One of the most difficult things to get right in film is the passage of time. How do you show a few hours passing? How do you show years?

How do you make that clear to the audience without resorting to exposition or onscreen text?

These are questions that filmmakers have been trying to answer since the dawn of cinema.

You can see some of the earliest efforts at depicting time in films from the early 1900s. In Georges Méliès’s 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune, for instance, Méliès shows the passage of time with a shot of his character, Professor Barbenfouillis, looking at his pocket watch in front of a clock on the wall.

The clock is marked with different images for each hour. As an hour passes, Méliès pans across so that a new image appears on top of each hour until we see sunrise.

The passage of time in film has a variety of ways it can be shown to an audience. It can be expressed in a number of ways, including showing the time on a clock or calendar, having characters age, or showing the change in the environment.

In real life, we experience time continuously; however, in film, the audience is not always made fully aware of the passage of time.

Instead, filmmakers choose to express it in other ways. They may use a montage where they show clips from several points in time at once to condense the action. They may also use dissolves and fades to suggest the passage of time between scenes.

What Is the passage of time

What Is the passage of time in film?

Most films (with the notable exception of experimental films) have a linear narrative structure: the story progresses chronologically, with one scene following another.

The normal way for this progression to be represented is in terms of time. This means that we are shown a series of events that takes place over a certain amount of time, and we understand what is happening as taking place at more or less the same time.

In most films, the passage of time is not shown directly, but instead is implied through editing, music and dialogue.



The passage of time — or, more specifically, its representation — is key to understanding how we see narrative unfold on-screen.

Films can portray time as a linear sequence of events that might be presented with or without ellipses (gaps between moments), flashback or flashforward (actions moving forwards and backwards in time), or even through a complete reversal of order (as seen in Christopher Nolan’s “Memento”).

In each case, it is the film’s director who determines how time will pass during the course of their narrative.

However, while directors make use of these techniques to focus our attention on certain aspects within their stories, our experience of narrative time will often be influenced by factors over which we have no control.

In some ways, film does not have a sense of time. It has a sense of space, and it has a sense of movement through space.

Time is neither here nor there, but this is not to say that filmmakers have not attempted to create an impression of time passing on film, or rather they have attempted to create an illusion of time passing.

One of the most important ways that they have attempted this is by manipulating the duration of shots (the amount of time that the camera spends on one shot). The reason for doing this has to do with our relationship with film and our perception of its flow.

In his book “Projecting Illusion: A History and Theory of Cinema Time”, Andrew Klevan speaks about how we have a tendency to underestimate the duration of shots when they are shorter than thirty seconds, while we tend to overestimate longer shots.

This phenomenon is known as “duration bias.” To illustrate how this works, he gives an example from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail” (1929), where a long shot occurs early in the film, followed by several short cuts which each depict different events.

What Is The Passage Of Time?

Character aging is another way that filmmakers express the passage of time. This can be done through makeup and prosthetics, but it is more often accomplished with computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Flashbacks and flashforwards are also frequently used to indicate changes in time. This can be done by using different color palettes or camera techniques.

The changing seasons are another way that filmmakers express the passage of time. We may see characters wearing different clothing or going about their daily lives as they would during a particular season.\

How Are Space And Time Related In Movies?

If you’ve ever watched a movie and wondered how the director got from point A to point B, then this post is for you. It’s simply called How Are Space And Time Related In Movies? and it comes from a blog called Visual Magic.

The blogger, who is a professional visual effects artist for film, claims that every time you see a scene in a movie that appears to have been shot in one continuous take, it was actually performed in multiple takes.

That means the camera is always moving between takes, which would make it impossible to get from point A to point B without cutting or editing the film.

So how do they do it? According to the blogger, they use what are called “takes” ( not to be confused with “takers,” these are different. ”)

A take is a series of related shots that are all supposed to be part of one long sequence that can be assembled together in their final form without any editing or post-production work (like CG or matte paintings),” he says.”A take is like an individual photograph out of a continuous sequence of photos.”

How Do Movies Show Passage Of Time?

How do you show time passing in a movie? Do you use dialogue, or do you just freeze the frame and keep things on the screen longer? 

What are some of the things movies can do to make it clear that time has passed?


If you’ve ever watched a film, then you’ve probably seen a cut. A cut is when the camera switches from one angle to another. 

Cuts can be used to show passage of time, although it’s not always obvious.

One thing you might not realize is that those cuts can actually be put together like pieces of a puzzle. There’s a video by Matt Grigsby (and several others) that does this really well and explains how to use it.

He uses sports footage for his examples, but the same principle applies to movies as well. In fact, in “Memento” (which is discussed below), there are parts where they follow that pattern:In “Memento,” there are three cuts back-to-back before the frame freezes in order to show passage of time.

 The first cut goes from an exterior of a building to a different exterior of the same building. The second cut goes from a shot inside of Leonard’s house to a shot inside

What Is Expansion Of Time In Film?

Expansion of time is the term used to refer to the deliberate introduction of a factor which will cause a film or piece of video to run at a slower rate than it was originally shot and/or projected.

Tape-based formats like VHS, Hi8, and Betamax are subject to speed-up effects due to physical phenomena intrinsic to tape magnetization (the magnetic particles in magnetic tape align themselves with the direction of travel of the tape) and subsequent playback (the reels physically turning in your VCR). These formats suffer from “dropout”–the phenomenon where part or all of a frame is missing in a given playback.

Dropout can be seen as brief flashes or distortions on screen. It also causes the image to jump or appear stuttery during playback. Dropout occurs due to tape deterioration, but it is exacerbated by incorrect storage, improper VCR operation, and extreme temperatures.


In order for dropout not to occur, one must compensate for expansion of time caused by dropout. This must be done within the aspect ratio of the original footage; otherwise, you would see black bars on one side or on top and bottom of the frame. 

The Montage Breaks Down The Idea Of Time In Film

“The Montage” (1924) is a classic Soviet film directed by Lev Kuleshov. The film’s ideas on editing and montage are as relevant today as they were over ninety years ago. 

The Montage is an example of how editing can change the meaning of a film. A montage is defined as “a succession of short, rapid scenes, or shots, especially arranged to create a dramatic or emotional effect” (“montage, n”). 

I would define it as the art of editing and playing with time.

The scene where the old man spends time in his house puts together three different shots of “time passing”. We see him waking up on the right side of the screen at first.

He immediately gets out of bed and sits down at his table where he eats his breakfast and reads the newspaper, while we see outside the window that it is getting darker as time goes by.

Later on, we see him leaving his house, but this time going towards the left side of the screen and carrying something in his hands that we cannot see what it is (all shot from a low angle), except for the end where he enters into some sort of shop where he sells his product. 

Other Ways To Show Passage Of Time In Film

This page is all about other ways to show passage of time in film. In most movies, you can tell the passage of time through dialogue, scene changes, or even through a character’s costume. However, there are many other ways to show time in film than these three things.

 Here are some of them: 

  • One way to show the passage of time is through camera movement and editing. The actors might be in one place, but the camera could move over to another location where the actor was at a different time.

This works especially well when used with editing. 

  • Another way to show the passage of time is through lighting changes. When it gets dark outside, it changes how light the scene looks inside. So when it gets dark inside a room, it obviously shows that night has come and gone and now it’s day again.

So if you see some characters talking in a room during the day and then see them later talking during the night, then you know that they were talking for a while because night came and went. When it comes to showing time in film, there are many ways to do it besides just three things like dialogue, scene changes, and costumes. 

There are many more ways that you can use to show time in film!

Examples Of The Passage Of Time In Films

The examples of the passage of time that you will find in films, particularly in movies from the 1970s and 1980s, are numerous. Some are deliberate, as part of the story line. 

Others are incidental, such as props in a room or make-up on an actor’s face. In either case, it is helpful to know what to look for when you watch a movie and analyze how the passage of time affects the story line.

Teddy Bears

One example is the appearance of teddy bears in the movie “The Shining.” The way they appear at different points in the movie shows how much time has passed between scenes. 

At first they are new looking and clean with bright eyes.

Later they are dirty and worn looking. If you pay close attention to the story line, you will see that there is a gap of time between scenes when you see these teddy bears that lets you know how much time has passed between scenes. This also adds to the creepiness factor when watching this movie.


Another example of the passage of time occurs in Tom Hank’s movie “Sleepless in Seattle.” There is a scene where Tom Hanks sits down on a bed next to Meg Ryan. The bed seems to be much newer than other furniture

Examples Of The Passage Of Time In Cinema

The Passage of Time is a recurring motif in cinema. It makes for some powerful elements, and can be used to show the audience many different things.

There are a lot of techniques that filmmakers use to visually show this. Here are some examples of how the passage of time has been shown in cinema.

“The Godfather”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a great example of showing the passage of time through one character’s aging as he ages over the course of 30 years. In this case, it’s Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), as he goes from being a young man all the way to an old man, played by Robert De Niro.

“The Godfather” also shows how long periods of time can pass by showing us how many events in a character’s life happen over the course of their lives. This is accomplished through flash forwards and flashbacks, which are used throughout the film and help us see how Michael Corleone got to where he was when we meet him at the beginning of “The Godfather”.

One other thing that helps with this is how long it takes for Michael Corleone and Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) to get married, which happens halfway through the movie. This isn’t just so

How To Write The Passage Of Time In A Screenplay

The passage of time is a huge part of storytelling. It’s what makes us care about the characters, their situation and the stakes they face. 

Using the correct amount of time in any given scene is a crucial skill for writers. Here are some tips to help you master it:

The passage of time is one of the most important aspects of storytelling.If you don’t time your story well, then everything will seem rushed and confusing. A good way to make sure that you cover the passage of time correctly is to break up each day into segments such as morning, afternoon and evening. This will give you a good idea of how much time has passed in your story for each day covered by your script.

  • Your character’s age and health can influence how quickly or slowly time passes for them. A young person may be able to spend all day at a party, while an old person may need to rest every hour or so; it all depends on how healthy they are and what they’re doing.
  • If you want to show that a long period of time has passed since an event happened, you can use flashbacks, flashforwards or narration (or all three). Flashbacks occur when someone remembers something that happened long ago, while flashforwards show something that will happen