Despite time being an essential element of any film or animation piece, it’s actually pretty easy to take for granted the way that nearly all film media manipulates the sensation of time. To better understand that nearly all film and TV does this, take the example of the TV series 24, where a 24 episode series takes place over 24 hours of time, and each episode runs for an hour, the narrative running in real time. Additionally, most continuous shots in a film will be running in real time for the duration of that shot. It is the nature of editing, cutting from one place to another, one time to another, and the removal of what is considered extraneous that gives film the ability to use, or ignore, the conventional linear passage of time and events.
Film can not only compress time into a shorter real world runtime, but extend small amounts of time to last longer. “Extended time is used to highlight an action and often times increases tension in a scene. The countdown of timer on a bomb often moves slower than real time when our action hero is struggling to diffuse it.”(Lindblom, O. 2015). The graphic element of the bomb timer in this example clues the audience in to some element of time, and rarely will the timer actually match up to the film’s running time. Sometimes this disparity is noticeable, but other times the glimpses of the timer are so brief and sparse that the intermediate time can be more flexible in terms of how it is used and extended. Within action movies a particularly complex action, such as a car flipping over, will not be shown in a linear fashion. It is far more likely that there will be multiple cuts during the action, overlapping the same ‘moment’ in time to show from multiple angles what is happening and remove the confusion from what would be a far too brief action in real time.