In filmmaking, a long take is a shot lasting much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general. Significant camera movement and elaborate blocking are often elements in long takes, but not necessarily so. The term "long take" should not be confused with the term "long shot", which refers to the distance between the camera and its subject and not to the temporal length of the shot itself. The length of a long take was originally limited to how much film a motion picture camera could hold, but the advent of digital video has considerably lengthened the maximum potential length of a take.
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition. Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques. Typically, it involves a large number of people, and can take from a few months to several years to complete.
In photography, filmmaking and video production, a long shot typically shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings. These are typically shot now using wide-angle lenses. However, due to sheer distance, establishing shots and extremely wide shots can use almost any camera type.
Digital video is an electronic representation of moving visual images (video) in the form of encoded digital data. This is in contrast to analog video, which represents moving visual images with analog signals. Digital video comprises a series of digital images displayed in rapid succession.
When filming Rope (1948), Alfred Hitchcock intended for the film to have the effect of one long continuous take, but the cameras available could hold no more than 1000 feet of 35 mm film. As a result, each take used up to a whole roll of film and lasts up to 10 minutes. Many takes end with a dolly shot to a featureless surface (such as the back of a character's jacket), with the following take beginning at the same point by zooming out. The entire film consists of only 11 shots.
Rope is a 1948 American psychological crime thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1929 play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton. The film was adapted by Hume Cronyn with a screenplay by Arthur Laurents.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).
Andy Warhol and collaborating avant-garde filmmaker, Jonas Mekas, shot the 485-minute-long experimental film, Empire (1964), on 10 rolls of film using an Auricon camera via 16mm film which allowed longer takes than its 35 mm counterpart. "The camera took a 1,200ft roll of film that would shoot for roughly 33 minutes."
Andy Warhol was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell's Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental film Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67).
The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.
Jonas Mekas was a Lithuanian American filmmaker, poet, and artist who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema". His work has been exhibited in museums and at festivals worldwide.
A handful of theatrically released feature films, such as Timecode (2000), Russian Ark (2002), PVC-1 (2007), and Victoria (2015) are filmed in one single take; others are composed entirely from a series of long takes, while many more may be well known for one or two specific long takes within otherwise more conventionally edited films. In 2012, the art collective The Hut Project produced The Look of Performance, a digital film shot in a single 360° take lasting 3 hours, 33 minutes and 8 seconds. The film was shot at 50 frames per second, meaning the final exhibited work lasts 7 hours, 6 minutes and 17 seconds.
Russian Ark is a 2002 experimental historical drama film directed by Alexander Sokurov. It was filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum on 23 December 2001 using a one-take single 96-minute Steadicam sequence shot. The film was entered into the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
PVC-1 is a 2007 Colombian drama film directed by Spiros Stathoulopoulos. The plot was inspired by a true story about a pipe bomb improvised explosive device (IED) that was placed around the neck of an extortion victim. The name came from the PVC pipes used for the explosive device. This directorial debut premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007 as an official selection of the Directors' Fortnight. The 84-minute film was shot in one single continuous take without cuts using a Glidecam Smooth Shooter and a Glidecam 2000 Pro camera stabilization system. The film won numerous awards at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival.
Victoria is a 2015 German crime thriller film directed by Sebastian Schipper and starring Laia Costa and Frederick Lau. It is one of the few feature films shot in a single continuous take.
The police procedural series The Bill used long takes to achieve a documentary style effect.Other examples include The X-Files episode "Triangle" (season 6, episode 3), directed (and written) by the series creator Chris Carter. The technique is also frequently used in ER , which fits with the show's use of Steadicam for the majority of shots. An episode "The Inheritance / C.I.D. 111" of the Indian suspense drama C.I.D. , broadcast on 7 November 2004, is a 111-minute-long single take. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest single shot for TV.
The Bill is a British police procedural television series, first broadcast on ITV from 16 October 1984 until 31 August 2010. The programme originated from a one-off drama, Woodentop, broadcast in August 1983.
The X-Files is an American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter. The original television series aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox. The program spanned nine seasons, with 202 episodes. A short tenth season consisting of six episodes premiered on January 24, 2016, and concluded on February 22, 2016. Following the ratings success of this revival, Fox announced in April 2017 that The X-Files would be returning for an eleventh season of ten episodes. The season premiered on January 3, 2018, concluding on March 21, 2018. In addition to the television series, two feature films have been released: The 1998 film The X-Files, which took place as part of the TV series continuity, and the stand-alone film The X-Files: I Want to Believe, released in 2008, six years after the original television run had ended.
"Triangle" is the third episode of the sixth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on November 22, 1998. Written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, "Triangle" is a "Monster-of-the-Week" episode, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the overarching mythology of The X-Files. "Triangle" earned a Nielsen household rating of 10.8, being watched by 18.20 million viewers in its initial broadcast. The episode generally received positive reviews with many critics commenting on the episode's directing style.
Another example from television can be seen in the first season of HBO's True Detective . In episode four, "Seeing Things", protagonist Detective Rustin Cohle (portrayed by Matthew McConaughey) is undercover as part of a biker gang who have decided to brazenly rob a drug den located in a dangerous neighborhood. The shot begins with the bikers arriving to the drug den with McConaughey's character reluctantly in tow. The six-minute shot moves in and out of various residences, through several blocks and over a fence while shots are fired by shouting gangsters, bikers and police as they arrive on the scene. McConaughey at first assists the biker gang, then turns on them to abduct the leader, dragging him along for more than half of the continuous shot.Director Cary Fukunaga commented to The Guardian, "We required the involvement of every single department, like a live theatre show. We had make-up artists hiding in houses so they could dash out and put make-up on [Cohle's hostage] Ginger's head. We panned away for a second to do that. We also had ADs peppered around the neighborhood with extras who had specific things to yell and specific places to run. We had stunt guys coordinating with stunt drivers to pull up at the right time, special-effects guys outside throwing foam bricks and firing live rounds."
HBO is an American premium cable and satellite television network owned by AT&T's WarnerMedia. The programming featured on the network consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures and original television shows, along with made-for-cable movies, documentaries and occasional comedy and concert specials.
True Detective is an American anthology crime drama television series created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. The series, broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States, premiered on January 12, 2014. Each season of the series is structured as a disparate, self-contained narrative, employing new cast ensembles, and following various sets of characters and settings.
Rustin Spencer "Rust" Cohle is a fictional character in the first season of the anthology crime drama television series True Detective on HBO. He was created by series creator Nic Pizzolatto and is portrayed by Matthew McConaughey. Cohle works as a detective for the Louisiana State Homicide Unit, alongside his partner Martin "Marty" Hart. The season follows Cohle and Hart's hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana, across 17 years.
The John Wick series of films are known for their long take fight scenes. This was due to the budgetary constraints of using only a single high-end camera for all the filming, and required close choreography with the various extras involved in the fights, having to run behind the camera after being one of the first fallen attackers as to come in again as a new attacker.
A sequence shot is a long take that constitutes an entire scene. Such a shot may involve sophisticated camera movement. It is sometimes called by the French term plan-séquence. The use of the sequence shot allows for realistic or dramatically significant background and middle ground activity. Actors range about the set transacting their business while the camera shifts focus from one plane of depth to another and back again. Significant off-frame action is often followed with a moving camera, characteristically through a series of pans within a single continuous shot. An example of this is the first scene in the jury room of 12 Angry Men , where the jurors are getting settled into the room.
Another notable example occurs near the beginning of Antonioni's The Passenger, when Jack Nicholson exchanges passport photos while the audience hears a tape recording of an earlier conversation with a now dead man, and then the camera pans (no cut) to that earlier scene.
Another example is the famous "Copacabana shot" featured in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990), in which Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) takes his girlfriend to a nightclub passing through the kitchen.
Films can be quantitatively analyzed using the "ASL" ( average shot length ), a statistical measurement which divides the total length of the film by the number of shots. For example, Béla Tarr's film Werckmeister Harmonies is 149 minutes, and made up of 39 shots.Thus its ASL is 229.2 seconds.
The ASL is a relatively recent measure, devised by film scholar Barry Salt in the 1970s as a method of statistically analyzing the editing patterns both of individual films and of groups of films (for example, of the films made by a particular director or made in a particular period). Film scholars who have made use of ASL in their work include David Bordwell and Yuri Tsivian. Tsivian used the ASL as a tool for his analysis of D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (ASL 5.9 seconds) in a 2005 article.Tsivian also helped launch a website called Cinemetrics, where visitors can measure, record, and read ASL statistics.
A "one-shot feature film" (also called "continuous shot feature film") is a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera, or manufactured to give the impression that it was. Given the extreme difficulty of the exercise and the technical requirements for a long lasting continuous shot, such full feature films have only been possible since the advent of digital movie cameras.
New Wave is a French film movement which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a form of European art cinema, and is often referred to as one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. New Wave filmmakers were linked by their rejection of the traditional film conventions then dominating France, and by a spirit of iconoclasm. Common features of the New Wave included radical experimentation with editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era.
Late Spring is a 1949 Japanese drama film, directed by Yasujirō Ozu and produced by the Shochiku studio. It is based on the short novel Father and Daughter by the 20th-century novelist and critic Kazuo Hirotsu, and was adapted for the screen by Ozu and his frequent collaborator, screenwriter Kogo Noda. The film was written and shot during the Allied Powers' Occupation of Japan and was subject to the Occupation's official censorship requirements. It stars Chishū Ryū, who was featured in almost all of the director’s films, and Setsuko Hara, marking her first of six appearances in Ozu’s work. It is the first installment of Ozu’s so-called “Noriko trilogy”—the others are Early Summer and Tokyo Story —in each of which Hara portrays a young woman named Noriko, though the three Norikos are distinct, unrelated characters, linked primarily by their status as single women in postwar Japan.
In filmmaking and video production, a shot is a series of frames that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. Film shots are an essential aspect of a movie where angles, transitions and cuts are used to further express emotion, ideas and movement. The term "shot" can refer to two different parts of the filmmaking process:
An axial cut is a type of jump cut, where the camera suddenly moves closer to or further away from its subject, along an invisible line drawn straight between the camera and the subject. While a plain jump cut typically involves a temporal discontinuity, an axial cut is a way of maintaining the illusion of continuity. Axial cuts are used rarely in contemporary cinema, but were fairly common in the cinema of the 1910s and 1920s.
Deep focus is a photographic and cinematographic technique using a large depth of field. Depth of field is the front-to-back range of focus in an image — that is, how much of it appears sharp and clear. In deep focus the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus.
Gertrud is a 1964 Danish drama film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, based on the 1906 play of the same name by Hjalmar Söderberg. The title role of Gertrud Kanning is played by Nina Pens Rode, with Bendt Rothe as her husband, Gustav Kanning, and Baard Owe as her lover, Erland Jansson.
French impressionist cinema refers to a group of French films and filmmakers of the 1920s.
Shaky camera, shaky cam, jerky camera, queasy cam, run-and-gun or free camera is a cinematographic technique where stable-image techniques are purposely dispensed with. It is a hand-held camera, or given the appearance of being hand-held, and in many cases shots are limited to what one photographer could have accomplished with one camera. Shaky cam is often employed to give a film sequence an ad hoc, electronic news-gathering, or documentary film feel. It suggests unprepared, unrehearsed filming of reality, and can provide a sense of dynamics, immersion, instability or nervousness. The technique can be used to give a pseudo-documentary or cinéma vérité appearance to a film.
Senses of Cinema is a quarterly online film magazine founded in 1999 by filmmaker Bill Mousoulis. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Senses of Cinema publishes work by film critics from all over the world, including critical essays, career overviews of the works of key directors, and coverage of many international festivals.
In Public is a short documentary film directed by Jia Zhangke, a Chinese cinema "Sixth Generation" movement filmmaker. In Public was shot on digital video for the 2001 Jeonju International Film Festival.
Cary Joji Fukunaga is an American film and television director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer.
Ben Russell is an American experimental filmmaker. Russell developed his reputation over the numerous shorts he made throughout the 2000s, many as part of his "Trypps" series, and as the curator of the Magic Lantern Cinema in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2009, he made his acclaimed feature debut, Let Each One Go Where He May, shot in Suriname in a series of 13 long takes accomplished with a Steadicam.
Film editor Zach Staenberg states "what makes a movie is the editing". It was not until the invention of editing that film and cinema was allowed to take off. Film is the product of editing, so it is not something that goes unnoticed. Editing has gone through different stages and has now reached a technique called post-classical editing. It is a style of editing characterized by shorter shot lengths, faster cuts between shots, and containing more jump shots and close-ups than classical editing characteristic of films prior to the 1960s.
Bond 25 is an upcoming spy film and the 25th installment in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal Pictures. The film features Daniel Craig in his fifth performance as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Z. Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on an early draft by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The film is scheduled for theatrical release in the United Kingdom on 3 April 2020.
Beasts of No Nation is a 2015 American war drama film written, co-produced and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who acted as his own cinematographer, about a young boy who becomes a child soldier as his country goes through a horrific war. Shot in Ghana and starring Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, Ama K. Abebrese, Grace Nortey, David Dontoh, and Opeyemi Fagbohungbe, the film is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala ― the book itself being named after a Fela Kuti album.
"The Long Bright Dark" is the series premiere of the anthology crime drama True Detective, which initially aired on HBO in the United States on January 12, 2014. It was directed by executive producer Cary Joji Fukunaga and written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto. The episode introduces a pair of Louisiana State Police homicide detectives, Rustin "Rust" Cohle and Martin "Marty" Hart, as well as series regulars played by Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles. In "The Long Bright Dark", Martin and Rustin are forced to recount the history of the Dora Lange murder investigation as new evidence suggests the perpetrator remains at large.
The first season of True Detective, an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto, premiered on January 12, 2014, on the premium cable network HBO. The principal cast consisted of Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles. The season had eight episodes, and its initial airing concluded on March 9, 2014. As an anthology, each True Detective season has its own self-contained story, following a disparate set of characters in various settings.
A one-shot or continuous shot feature film is a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera, or manufactured to give the impression it was.