His conception of the basic material of the medium grew from the belief that the single shot was the film's basic building block. This then developed or led to a much more complex conception, that of the "attraction." This latter concept is much less mechanistic than the shot, for it takes into account the activity of the viewers' mind, not simply the action of the filmmaker's will. The tension between the simple, predictable, mechanistic process of filmmaking and the complex developmental experience of film viewing emerged explicitly in Eisenstein's double view, first of film form and then of the purpose of film. Eisenstein studied mechanical engineering in the years before he entered the artistic colony of Moscow, and when he joined that colony he entered a period known as "Constructivism."
From the beginning Eisenstein considered the artistic activity to be one of "making" or, more precisely, of "building." For this reason the question of the "raw material" which the artist has at his disposal was constantly paramount in his mind.