English: Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Dieg...

English: Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Film School – The Long Take

The long take, or the “oner”, is a filming technique that is used carefully, by master filmmakers. In many cases, the camera follows a character or object, as it travels from one spot to another. Sometimes, the camera follows one character, then shifts to a different character, mid shot, and follows the new character. It is a familiar technique, for those people who have gone to film school, where they study the works of Alfred Hitchcock, and Steven Spielberg.

It somehow gets the audience more engaged and they pay close attention, in anticipation of what will be revealed, as the character moves about. Isn’t that what going to the movies, is all about?

The purpose of the long take is very subjective. But, in my humble opinion, it takes the audience on a ride, like they are part of the action. It somehow gets the audience more engaged, and they pay close attention, in anticipation of what will be revealed, as the character moves about. Isn’t that what going to the movies, is all about?

According to Wikipedia: long take or oner is an uninterrupted shot in a film which lasts much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general, usually lasting several minutes. Long takes are often accomplished through the use of a dolly shot or Steadicam shot. Long takes of a sequence filmed in one shot without any editing are rare in films.[1]

Poetics of Cinema

Bringing together twenty-five years of work on what he has called the “historical poetics of cinema,” David Bordwell presents an extended analysis of a key question for film studies: how are films made, in particular historical contexts, in order to achieve certain effects? For Bordwell, films are made things, existing within historical contexts, and aim to create determinate effects. Beginning with this central thesis, Bordwell works out a full understanding of how films channel and recast cultural influences for their cinematic purposes. With more than five hundred film stills, Poetics of Cinema is a must-have for any student of cinema.

Rope – by Alfred Hitchcock

Do yourself a favor, and rent this film, right now. Watch it for fun, the first time, then watch it again, and take notes!


The Steadycam

The tool, of choice, to perform the long take.