How Single-Take Shots Invaded Franchises
June 7, 2018 8:17 PM   Subscribe

seamless one-shot sequences are starting to appear in movies like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Last Jedi.’ And, of course, it turns out that they aren't seamless at all: they just look that way.

The epitome of seamless shots is Hitchcock's movie "Rope." Here's a technical article about how the director did it: Hidden Cuts in Rope
posted by MovableBookLady (73 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
So. I'm interested and impressed by the how-to of these scenes that get to be called "oners" because of clever cutting in editing. But it irritates me because the scenes get talked about as though they are single-shot, and they aren't. Even Hitchcock, which has been lauded for decades, is a fake, claiming mastery when it wasn't there. I have no problem with what they're actually doing, and am impressed with the outcome, but don't call it a single-shot when it very definitely isn't. Grr.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:31 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


me, banging fists on table, shouting like a toddler: GOODFEL-
article: yes, shush
posted by poffin boffin at 8:36 PM on June 7 [20 favorites]


An article about long takes and no mention of Russian Ark?
posted by lagomorphius at 8:36 PM on June 7 [29 favorites]


The epitome of seamless shots is Hitchcock's movie "Rope."

I grant that Hitchcock did a pretty impressive job overcoming the technical limitations of 1948, but I didn’t see Rope for the first time until ten or fifteen years ago, and to a 21st century eye, it is pretty... seamful.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:49 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Wikipedia list of one-shot films. There's actually more than I realized - I thought Russian Ark and the German crime heist film Victoria(which is a really really good movie in its own right!) were the only ones. Seems like it's more of a recent phenomenon with just a handful from the 80s to 2013, then a whole bunch over the past 5 yrs.
posted by mannequito at 8:54 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


My rule as a viewer is, if something large and dark gets in the way, that’s a cut.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:54 PM on June 7 [28 favorites]


HDR is to photography as long uninterrupted takes are to film.
I blame Alfonso Cuarón for using this once novel technique to brilliant effect in Children of Men (2006.)
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:02 PM on June 7 [23 favorites]


Normally I don't notice ambitious oners (or fake oners) at all, but it annoyed me so much in Birdman, both because it's not a real-time movie and also because so many of the non-cut cuts were so obvious. Just fucking cut it. Your filmmaker pretensions have made the movie worse and it would've been better if you just cut it.

Can we go back to crazy wipes being the fad? I liked that more.
posted by ckape at 9:03 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


I blame digital photography. I bet it's way easier to do long takes when you just need hard drives and not actual miles of film.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:10 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


No mention of In Bruges? Alas.
posted by praemunire at 9:17 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


...Also, while I wouldn't hold up Spectre as some great cinematic achievement, I don't think it's right to say that the one-shot serves no narrative purpose. It really gives you a visceral sense of being caught up in this odd, slow-moving organism that is the crowd in the streets, trying to slip away from it, only to get dragged back in as the actual fight breaks out.
posted by praemunire at 9:20 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Neat article.

The hidden cuts in Black Panther made me snicker a bit, but they worked pretty darn well -- using the natural shocks in a fight scene is a great opportunity for this -- and if you're going to have a $200 million budget anyway, you might as well use it.

I liked Birdman, less ironically, because I thought the one-shots (and fakes) really meshed well with the relentlessness of the drum score. I don't think one would work without the other.
posted by rokusan at 9:20 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


The astounding thing about Children Of Men is how far they went to film that car sequence. There were slide-away parts to the car, actors doing choreographed ducking underneath moving camera cranes, so very delicately timed.... For me, it's one of those things that brings back the wonder of cinema in the 80s with all the special effects being done in camera at the time.
posted by hippybear at 9:21 PM on June 7 [26 favorites]


I was sort of surprised that this article was more “Here’s what long takes are” as opposed to “Here’s how long takes have changed in the era of digital filmmaking.”

I was very surprised that an article about long takes didn’t mention Timecode, indisputably the platonic ideal of long takes.

I was less surprised that the article didn’t mention Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, which was a masterful use of long takes but was also a movie that people would rather not reminisce about.
posted by ejs at 9:28 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


I blame Alfonso Cuarón for using this once novel technique to brilliant effect in Children of Men yt (2006.)

Fincher had him beat by almost 5 years.
posted by dobbs at 9:30 PM on June 7


Looks like AMC's lawyers have successfully wiped the Better Call Saul s02e08 four minute single-take shot from YouTube, but you can get the idea from the VFX breakdown. As mentioned in that video's description, it's an homage to the opening of Orson Welles' Touch of Evil.
posted by AFABulous at 9:33 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I blame digital photography. I bet it's way easier to do long takes when you just need hard drives and not actual miles of film.

Also way cheaper. It allows films with tiny budgets like Kaili Blues to include really beautiful long takes:
...These relationships are dramatized, if not explained, during the course of a remarkable forty-one-minute single take, covering several miles and much of Dangmai. (In interviews, Bi has maintained that he developed the facility for extended sequence shots in his capacity as a maker of wedding videos.) Traveling first in a truck and then on the back of Weiwei’s motorbike, Chen rides through the countryside and into the town.

There, he dismounts and goes to a tailor shop and to get a haircut. Meanwhile, Weiwei continues over the bridge, doubling back across the river even as the camera picks up and follows other characters, including the young woman who darns Chen’s shirt. She crosses the river ostensibly to purchase a child’s pinwheel but really for no other reason than to give Bi’s camera an excuse to circle around and cross back. This amazingly coordinated sequence ends with a listless crowd watching the band that gave Chen his initial ride. The scene, which is filled with musical analogies, ends with Chen joining the band to sing a song despite the fact that he can’t carry a tune.
posted by edeezy at 9:35 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


It doesn’t bother me at all if the “oner” is “fake”. Film is fake! I was just at a photography exhibit of nineteenth century landscapes of Yosemite at The Milwaukee Art Museum, and the most fascinating part was how the photographers like Eadward Muybridge, cut down trees and whitewashed mountain walls to get a better shot. And then he patched in clouds because the chemical processes of the time could not capture detail in both the sky and land at once. Film has always been “fake” and the better for it. Give me blockbuster imagination over dogme95 pretension any day. If the single take moves me I don’t care how many cuts they hid in the motion blur
posted by dis_integration at 9:36 PM on June 7 [31 favorites]


But it irritates me because the scenes get talked about as though they are single-shot, and they aren't. Even Hitchcock,

at what point do we step back and remind ourselves that the average human doesn't really care about the "how" of motion picture art? They just hope to get taken away somewhere.

To my mind, when I notice something amazing happening on the technical front, it's a failure of craft -- a deflecting of my attention from the drama-comedy-thriller-whatever at hand to the strings being pulled. Like a metal guitarist shredding for shredding's sake.

but it annoyed me so much in Birdman, both because it's not a real-time movie and also because so many of the non-cut cuts were so obvious. Just fucking cut it. Your filmmaker pretensions have made the movie worse and it would've been better if you just cut it.

Can we go back to crazy wipes being the fad? I liked that more.


yeah, I guess.
posted by philip-random at 9:45 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


a deflecting of my attention from the drama-comedy-thriller-whatever at hand to the strings being pulled.

the obvious counter to this is Godard, meta stuff in general. To which I humbly bow.

How Single-Take Shots Invaded Franchises

but this is not that.



or is it?
posted by philip-random at 9:46 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


A couple recent animated examples:
The Adventures of Tintin
Houseki no Kuni
posted by one for the books at 9:49 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


In case people are looking for more examples that have nice long cuts: Elephant, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Sátántangó, The Revenant, Atomic Blonde, Hunger...
posted by reductiondesign at 9:52 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


> Fincher had him beat by almost 5 years .

Wait, what?

That's stitched CGI scenes (I stopped as soon as we did the magic zoom into a keyhole) and motion controlled cameras. Children of Men had actors doing a scene continuously for a single camera, single take. The actors don't need to worry about breaking character in Panic Room, they just have to walk around the set and bang on doors and windows for that two minutes. Fincher made a scene that didn't have a camera look like it did a cut, but has plenty of cheats and had a lot of CGI. Cuaron took a take shot on one camera in one 4 minute segment and put that in a movie. That is a big difference, one is the power of digital post production and editing, the latter is of building everything so it can be shot in a single take by a single camera, not stitched together afterwords to look like it didn't have a cut.

Go watch the behind to scenes of Russian Ark if you're having trouble with the difference.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:59 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Weekend

this one's cut up (probably for mercy) but I remember it being one long shot
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:15 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


speaking of Godard
posted by philip-random at 10:26 PM on June 7


it annoyed me so much in Birdman, both because it's not a real-time movie

isn't that surreality of that sorta the point in Birdman?
posted by atoxyl at 10:30 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


You could do Caddyshack in one long shot if you omitted the yacht club scene.

I am not sure why I thought of this, but I hope I've given some of you food for thought for a long, long time.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:46 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


An article about long takes and no mention of Russian Ark?

The amazing thing about Russian Ark is if you watch the dvd extras, they mention that they had one attempt that was a ridiculous proportion of the way through before something happened and they had to scrub it and redo.

edit: oh I see mrzarquon linked to it
posted by juv3nal at 10:46 PM on June 7


Folks are bitching about the handful of cuts in Rope? And denying the achievement? There was only a certain amount of film in the camera! Hitchcock had to stop somewhere. The fuck?

I always go back to the crazy pan/tracking shot in Raising Arizona.

Which one?

Yeah.
posted by notyou at 11:01 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Just came into say that part in Black Panther was one of my favorite parts, because the movie just casually becomes African James Bond for a scene.

Oh, and the Hard Boiled Oner.
posted by FJT at 11:02 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


As with anything, it's the way the technique draws the audience in, regardless of how it's achieved. But I think there's a great case to be made that real one-shots like the ones in Children of Men turned out great because every suspenseful beat of those scenes was agonized over in pre-production and production rather than post.

Certainly, the same concept bares out for special fx-heavy scenes. Back to the Future, Gremlins and JC's The Thing are both full of mildly awkward shots and cuts that were completely necessitated by the practical effects. But the directors and cinematographers and actors and all had to get on the same page to get the best possible shot, and that kinda thoughtfulness and team work leads to a proper scene that moves and feels 100 times more alive than Transformers or The Star Wars Prequels or...well...the reboot of The Thing. When you think you can do anything in post, why overthink it beforehand? Again, sequels and reboots really draw attention to this. Jurassic World. the Robocop reboot. New Aliens movies. You can even see how the Harry Potter franchise went from tasteful, planned use of CGI to practically cartoons with human actors.

As has been said, all power to budget film makers who are now able to achieve shots and fx they never could have a decade ago, but you can be sure they're still putting a ton of time into pre-production especially, because the best thing you can do to save money is still to plan and design and experiment beforehand. Robert Rodriguez (when he's not making utter crap) is a good patron saint of this approach. His Predators still feels alive.

I've loved seeing punk, hiphop, indie, and otherwise-DIY musicians come to a place over the last two decades where you can see their work AND they sound as good or better than expensive productions. It's even more amazing seeing it happen with film. But it's all about that pre-production / production work.
posted by es_de_bah at 11:06 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I love this one from The Raid 2, where a camera is passed into a moving car to someone dressed as a car seat so that he blends into the shot.
posted by ODiV at 11:11 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


Wikipedia page for Hard Boiled goes into a bit of detail on the work shooting the hospital scene:

"While filming in the hospital, the windows were covered with blast shields to give the appearance of night time, which allowed the crew to film at any time during the day. Members of the cast and crew stayed in the hospital for days often losing track of the time of day. After long hours of filming in the hospital, the crew became exhausted. This led to having the last scene be one long five-minute scene of action to shorten the time needed to film. To complete this, during the scene when two characters go into an elevator to talk for twenty seconds, the crew changes the scene entirely and sets up the explosions for the scene to continue seamlessly."

The YouTube clip says that the one take was tried six times.
posted by FJT at 11:18 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Another long take in the opening scene of JCVD (complete with self-reference to the difficulty of the one shot). But I’m not sure...I think I may have spotted a cut?
posted by darkstar at 11:48 PM on June 7


Battle Galactica started my love of these, but they are really a tribute to a tightly run movie set. Now diamonds can be artificially created. I guess that is good for us and will lead to a level of bling that will then be discarded for the holographic images of past stars.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:54 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Not a movie and not a true oner, but Mr Robot Season 3 Episode 5 was pieced together as one long shot. Other than the Children of Men shots, this might be my favorite, even if it isn't truly a single shot.

And I am so bad at noticing these when they happen. Usually I find out after and then have to go back and rewatch.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:28 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


My favorite single shot, from The Passenger
posted by durandal at 12:28 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


A couple recent animated examples:
The Adventures of Tintin


This one is one of my all time favorites, even if in the back of my mind, I'm all too aware that constructing a oner in full CGI is on par with beating the final boss in a video game while in god mode.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:31 AM on June 8


To my mind, when I notice something amazing happening on the technical front, it's a failure of craft -- a deflecting of my attention from the drama-comedy-thriller-whatever at hand to the strings being pulled.

Agreed. If the technical wizardry draws so much attention to itself that it pulls me out of the story, then all it's achieved is to make the movie worse.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:43 AM on June 8


The 20 minute opening sequence of Gravity is one continuous "shot," though because it's partly--mostly?--CGI, it kind of doesn't count. It's not a one-shot film, but the vast majority is with Sandra Bullock; she's in every shot it seems.
posted by zardoz at 1:46 AM on June 8


Atonement's Dunkirk beach scene is my favourite. It's just... immense.
posted by nnethercote at 2:12 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Folks are bitching about the handful of cuts in Rope? And denying the achievement? There was only a certain amount of film in the camera! Hitchcock had to stop somewhere. The fuck?

A film canister only held enough film for ten minutes at 24 frames per second so that made a pretty hard limit until digital.
posted by octothorpe at 3:33 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Am I alone in hardly ever noticing a continuous shot vs. one with cuts? I mean, if the cuts are rapid and jarring, or if the shot is long and smooth and follows one particular person through multiple scenes, I might notice something different. I won't necessarily be thinking about what the camera is doing, but I'll appreciate that some scenes differ stylistically from a conventionally edited scene. I watched the Black Panther one mentioned and completely failed to notice that it was intended to look like a single cut, or indeed that is was supposed to be anything other than a conventional Marvel set-piece.

On reflection, I think if you notice the cuts, or lack of, in a scene, the director has probably failed in some way to draw you in to the story. On that basis, I suppose the Black Panther scene was successful, but on the other hand I completely failed to notice something that the director clearly thought I should be impressed by, so...
posted by pipeski at 3:53 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I've probably been watching too many silent movies lately but I got so excited when I saw the homage to Wings in the Canto Bight scene.
posted by octothorpe at 4:21 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I'm generally not a fan of YouTube film criticism, but this video is an exception: The Spielberg Oner. I've been a fan of his since I was a kid, and I never noticed this about Spielberg's filmmaking. It's really neat, and I can't NOT see it in his work now.
posted by brundlefly at 4:23 AM on June 8


Am I alone in hardly ever noticing a continuous shot vs. one with cuts?

Even if you don't notice them directly, I think part of you still notices? Like the long take at the beginning of Children of Men... I didn't "notice" it the first time I saw it, but I did notice that it felt very real in a way that most movies don't, like I was watching a documentary instead. Which is in part because of the long take.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:53 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised they didn't mention the coffee run scene in Baby Driver - one long take down a crowded city street to the Harlem Shuffle.
(Kevin Spacey does not appear in this scene)
posted by cheshyre at 4:59 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Another Day of Sun, the opening number from La La Land. There are two cuts hidden in whip pans (at 1:27 and 3:13), according to a making-of commentary, but even so to accomplish that in just three shots is still pretty impressive.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:17 AM on June 8


I was less surprised that the article didn’t mention Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, which was a masterful use of long takes but was also a movie that people would rather not reminisce about.

The same deal with Noe's later film Enter The Void, which IIRC was presented as a single first-person shot (albeit faked via computer editing) taken from the POV of a ghost floating through Tokyo.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:01 AM on June 8


So I'm the farthest thing from being a film buff, but it seems to me that noting the difference between "real" and "fake" one-shot takes isn't necessarily some kind of value judgment -- yes, all film involves artifice to some extent, of course, but if Film A uses a mechanical shark, Film B uses CGI, and Film C uses... I don't know... a trained dolphin in a shark costume.... that's an interesting distinction worth discussing when discussing how a film is made.
posted by inconstant at 6:22 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


This one is one of my all time favorites, even if in the back of my mind, I'm all too aware that constructing a oner in full CGI is on par with beating the final boss in a video game while in god mode.

That long shot in Tintin demonstrates that an important element of a long shot is conceiving of it. It's in CGI, sure, but the creativity that went into imagining that chase scene and working it out is evident, and delightful.
posted by Orlop at 6:28 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


The exciting thing about a long single-take isn't the clever stunt the filmmakers pulled avoiding a camera break. Who cares?

Cuts in films are punctuation. When a film chooses not to use cuts, it's like a long stream of writing in a book. In an action sequence like Children of Men it creates a breathless, frantic excitement, a sense of reality that nothing fucking stops in a shooting zone. Same with Black Panther. For a quiet movie like Rope what's exciting isn't that Hitchcock occasionally zoomed in on the back of a sofa, it's the way the lack of breaks brings us intimately into the set, the apartment, the claustrophobic place the camera can never leave. And the timeline, the coming party, the minutes that stretch the tension.

Filmmakers got super excited about using lots of cuts in the late 80s / early 90s when digital editing technology made it easy to cut cut cut and reassemble. The #1 way to identify the decade of a film is to count the cuts. It's sort of funny there's an extreme backlash the other direction to no cuts, also motivated by new technology. But I appreciate that filmmakers have all these tools available to them to make their own choice on how to make the movie.
posted by Nelson at 7:00 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Did I miss it already mentioned, but my absolute favourite is the opening shot of The Player. Lots of moving pieces, sets up the movie introducing all the characters, and wonderfully self-aware. (Apologies couldn’t find a better link)
posted by dismitree at 7:01 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I think I saw a long shot in one of the last episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia... the episode Charlie Work. After the first commercial break I think it's a 12-minute continuous uncut shot of Charlie ensuring the bar passes inspection. There might be a cut as he runs downstairs to the basement (it's really dark and I can't tell).
posted by Snowishberlin at 7:42 AM on June 8


That long shot in Tintin demonstrates that an important element of a long shot is conceiving of it. It's in CGI, sure, but the creativity that went into imagining that chase scene and working it out is evident, and delightful.

My earlier comment on this mentioned video games and god mode; a better analogy would be tool assisted speedrunning, and its ability to do things that would defy the physics of human reaction times and controller buttons. Even with the extra possibilities those conditions unlock, it still comes down to human judgement and the choices made.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:30 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Another properly conceived and executed oner was the house raid in True Detective. Visceral.
posted by whuppy at 8:45 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


This opening shot from Sidney Lumet's The Hill is only two minutes long but just amazing how it goes from a medium shot, turns around and tracks backward showing the entire prison camp full of extras and then just keeps going backwards across the sand but somehow not leaving tire tracks. Toward the end, it goes right through a fence. I assume must have been done with a crane but I didn't think that they had ones that big in 1965.
posted by octothorpe at 8:54 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


When a film chooses not to use cuts, it's like a long stream of writing in a book. In an action sequence like Children of Men it creates a breathless, frantic excitement, a sense of reality that nothing fucking stops in a shooting zone. Same with Black Panther.

Yes. I don't care except in a retrospective "Oh, that's cool" kind of way whether a director uses a big long single shot. But I definitely care that the nightclub scene in Black Panther had action that was easy to follow and I had a very good sense of where people are and what they're doing. You can do that with cuts too, but I think long takes seem like a good way to make sure your choreography makes sense and is clear to the audience.

The article turns up its nose at the clearly-artificial unbroken sequence at the beginning of Age of Ultron that culminates in that crazy living-comic-book-panel shot of all six Avengers, but I thought it was one of the most thrilling action sequences in either of Whedon's Avengers films.
posted by straight at 10:35 AM on June 8


I think the Atomic Blonde stair fight one-shot is really good and hides its cuts really well. Even though, intellectually, you know that there has to be cuts because of how messed up and bloody Charlize Theron's face is getting.
posted by mhum at 11:03 AM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Better Call Saul's flawless single shot border crossing scene (cell phone wont paste link onto text so here it is if you want to cut and paste - its worth the effort! https://vimeo.com/215322706) took my breath away when I saw it the first time!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:32 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I also forgot that Serenity included a two take one shot as part of the opening credits. The cut is when they go down the stairs, but it a great use of the technique to show the entire ship - a way to both keep fans engaged with the opening and also to introduce the audience to all the characters (including the ship).
posted by mrzarquon at 11:33 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Well I just read an article that says the Better Call Saul shot I linked is a combo of two shots. Poop. Still, its an absolutely gorgeous piece of storytelling.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:49 AM on June 8


Atonement's Dunkirk beach scene is my favourite. It's just... immense.

Same director (Joe Wright), but vastly different subject matter - one of my favorites is his three-minute shot in the party scene in Pride and Prejudice. It's so well-choreographed, cleverly moves from character to character and from story to story, and perfectly captures what one of those house parties must have been like. It's not showy, but it works really well.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:49 AM on June 8


Oh man, that Better Call Saul shot. I was convinced that it had to be a trick because of the different speeds and spaces they were moving at and through. It starts like a typical walking handheld, then soars up into a crane shot, then we we're back on the ground following vehicles at slow driving speeds (5 mph?), then back on foot inside a warehouse. Here's a short video describing some (but not enough) details.

WalkerWestbridge: Well I just read an article that says the Better Call Saul shot I linked is a combo of two shots. Poop. Still, its an absolutely gorgeous piece of storytelling.

Dang. What was the article?

Regardless, I always found the cinematography of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad to be pretty great. I think I read an interview with one of the people involved (maybe Vince Gilligan) and they said something like the general feeling of the show was to let the DPs just go buck wild.
posted by mhum at 11:54 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


While one shot scenes and action sequences definitely go back much further, given the focus of TFA is modern action franchises, I’m surprised there’s no mention of martial arts movies. The Young Master contains a four minute long cut I believe and was filmed in 1980. Also there Oldboy and my personal favorite Tony Jaa in Tom Yung Goong / the Protector in 2005 (which rivals Children of Men in in my heart, if not in Camera engineering then in personal danger) given how many stunts take place during the sequence. Also Tony Jaa should’ve been in a million movies and I’m really sad about whatever held him back.
posted by midmarch snowman at 11:55 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Dang. What was the article?

Oh wait. Found it here (warning: they do that thing where they split a pretty short article into 8 different pages to goose up their ad hits). It does have a lot more detail than the short AMC video on how they actually put the shot together though.
posted by mhum at 12:01 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Passing stoned thought: a big, expensive, meticulously-constructed faux-oneshot sequence is the cinematic equivalent of the comics technique of the double-page spread.

It uses the form to say "hey here is a Big Thing with a lot of detail to wallow in and inform the rest of the story".
posted by egypturnash at 12:16 PM on June 8


Just in case you ain't seen that scene from The Protector that midmarch snowman's talking about, you really should, because DAMN.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 12:31 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I think I saw a long shot in one of the last episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia... the episode Charlie Work. After the first commercial break I think it's a 12-minute continuous uncut shot of Charlie ensuring the bar passes inspection. There might be a cut as he runs downstairs to the basement (it's really dark and I can't tell).

There are several cuts in that sequence (the bar exterior and interior are in separate locations so every time Charlie goes in or out the door it gave them a chance to cut). I think the digital stitching together of shots to make it look seamless works way better in non-effects-heavy stuff like Always Sunny than the ones in big budget stuff like the Marvel movies. Maybe it's just that the "action" in the Always Sunny episode is completely plausible while the Marvel fights are ridiculous, but the disguised cuts in Black Panther are way more jarring to me than the ones in Sunny.
posted by edeezy at 1:14 PM on June 8


I just went and watched the EFAP on Jackie Chan and How to do Action Comedy, where Chan talks about how to cut scenes properly so that the audience gets it and also doesn't get confused. Good advice from the master.

As to the single-shot oner etc, I'm not upset that they do it or not, I'm upset about the labeling. If it's not a oner, then call it what it is: a two-shot or whatever. Just don't call it a single.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:00 PM on June 8


I found Black Panther's oner very confusing, because I initially assumed we were following the perspective of some individual, presumably BP himself because who else could jump around like that? But then you see him across the room so the camera is just a disembodied observation point. So why is it moving with apparent purpose?

My personal favorite is the opening to Touch of Evil because of the way it ratchets up the tension, since we but not the townsfolk know what is in the trunk of that car. That reminds me that I need to catch up on Better Call Saul (which I just now spent thirty seconds spelling as Better Caul Saul, and couldn't find the mistake).
posted by five toed sloth at 4:04 PM on June 8


Brian DePalma's mid 90s era one-shot 12 minute opening scene his film Snake Eyes was a tour de force, such that the rest of the film struggled to compete with it.
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:23 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


DePalma's sort of the king of shooting amazing scenes in movies that aren't so great otherwise.
posted by octothorpe at 5:43 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


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