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favourite long single take


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#1 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:33 AM

Our national broadcaster here in Australia showed Orson Welles' Touch of Evil last night (at 2 in the morning of course), and its justly famous opening sequence made me think of some other long, single take shots that I've enjoyed.

The opening of Altman's The Player and of course the remarkable but flawed Russian Ark sprang to mind, among others.

But my favourite still remains the final shot in Antonioni's The Passenger, where the camera slowly floats out through the bars of a hotel window to the courtyard, and pans back to the room it has just left. Easily done now with some CGI and stitching, but at the time Antonioni had the entire hotel cut in two, pulled apart to let the camera through, and then pushed back together for the pan around. Flawlessly executed, and a perfect match of camera move to story.

Anyone else have a favourite long take they'd like to share?
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#2 Hendrikus De Vaan

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:47 AM

I particularly liked the steadicam shot in goodfellas when they are walking through the copacanana night club.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:10 AM

The tracking shots in Soy Cuba spring to mind, and the two sequences in Children of Men, in the car, and then at the very end in the battle.
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#4 james fotherington

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 09:49 AM

THe opening shot in "I am Cuba" pretty amazing what they did with the technology available at the time .
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#5 Rob Vogt

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:25 PM

I second Adrian's Children of men.

Michael Haneke does it quite well in "Funny Games" where Naomi Watts tries to escape when the killers leave, and in "Code Unknown," where there are 2 excellent ones. A man gets into a fight with police and another where men torment a woman on a subway or bus.

Also, got to love the fight in the corridor in "Old Boy"

Edited by Rob Vogt, 09 August 2010 - 04:26 PM.

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#6 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:51 PM

In 'Cranes are Flying', when Veronika is on the bus going to the railroad station.
The bus stops because of the crowds in the street, she gets off and fights her way through the crowd. As she's crossing the street by the station, the camera swoops up; the crane is flying.

Though I really think of this as my favorite handheld shot.

Bondurchuk's 'War and Peace' has a number of shots where the camera is passed during them.
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:47 PM

I'll second "Children of Men" "I Am Cuba" and Goodfellas and I'll throw in "Boogie Nights". Both the opening shot and the shot that ends up going into the pool are fantastic.
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#8 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 09:45 AM

I'll second "Children of Men" "I Am Cuba" and Goodfellas and I'll throw in "Boogie Nights". Both the opening shot and the shot that ends up going into the pool are fantastic.


Love the Copacabana shot in Goodfellas, also love the corridor shot in Raising Cain . The opening of Bonfire of the Vanities also is spectacular. All of these are examples of the sublime steadicam work of Larry McConkey.
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#9 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 10:37 AM

Altman designed that opening shot of "The Player" as a parody of long, complex steadi-cam shots.

Some long takes that are marvels of simplicity: The "Kitchen Table scene" in Welles's "Magnificent Ambersons," (or the "Birthday Dinner scene in "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days"), and the empty pool scene from Tarkovsky's "Nostalghia."
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 01:48 AM

In 'Cranes are Flying', when Veronika is on the bus going to the railroad station.

A masterpiece of a film shot in large part with Konvas!!! :D

Humm my favorite long single take.....how about Hitchcock's Rope. :rolleyes:
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#11 Richard Vialet

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 08:43 AM

Check out the Argentinean flick, The Secret In Their Eyes, which won the best foreign film oscar last year. Great movie and there's an amazing "single-take" sequence that starts with a helicopter shot of a football match and culminates in a handheld foot chase through the stadium.

Great stuff. I think you can see the sequence on youtube.

Edited by Richard Vialet, 12 August 2010 - 08:44 AM.

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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 05:10 PM


Humm my favorite long single take.....how about Hitchcock's Rope. :rolleyes:


Good call. 'Under Capricorn' has some good and intricate long single takes. None are quite as long as 'Rope'. While 'Under Capricorn' is a gorgeous movie, it's hardly Hitchcock's best.
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:47 AM

How could I forget "Nine Lives"!? Nine very well done long takes.
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#14 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

How could I forget "Nine Lives"!? Nine very well done long takes.


Good call Brad. I completely forgot about it. I just looked it up to see who the operator was. It was Henry Tirl. Done some amazing work. There are some Steadicam / Camera operators who fly way below the horizon, who do some spectacular work. Another one , who I've worked with on 3 movies is Klemens Becker. Phenomenal operator.
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 06:33 PM

It was Henry Tirl. Done some amazing work.

Actually, I believe seven of the shots were Dan Kneece and two were Henry Tirl. They alternated takes and then the director picked the takes he liked best later. There is a little BTS of Dan talking about his rig on the DVD. Both Dan and Henry are fantastic operators.
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#16 Steve Wallace

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 01:55 PM

"The Hole" by Tsai Ming-Liang is long take after long take, complete with musical numbers, voyeurism, and a degenerative disease that makes people act like insects. Check it out.
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#17 Keith Mottram

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:03 AM

Birth's opening tracking shot is simply phenomenal...
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#18 Chris Durham

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 02:49 PM

The shots in "Children of Men," as already suggested are phenomenal.

Would be remiss not to mention the Dolly shot in Godard's "Weekend" (shot by Raoul Coutard)
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#19 Brian Rose

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:27 PM

I'd add every other shot from Linklater's "Slacker." That film completely refutes the idea that low budget somehow is a pass/excuse for your film to look like uninspired poop.

BR
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#20 Chris Millar

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:02 PM

Not particularly long but the slow zoom into the eyes of Nicole Kidman at the Opera in 'Birth'

Second 'I am Cuba'

Not that note worthy but perhaps something that could be added to the discussion is De Palmas "Snake Eyes'
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