The Theory of Linear Structure
DOI link for The Theory of Linear Structure
The Theory of Linear Structure book
Linear structure applies to more than just editing. The decision about the structure of your piece—what gets placed in what order and how long it lasts—is a process that permeates all stages of production. Considerations of structure include the content relationship, the formal relationship, and the order. Previsualization in the preproduction stage is key. The overarching structure of a film or video can almost always be classified by one of the following three approaches: continuity style, montage, or a verbally driven structure. A continuity approach to making film or video is used to tell a story in a way that is logical, linear, and usually chronological. Continuity means a continuous sense of something as we move from shot to shot. It is a fluid concept that applies to editing styles, shot selection, camera placement, and consistent props and costuming. Montage is the recording and assembly of sound and image allowing freedom of movement through time and space, defiance of chronology, and the creation of meaning through juxtaposition. Sometimes called a compilation approach, the term verbally driven structure is more descriptive. This describes media pieces that deliver information, make an argument, or tell a story through the words of a narrator, the voices of interview subjects, or a combination of the two. The approach of this type of piece is logical, not visceral, but few attempts are made to maintain continuity of time and place.