Did the HBO documentary "Captivated" seal Pamula Smart's fate and was it deliberate? One of the most famous experiments on the impact of editing was conducted during the Twenties by Russian director Lev Kuleshov. A neutral image of actor Ivan Mozhukin was alternated with shots of a bowl of soup, an elderly woman lying in a coffin, and a little girl playing with a teddy bear. The audience was moved by the actor's hunger when looking at the bowl of soup, his sorrow at the death of his mother, his pleasure watching his daughter play. V.I. Pudovkin described the reaction: "The public raved about the acting of the artist, . . . the heavy pensiveness of his mood, . . . the deep sorrow, . . . the light happy smile. . . . But in all three cases the face was exactly the same" (Pryluch, Teddlie & Sands). This illustrates, asserts Armer, "an audience's ability to project their own thoughts or emotions into what they watch"
Jamieson and Campbell believe audiences are aware that manipulation is possible through editing, but that awareness is rarely conscious. This is because many editing techniques have assumed certain standard meanings: "Slow motion footage is considered tender, even romantic; jumpy images are considered dramatic; extreme close-ups are considered intense and dramatic" . Audiences respond to these meanings without really thinking about them. Agnew and O'Brien offer other examples: "When many fairly brief shots are used, a feeling of excitement and tension tends to be created, and, at the other extreme, a long, unbroken shot may be helpful if a leisurely and restful atmosphere is wanted"