Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Art of the Single Take

When Birdman was released last year, the art of the "single take film" was brought back into the spotlight. Alfred Hitchcock was (of course) the pioneer for this technique, with his 1948 release of his film Rope. Birdman was also shot in a similar manner, but took advantage of digital masking techniques in addition to using natural transitions. There is an absolutely incredible video describing every cut here:

When I heard about Victoria, a German film that also was done with one take, I knew I had to see it. First going into Birdman, I had little idea what to look for as I'd never seen anything of the like. Going into Victoria, however, I was prepared with my newfound eye for match cutting and transitions. I loved the film, and I walked out not only satisfied with an amazing story, but also knowing that I had identified several of the cuts that they had used.

When I was researching it afterward, however, I found out that they used NO CUTS. That's right, one hundred percent done in one take. It only took them 3 attempts to make an entire movie using mostly natural lighting and their few locations. Knowing now it now makes sense why the story seemed to drag at points - there was no way that improved dialogue would have the pacing expected of a feature script.

Absolutely amazing job, I highly recommend you see this film when it is released.

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