the filmmaking equivalent of what you reference is something that would be more greatly influenced by editing, but would also involve the writing and direction. Basically, we're talking about pacing, no?

The storm is more powerful if we can bathe in the calm before it, no?

Think of the opening scene of Inglorious Basterds. There was so much tension. The scene moved so slowly, but the audience knew we were building up to something horrific. And then when the shit goes down, it comes in a flurry. Which tends to be the case for the entire movie.

Yes, change in pace can be a very affecting filmmaking technique, and music can be a huge part of that.
Oh my this is a̶b̶u̶s̶e̶d̶ used constantly. Every action movie I can think of in the last decade or so... and the music often coincides.

Character is charging an opponent at normal frame rate, then suddenly jumps into the air with weapon/fist over their head as the film slams to a crawl and the 120bpm soundtrack abruptly slides into a chest punch of a 50 KhZ THUUUUUUB.

Fast action fight choreography where the same shot punch to the face point of impact is slowed down to get the flabby cheek ripples and slow-mo spit spew.

Dude running from an inflamed tanker truck and then everything goes into 12 fps when the big boom sends him flying, arms and legs kicking, through the air and over the camera.

Examples are far too endless to list but obvious monsters include everything from Matrix and 300 to Suicide Squad and Jason Bourne.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Slow motion is definitely overused, but the technique I was asking about is a combination of both slow and fast motion, not just one or the other -- I wrote a short essay on it for anyone interested: http://aestheticmiscellanies.blogspot.com/
(This is in no way a promotion for my blog that no-one ever visits anyway -- I put it on there just to prove that I was the first to think of this idea, just in case I am.) :(

I hope people here will look into it -- I think it's a good idea to know about, even if it's not new.

Thanks again.
but the technique I was asking about is a combination of both slow and fast motion, not just one or the other

Yep that is exactly what I described and cited examples of. The tempo changes of film and corresponding music within a single scene. Normal slides into fast and then into slow and back into fast/slow. Also in some cases (by no means all) the speed up just prior to the slow down isn't technically frame rate but rather via fast/choppy editing. Nolan comes to mind. The intended effect is the same.

This happens constantly... and the music typically coincides. I noticed you posted this exact same post a second time. Apologies if you thought you stumbled onto something original or fresh. Just surprised you haven't been able to better detect this from an abundance of films.

If you aren't talking about harsh or obvious changes from normal/fast/slow motion - then this is done all the time as well, however the issue with film, as opposed to music, is that small changes to film speed/duration is less perceivable in the visual medium (especially when other elements of the film remain steady). In fact the unobtrusiveness of incremental increase/decrease to film is a godsend to editors that manipulate the speed of the film to fit within certain time restraints and musical tempos/cue of a given sequence virtually undetected.
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