looking for baudrillard, boorstin, or eco?

dare to hope for what is good
instead of what is merely good enough.
Dead in sin | Saved by grace | Living in hope | Walking by faith | Surviving on a prayer

+ sola scriptura + sola gratia + solus Christus + sola fide + sola Deo gloria +

vendredi, octobre 21, 2011

 Long-Takes (Hello Diana!)

I've been thinking and looking into what makes a good or bad long-take for a while now. Ever since the amazing long-take X-Files episode Triangle (directed by Chris Carter), I've been fascinated by the precision needed of these scenes (and filming one of them is of course, a pipe dream of mine.) Technically, blocking is difficult enough as it is on stage plays, and I've seen enough ugly blocking that ruins entire scenes with awkwardness (trust me on this, I've watched enough of Roswell to make you shudder violently.)

Going further into my television history and love affair with long-takes, the other show I used to watch at that time was The West Wing - whose crew really took it up a notch as they kicked videography into high gear with TWW's pedaconferences - and the sheer amount of PEOPLE running around in these things! - into their camera tracking. Most West Wing episodes are a thing of beauty. In fact, the whole corridor-tracking thing got parodied by MadTV one upon a time. I can't imagine how many laughs the cast of TWW must have gotten from banging into each other during their power-walks.

My most recent long-track discovery is in the movie version of Joss Whedon's excellent Firefly, a short-lived but much-beloved space cowboy show which only survived 13 episodes before being sent to the network guillotine. Yes, I know, the tv show debuted in 2002, what am I doing discovering it near 10 years after the fact? I plead guilty in this case - had too many shows to watch and not enough time to watch them. (Actually, I'm not sure that Channel 5 ever showed this series. I definitely remember watching the sad and short-lived Space: Above and Beyond (by Glen Morgan and James Wong) religiously till its death in ...Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best... but that's another post on my love of science fiction and geekdom.)

The hue and cry which ensued after Firefly was cancelled sealed the deal for its move to the big screen, and Serenity was released in 2005. The start of the show had a pretty neat long-take scene which required some nifty work on the part of the entire crew - the cast, blocking and choregraphy, the timing had to be precise, lighting, sound, fx crew (in the engine room) - everything was beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the camera's contribution as it panned slowly and calmly upwards as the scene concluded - creating a serenity (pun intended) leading to Summer Glau's beautifully delivered line, "I know. We're going for a ride." Some sites have mentioned that this was a splice of two long-takes, but still you can see the beauty of the art in the sequence:

I hear that Summer Glau mucked up her line once during a take, to the incredulity and exasperation of the cast since she was the last one with a line... but I guess someone has to muck up, else this wouldn't be real life.

There are other legendary long-takes, which are well-documented, so I won't belabour the point that long-takes rock. For more info: Listverse Top 15 Amazing Long Takes | Ugo 10 Long Takes | Daily Dose of Film Long Takes | Den of Geek: Long Take Fight Scenes


Perhaps it's just my love for the long-take, but I'm surprised not to see it being used in more effect in film. While the regular effect of the long-take usually has the viewer a little bit breathless (or maybe it's just me), there are things which could be done with the long-take that pushes the envelope just that bit further.

On the bright side, music videos seem to be taking advantage of their short-lives to do exactly this. Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) one-take shows off that her dance skillz (amongst other things) aren't to be trifled with, Kylie Minogue's Come Into My World proves ...er... that she can really spin around and around and around (and can afford some pretty nifty video fx), and Bruno Mar's Lazy Song tells us that (1) yes, he looks really strange, and (2) so do his friends. And (3) guys are kinda gross when left to their own devices at home.

But seriously, there's some good stuff out there. Case in point: Will Young's Leave Right Now. It's a neat example of how a no-cut video can be pushed a little further as the 4th wall is broken by both Will Young AND his friends who are treating the camera like a buddy Will is talking to. They make apologetic gazes at the camera, and the viewer then feels like he's been having a conversation with Young, whose presence his companions are trying to extricate from the party. One of the more appropriate uses of the long-take.

I also remember being pretty impressed with REM's Imitation of Life when the mtv came out... but re-watching it now, I'm not sure if it can be considered a one-shot video, since there was a lot of post-processing involved with the zoom-in/zoom-out bits. Whatever the case, it's a video which makes use of a single mise-en-scene to underline the message that the song conveys.

There are duds, of course - James Blunt's infernally annoying You're Beautiful has him stripping off and jumping into the sea as it snows is the classic example of a 'waaat a waste of my time' MTV. But that gives rise to another fun form of art: the parody. MadTV has one, and apparently annoyed listeners have made others, like this:

Even good songs and artistes aren't immune to the pointless - or more charitably - unmaximised potential of the long-take scene sometimes aren't utilised by artistes. Massive Attack's Unfinished Symphony is a fine song, but the mtv was rather bland and pointless. The song is trance-like enough, and I honestly didn't need a walk down the streets of downtown Detroit (or wherever, it doesn't matter) to put me finally to sleep.

The lesson with long-takes? With great power comes great responsibility. Use the long-take wisely, and avoid being in the cross-hairs of MadTV, or the annoyed public.

[also: hello di, this post is for you :) ]

[Long-Takes (Hello Diana!)]
Sngs Alumni @ 21.10.11 { 1 comments }


haha thanks babe! :)

By Blogger Unknown, at 9 novembre 2011 à 09:34:00 UTC+8


Post a Comment

+ moi +

+ PDL +

Musings on Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life (PII)


+ twitter +

+ booksneeze+

I review for BookSneeze

+ best of the web +

[lilies of e field]

+ les liens +

[blogtrbc] [adetan] [airong] [aang] [aileen] [ben+yimei] [bunny] [C.Kam] [camellia] [celesta] [chloe] [cornball] [derek+serene] [di] [dims] [elaine] [evangeline] [eunice leow] [eunice soh] [ft] [I-V] [jae] [jason w] [jazzymoo] [jemTiong] [jerming] [jing] [juian] [julian] [kimmeeee] [leon] [lolitapop] [marcus wang] [mai HS] [mark lim] [meiyen] [minghui] [onesimus] [p.k.] [praisie] [puden] [puchuan] [qy] [sam.wong] [serena] [sharon] [sherryn] [shuhui] [simone] [skinnydrummer] [soaps] [soul survivor] [stan] [stee] [titus] [weilong] [yimei] [yining] [yunyu] [zhizhen]


+ before i die +

Stuff I'd Like
Lake Tahoe
Pyramids, Egypt
Boro Boro
Cambodia (Ankor Wat)
Taj Mahal
Great Ocean Road
Maldives to DIVE!
Great Barrier Reef to DIVE!
Christmas Island
See a penguin in the wild
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

make ur own map!

+ archives +

juillet 1990
décembre 1990
décembre 1998
mars 1999
novembre 1999
décembre 1999
janvier 2000
février 2000
mars 2000
novembre 2000
décembre 2001
janvier 2002
août 2002
septembre 2002
octobre 2002
décembre 2002
janvier 2003
février 2003
mars 2003
avril 2003
mai 2003
juin 2003
juillet 2003
août 2003
septembre 2003
octobre 2003
novembre 2003
décembre 2003
janvier 2004
février 2004
mars 2004
avril 2004
mai 2004
juin 2004
juillet 2004
août 2004
septembre 2004
octobre 2004
novembre 2004
décembre 2004
janvier 2005
février 2005
mars 2005
avril 2005
mai 2005
juin 2005
juillet 2005
août 2005
septembre 2005
octobre 2005
novembre 2005
décembre 2005
janvier 2006
février 2006
mars 2006
avril 2006
mai 2006
juin 2006
juillet 2006
août 2006
septembre 2006
octobre 2006
novembre 2006
décembre 2006
janvier 2007
février 2007
mars 2007
avril 2007
mai 2007
juin 2007
juillet 2007
août 2007
septembre 2007
octobre 2007
novembre 2007
décembre 2007
janvier 2008
février 2008
mars 2008
avril 2008
mai 2008
juin 2008
juillet 2008
août 2008
septembre 2008
octobre 2008
novembre 2008
décembre 2008
janvier 2009
février 2009
mars 2009
avril 2009
mai 2009
juin 2009
juillet 2009
août 2009
septembre 2009
octobre 2009
novembre 2009
décembre 2009
janvier 2010
février 2010
mars 2010
avril 2010
mai 2010
juin 2010
juillet 2010
août 2010
septembre 2010
octobre 2010
novembre 2010
décembre 2010
janvier 2011
février 2011
mars 2011
avril 2011
mai 2011
juin 2011
août 2011
septembre 2011
octobre 2011
novembre 2011
décembre 2011
janvier 2012
mars 2012
avril 2012
mai 2012
juin 2012
août 2012
novembre 2012

[lpsd 2003-2009.]