Sergei Eisenstein edits October (1927).

Forms of montage

Eisenstein used various terms to describe the various ways he constructed his montages. He calculated and manipulated the juxtaposition of shots in a number of different ways to achieve differing effects.

In Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, Eisenstein lists five categories of montage:

  1. Rhythmic: The film is intercut based on time but using the visual composition of the shots, along with a change in the speed of the metric cuts, to explore more complex meanings than with metric montage.
  2. Metric: The editing follows a specific number of frames based on time, cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to draw out an emotional of reaction in the audience. The editor also might accelerate the meter, using shorter and shorter shots to
  3. Tonal: A tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots, going beyond manipulating the temporal or rhythmical characteristics to evoke a more complex reaction from the audience.
  4. Intellectual: The film maker combines shots to create an intellectual meaning.
  5. Overtonal/Associational: It is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect.

We will not consider overtonal montage because Eisenstein himself is vague on what it means. And as with many such theoretical categories, these are not firm nor universally accepted. Eisenstein himself used other categories, such as musical metaphors.