Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“Silent film effect”

A baffling answer in today’s New York Times crossword, 32-Down, “Silent film effect”: IRISIN. Even after getting it, I was lost: was irisin a chemical used to treat film stock? No, the answer is iris-in. An explanation:

Iris: A technique used to show an image in only one small round area of the screen. An Iris-Out begins as a pinpoint and then moves outward to reveal the full scene, while an Iris-In moves inward from all sides to leave only a small image on the screen. An iris can be either a transitional device (using the image held as a point of transition) or a way of focusing attention on a specific part of a scene without reducing the scene in size.


Here is an iris-out, from Buster Keaton’s Neighbors (1920), found here. Please imagine that it is an iris-in.

comments: 3

zzi said...

and they were done "in camera"

Peggy Harrison said...

Thank goodness! I've never heard the term irisin or iris-in, and was convinced I'd done something wrong to get that answer, but couldn't figure out what. Thanks for the explanation!

Michael Leddy said...

You’re welcome. I think many solvers have been baffled by this term.