Favorite Long Takes & Why We Love 'Em...

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Favorite Long Takes & Why We Love 'Em...

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:19 am

'dunno if we've done this already, but I'm sure someone will school me if we have, and if we don't already, we damn well should.

your favorite one shot, long take, long shot or whatever the hell one wants to call it (let's not semantically picknits here, they're called all of the above).

I won't Winslow the joint up with a long list, so I'll kick it off with two not-so-obvious ones...

Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's stunning, looks-kinda-like-location-but-was-filmed -on-the-lot, how-the-hell-did-he-do-that-back-in-1927 jawdropping track through the fields in SUNRISE.

and Johnnie To's holy mother of your god 7minute opening track, pan, zoom, wop-bam-boom-boom-BOOM, throwing down the action gauntlet to all up 'n comers intro to BREAKING NEWS.

maybe a poll later if this thread gets enough (any?) responses...
Last edited by Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:25 am

It's fudge and caramel to me buddy, but
http://tinyurl.com/2wyht5
this thread does get to mentioning usual suspects like the opening shot of the Player and Touch of Evil in the first few posts.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:27 am

TEH LOCKED!!

Oh yeah, how about Mike Figgis's TImecode? Thats got a pretty long 4 first shots... :lol:
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:30 am

Ah fuck it...

The opening of "Outbreak" is pretty cool, although mainly a disguised long shot.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:46 am

tapehead wrote:It's fudge and caramel to me buddy, but
http://tinyurl.com/2wyht5
this thread does get to mentioning usual suspects like the opening shot of the Player and Touch of Evil in the first few posts.


yeah, I spied that nifty thread, but that was only for opening/first shots of a flick.

I mean, the Scorsese wowzers from GOODFELLAS and RAGING BULL 'taint openers, so I thought this thread could stand on it's own dolly...
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:49 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:taint


butt-hole.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:54 am

magicmonkey wrote:Ah fuck it...

The opening of "Outbreak" is pretty cool, although mainly a disguised long shot.


heh, mod's remorse. It happens to the best of us.

There is a crazy-long take in Kill Bill Volume 1 at Charlie Brown's club. I remember thinking "longest take ever?" the first time I watched it. It's before the Crazy 88's come in.
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:00 am

How 'bout the restaurant fight in Tom Yum Goong /The Protector...?
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:06 am

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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:14 am

Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:17 am



You're just jealous cause I've seen them all...
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:31 am

so since this thread has been hijacked by Tapehead's cold logic and dry wit, been listed to death by Havoc's Winslow impression, riddle me this...

if you actually do appreciate, notice and get boners for long takes...why? Do you prefer long takes to jarring montage? What about the long take is so special?

that oughta hold you punks for a little while...
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:35 am

Well fuck those lists, FUCK 'EM!!! (actually, thanks for posting the lists....)

To spice up this thread a smidgen, here's an example of Tarkovsky's genius: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBZsj8FPSbo
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:37 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:so since this thread has been hijacked by Tapehead's cold logic and dry wit, been listed to death by Havoc's Winslow impression, riddle me this...

if you actually do appreciate, notice and get boners for long takes...why? Do you prefer long takes to jarring montage? What about the long take is so special?

that oughta hold you punks for a little while...


I don't know if it's just because I'm stoned when I see alot of movies - but I just feel that I can completely immerse myself into the scene if the shot takes it's time...

If everything's so hyperactive and all over the place - you never really get that chance to just soak it all in - which - in some cases - works well too.

I don't know though, I think a well done/brilliant long shot/take can totally make a film that is lacking in other areas, just seem a little more complete...

I just enjoy them, that's all...
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Postby Logan5 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:47 am

havocSchultz wrote:[quote="Keepcoolbutcare" ]so since this thread has been hijacked by Tapehead's cold logic and dry wit, been listed to death by Havoc's Winslow impression, riddle me this...

if you actually do appreciate, notice and get boners for long takes...why? Do you prefer long takes to jarring montage? What about the long take is so special?

that oughta hold you punks for a little while...


I don't know if it's just because I'm stoned when I see alot of movies - but I just feel that I can completely immerse myself into the scene if the shot takes it's time...

If everything's so hyperactive and all over the place - you never really get that chance to just soak it all in - which - in some cases - works well too.

I don't know though, I think a well done/brilliant long shot/take can totally make a film that is lacking in other areas, just seem a little more complete...

I just enjoy them, that's all...[/quote]

It draws you in. As simple as that.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:54 am

Well to me a beautifully staged long shot emphasizes cinema as a fantastical twist on reality. Life doesn't have quick cuts, it's just one long take, no? So having the camera move around in a scene (ok, I guess I'm referring to long shots where the camera is actually moving), as though you're walking through it, obviously draws you in since it's closer to how you would see things if you were actually there.

BUT, I think the true art comes in the staging of the shot... things happening in the scene, but when does the camera pan over, where does it pause, where does it focus? All these things, if done right, could create a startling effect no amount or combination of quick cuts could achieve. On the other hand, if done poorly, a long take can just be boring and pull you completely out of the film whereas there's less risk of that with quicker cuts.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:58 am

It is immersive. It's also not the norm and so it stands out. Obviously the long sweeping, tracking shots are much more noticeable to me...they kinda carry you through the story for a bit, which is a cool feeling. They can be akin to a fly buzzing along following the action, or majestic, sweeping, panoramic shots.

They're interesting...they capture the eye.
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:00 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:so since this thread has been hijacked by Tapehead's cold logic and dry wit, been listed to death by Havoc's Winslow impression, riddle me this...

if you actually do appreciate, notice and get boners for long takes...why? Do you prefer long takes to jarring montage? What about the long take is so special?

that oughta hold you punks for a little while...


I wrote a few things relating to this with regard to Lubezki's fantastic cinematography in Children of Men. it went a little something like...

"I don't want to spoil this movie any further for those who haven't seen it, but I can't let it go without talking about 'those shots'.
There are three amazing 'one-shot' sequences in this movie - each of which on their own warrant watching this film in the Cinema if you can. One - during their initial flight to a safe house somewhere outside London, starts after Clive Owen's character Theo, is woken during the car ride.
The second starts with a grating suspense sting as Theo and his party try to escape to a boat, at the other side of a concentration camp and war-zone set amidst the ruins of a southern coastal village.
and there's another, but of course there's no point giving the whole game away.
There's little point in describing what goes on in these scenes, they form three incredible climactic points in the film and they go on for minutes on end with no cuts. There is literally nothing to take you away from the immediate here and now on screen - as well as being technical achievements that frankly earn my awe, they are also heavily immersive - they put you there in a way that fast cuts or jumpy/jump-cut editing never can. There may be some CGI at work here, but I'll put myself out there and say that either way, these are two of the most amazing shots I've seen in a cinema - palpable, sweaty, intense moments, where, and this is what makes them rare, your mind is racing as fast as your heart. I think Cuaron and his Cinematographer from Y Tu Mama Tambian, Emmanuel Lubezki (who also shot The New World, fucking overachiever will be up against himself for several awards, I imagine) would have shot this entire film in one if they could.
"


I'm a big fan of the 'oner', however it's achieved, and will post more later.
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:36 am

I think when they're over-used, like in a few Indie movies I've seen recently, they can really wrap the film in cellophane and starve it of atmosphere (especially the "quirky" long static takes). They can also do exactly the opposite, letting the actors breathe, knowing they don't have to abide by split-second timing.

I like it when the camera's position is actually part of the plot. Like in The Man Who Wasn't There, when Ed walks into a building, but the camera remains on the outside, slowly panning upwards as he walks up the flight of stairs up to Jon Polito's room. You almost get the impression that the Coens WANT us to be kept at arm's length.

Kurosawawa used to do that style quite often. You know, Mifune would enter a hut or something, you'd be left on the outside hearing the furore going on inside, the camera would strafe across the hut, giving you a couple of glimpses inside via the windows, and then Mifune would leave the hut via the opposite door, a bloody mess.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:22 am

Long takes are more like real life. We don't look at things in real life and keep cutting to different angles all the time. We stand back and watch something if it's happening in front of us.

Hence, something that is a long take, wether it be 2 actors talking (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow talking in Crimes and Misdamenours) or an 'action' shot of something (long shot in The Deer Hunter where the guys in the car won't let Axel get back in the car), will give you that sense of real life happenign in front of you as it just lets you stand abck and take it all in, then also become sucked into the scene after a while and become intoxicated and more involved in it, giving you that feeling that you're watching it more in reality. It's there for real, and you're standing there in or with the scene for real.

It's this use of the long held and long shot useage in The Deer Hunter that gives that film the feeling that it's not so much a staged acted film but more that we're watching real life events and that someone just decided to stick a camera there and observe them a bit.


I used the term 'real' in this post too much, didn't I?
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:03 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:if you actually do appreciate, notice and get boners for long takes...why? Do you prefer long takes to jarring montage? What about the long take is so special?


For me it comes back to the famous story of how Lynch got into film-making - he was looking at one of his paintings and thought he saw it move whilst simultaneously hearing "a wind". I suppose this highlights the fact that there's more than one type of long take: firstly, what that Wiki link refers to as a "sequence shot" - which is a long take with loads of interesting movements.

I tend to prefer the takes that are both long and sloooooooow -like the one near the start of The Straight Story, where you could be forgiven for thinking you were seeing a still image if you weren't watching carefully, but then you gradually notice the tiny movements going on in-shot, and the gradual zooming of the image. It's one of those things which cinema can do better than any other artform, I guess.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:04 am

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:It's one of those things which cinema can do better than any other artform, I guess.


Dude:

1) Mushrooms
2) Almost any still picture

The end. :D
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:11 am

LOL - Hermanos Rodriguez do not approve of drugs.
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Postby Fried Gold on Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:54 am

There are some great long shots in Pan's Labyrinth, as Ophelia walks though the maze. The takes in Children of Men were spectacular.

Stanley Kubrick's film feature a lot of the most memorable (he even used them in his early commercial shorts.

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Long takes are more like real life. We don't look at things in real life and keep cutting to different angles all the time. We stand back and watch something if it's happening in front of us.

Maybe for wide angle events, but when talking to someone face to face I switch to 50mm lens..stop it down a little more and then cut to a looping shot around the two people.
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:19 am

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Long takes are more like real life. We don't look at things in real life and keep cutting to different angles all the time. We stand back and watch something if it's happening in front of us.


Actually, real life is much more like a Michael Bay or Oliver Stone movie, what with our blinking 10-15 times a minute and all.
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Postby The Cockblocker on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:21 am

i agree with seppuku, every time i blink it's as though i'm looking at my surroundings from a completely different angle, and the world is spinning around in circles constantly, switching from fast forward to slow motion at the same time, zooming in and out, in and out.
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:35 am

The Cockblocker wrote:i agree with seppuku, every time i blink it's as though i'm looking at my surroundings from a completely different angle, and the world is spinning around in circles constantly, switching from fast forward to slow motion at the same time, zooming in and out, in and out.


Finally, another Adrenal Gland addict on Teh Zones. Do you like to grind it up with a cheese grater, dissolve it in green tea, then shoot it up through your nose too? I hear that's the best way.




I hate to admit it, but IPAMP'. Good point.
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:42 am

I also really enjoyed the slow, building, opening of A History of Violence.

I think it just completely helped to set up the film and gets you interested in every little thing that's happening...

I also think it works amazingly well in order to build suspense...

A horror film that's all fast and rapid cuts, isn't all that scary...

But if you led the creepiness build, and slowly and methodically tighten the screws, the audience will be eating out of your hands...

And then you can do whatever you want at that point...
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:05 am

No one has mentioned Soy Cuba. The opening Hotel shot is incredible. I will link a vid here. I can't remember if this is a clip or the whole shot as it has been a long time since I have seen the movie.

What about Bela Tarr's amazing use of long takes. Satantango for example had tons of them.

I like the long takes because they really allow you to think about what is going on in the scene.
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Postby minstrel on Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:01 pm

I like long takes because they let actors perform. Too often, an actor's performance feels like it's put together by an editor working with a lot of takes of the same line, with the result being something that perhaps the actor didn't even really intend.

You can't do that with long takes. I enjoy watching films like Rope because I know I'm watching actors give me their takes on the characters, not some editing whiz doing something completely different.
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Postby Chilli on Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:04 pm

The opening onboard the ship in Serenity. Its not a total one-take, but it comes close and really puts you into the theme and nature of the ship and characters early. It feels naturalistic, like you're actually observing an ordinary run of the mill day, with characters going about their usual roles. There's a few moments where you can hear characters a second before they appear, and a second after they've left, that is just so beautifully casual and unforced.
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Postby monorail77 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:25 pm

Damn, most of my faves have already been mentioned. The Player with its sly nod to long takes is classic. Children of Men has two stunning unbroken sequences (what's the third?)

There's a flashy, but pretty neat bit in Speilberg's WOTW, during the car chase/traffic jam where the camera goes in one window and out the other. Probably this involved computer trickery, but I liked the artistry of it. It was flashy and noticeable. It was supposed to be.

At the other end of the scale is something like the long corridor and lobby tracking shots in The Shining. These are insidious. The camera is always just below the mid-frame and the shot is medium to long distance away from the actors as it slowly follows them through the space. Its repeated a few times as well. It gives you a feeling of creeping dread without being overtly noticeabel (in my opinion). Great technique used to great effect.

Then there's the static shots that just remain focussed on the actor to completely capture the performance, as Minstrel mentioned above. Notable in this category are Peter O'Toole staring at his own skinny white body on Lawrence of Arabia and Juliet Stevenson expressing uncontrollable grief to her therapist in Truly Madly Deeply.
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Postby Chilli on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:28 pm

At the other end of the scale is something like the long corridor and lobby tracking shots in The Shining. These are insidious. The camera is always just below the mid-frame and the shot is medium to long distance away from the actors as it slowly follows them through the space. Its repeated a few times as well. It gives you a feeling of creeping dread without being overtly noticeabel (in my opinion). Great technique used to great effect.


That one with the kid when he sees those two freaky girls is fantastic.
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Postby havocSchultz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:39 pm

Chilli wrote:
At the other end of the scale is something like the long corridor and lobby tracking shots in The Shining. These are insidious. The camera is always just below the mid-frame and the shot is medium to long distance away from the actors as it slowly follows them through the space. Its repeated a few times as well. It gives you a feeling of creeping dread without being overtly noticeabel (in my opinion). Great technique used to great effect.


That one with the kid when he sees those two freaky girls is fantastic.



Wait for it...


















































Wait...











































Keep waiting...








































Maybe you should just forget about waiting...







































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Postby Chilli on Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:47 pm

What, because I assume not everyone has seen it?
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:59 pm

monorail77 wrote:Damn, most of my faves have already been mentioned. The Player with its sly nod to long takes is classic. Children of Men has two stunning unbroken sequences (what's the third?)


The birth scene is composed of a single shot which lasts for over three minutes - it's also the one of the three which most obviously has some special effects involved (the baby), but it's still pretty amazing.
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:57 pm



I loved this one:

Serenity: The shot introducing the main characters over the main titles seems to last roughly four and a half minutes, but is actually broken into two, with the second taking place on a separate set. The break is disguised by a whip pan when Nathan Fillion's character walks to the lower deck.


And of course:

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: the opening shot is a 76 second long take of the Battle of Coruscant; it is over two and a half minutes if one includes the film's opening crawl.


EDIT:

I almost forgot about this one:

Battlestar Galactica : 2003 SciFi Channel miniseries uses long take in first introduction of the ship.


That one was great.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:04 pm

ONeillSG1 wrote:
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: the opening shot is a 76 second long take of the Battle of Coruscant;


Shame it ended 2 seconds afterwards.
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:09 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:
ONeillSG1 wrote:
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: the opening shot is a 76 second long take of the Battle of Coruscant;


Shame it ended 2 seconds afterwards.


Couldn't agree more.
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Postby Zarles on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:39 pm

Lord Voldemoo wrote:There is a crazy-long take in Kill Bill Volume 1 at Charlie Brown's club. I remember thinking "longest take ever?" the first time I watched it. It's before the Crazy 88's come in.


That's my choice. I can't even figure out how it was done. Is it a crane shot? Steadicam? Combo of the two?

That and the van scene in Children of Men blow me away every time. I was a little disappointed to see that the CoM shot contained some CGI, but it's still amazing.
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:56 pm

Zarles wrote:
Lord Voldemoo wrote:There is a crazy-long take in Kill Bill Volume 1 at Charlie Brown's club. I remember thinking "longest take ever?" the first time I watched it. It's before the Crazy 88's come in.


That's my choice. I can't even figure out how it was done. Is it a crane shot? Steadicam? Combo of the two?

That and the van scene in Children of Men blow me away every time. I was a little disappointed to see that the CoM shot contained some CGI, but it's still amazing.



Kill Bill's 'long-shot' which runs about 2 minutes, involved a crane and removable walls to the set and took 17 takes to get right... Personally, I think it might have a couple of edits in it, but it's still very cool.

Here's a tracking shot that has long taxed my brains in order to work out how it might have been done - there's a shot in Argento's 'Tenebrae' that starts on the face of an actress, moves out the window of her apartment, up the wall (as Goblin-esque creep rock plays), over the roof and back down the other side of the building down to a window on that opposite side. It lasts for two minutes and creates this weird, malevolent tone for what follows. Then she and the other lesbian are killed, violently.

It's a full, vertical 180.
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Postby Zarles on Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:24 am

Great link, tape, thanks. Where do you think the edits are?

For your trouble, the deleted Michael Jai White scene from Volume 1.
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Postby tapehead on Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:29 am

Not sure - they often hide cuts in whip pans (of which there are several) or as subtle (motion tracked) wipes across background to foreground - like when the shot follows the bride into the cubicle. Also the cubicle shots - these either involve some very tricky lighting changes (so that you can see what the bride is up to inside) or are composites, which, in the strictest sense of the term, means they are no longer 'single takes'. Most of the time I'd rather just enjoy shots like this rather than deconstruct them too much, but I can't help but wonder.
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Favorite Long Takes & Why We Love 'Em...

Postby bastard_robo on Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:15 am

The best Long take/steady cam shot I've seen in film is from Tom Yum Goong/ The Protector.

When Tony Jaa breaks into an illegal restaurant and starts kicking the collective ass of a bunch of gang members. The camera follows Jaa up at least a 4 story spiral stair case and moves with Jaa as he beats the shit out of guys in very creative manners.

Just a brilliant shot!
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Postby tapehead on Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:37 am

Ooh, nice one Robo - that shot is killer.
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:47 am

bastard_robo wrote:The best Long take/steady cam shot I've seen in film is from Tom Yum Goong/ The Protector.

When Tony Jaa breaks into an illegal restaurant and starts kicking the collective ass of a bunch of gang members. The camera follows Jaa up at least a 4 story spiral stair case and moves with Jaa as he beats the shit out of guys in very creative manners.

Just a brilliant shot!




tapehead wrote:Ooh, nice one Robo - that shot is killer.



Near the top of this page, havocSchultz wrote:How 'bout the restaurant fight in Tom Yum Goong /The Protector...?
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Postby tapehead on Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:55 am

"Favorite Long Takes & Why We Love 'Em..."

you just listed it, Robo painted me a picture.

Robo wins.
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:18 am

I felt the scene spoke for itself...
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Postby tapehead on Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:23 am

You killed my father, and you stole my elephant!
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:24 am

I hear that a lot...for some reason...
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