Creating long takes?

Jae

Member
How do they make these long takes like in birdman, the revenant and Victoria a long night?
Is it possible for us as indie filmmakers to create or is it just for the big budget stuff?
If it’s possible what do I need in order to do it? Is there any advice or tricks that you can share?

When it comes to gear. I’m guessing a camera+lens with good autofocus. Wide shot
A glidecam or gimbal.
A narrow aperture so that it will be easier to control the focus?
Since the aperture is narrow, I’m guessing that I need a lot of lights to compensate or the picture will get too dark. Actually the lights is what I’m most confused about...

Best wishes, Carl
 

mlesemann

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Aside from gear, an important consideration is that your actors need to be letter-perfect on their lines. This means memorization on their own time plus rehearsal in the space, as the blocking has to all be in place. Everyone must know every word, every pause, and every step thoroughly so that an extended piece can be shot without error.

If you're looking for changes in light or focus, or a moving shot, the crew must be thoroughly rehearsed as well, both on their own and then with the actors.

All of these increase the amount of time needed for a single shot, which in turn raises cost - again, aside from any intrinsic cost of the equipment.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
How do they make these long takes like in birdman, the revenant and Victoria a long night?
Is it possible for us as indie filmmakers to create or is it just for the big budget stuff?
If it’s possible what do I need in order to do it? Is there any advice or tricks that you can share?

When it comes to gear. I’m guessing a camera+lens with good autofocus. Wide shot
A glidecam or gimbal.
A narrow aperture so that it will be easier to control the focus?
Since the aperture is narrow, I’m guessing that I need a lot of lights to compensate or the picture will get too dark. Actually the lights is what I’m most confused about...

Best wishes, Carl
Welcome to indietalk.

Yes, us indie filmmakers can do long shots. It is less about the gear
and more about the skill and talent of the people. It's difficult on the
actors - especially amateur's. Theater experience is really helpful.

Auto-focus is a terrible choice. The last thing you want in a log shot is
the auto-focus searching.

Lighting is always important; with today's camera's you can get an
image in very low light - fine for "home videos" but for a movie you
want a well lit image. You need to be very creative in hiding the lights.

Don't forget audio. Another challenge when doing a long shot that
moves around.

You should try different options to see what works best for you. Who
knows, you might find the auto-focus works for you.
 

Jae

Member
Thats good information. Thank you very much!
This is what i have. Tell me if this is enough or if theres something more thats essential:

Camera+lens:
Gh4, Canon 80d with sigma 18-35

Mechanism:
Glidecam, shoulder rig. Tripod

Lights:
Three softboxes. One is tilted.

And with sound i have a boompole with mick and recorder.

Directorik, Since im doing a fast paced fight scene i cant handle the manual focus while holding a glidecam. And i dont have the money to buy a wireless focus controller. I will have to rely on the auto focus from the 80d. And have someone to help the focus threw their app. If you have a better solution plz enlighten me.

Film guy. Those are zoom lenses? Why?
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
You can't do more than use what you have available. It is
the challenge of the indie filmmaker to make the best of
what we have.

The skill and creativity of the filmmaker is far more important
then the equipment. What you have available is limiting - use
your creativity to overcome those limitations. Lots of rehearsal
with your cast and crew is essential.

If you're up to the challenge and you are creative you can do
a terrific long shot.
 

shortboy

Member
Not sure why you think only "professionals" are capable of doing long takes. As already said, it's less about the equipment, and more about the skill of the people involved. A lot of planning and rehearsal needed.

Since you're talking about fight scenes, I've done a few long take sequences. Once for a 72 Hour (Four Points Film Project) and a few others for other shorts. I take it you're trying to go for a Tom Yong Goong(?) or Old Boy style. The hard part is trying to get the hits to stack correctly. Your actors have to be camera aware. If anything, go for more of a wrestling style. Light contact but big selling of the hits. Selling the hit is the most important part.
 

Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
Is it possible for us as indie filmmakers to create or is it just for the big budget stuff?
It is possible for people talented enough to plan a long shot. In 2006, some guys from Nashville, Robert Archer Lynn and David Alford,made this short, YARD SALE. It's a 48 hour film project, so it was made in a weekend! I've been searching for this on Youtube and Vimeo, but could not find it. It is on IMDB, however. This isn't the best looking compression, but it is well worth a look.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0954355/videoplayer/vi3468598297?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1


These days with wireless mics and cameras with fancy gimbals, this kind of shooting is more accessible than the past, when large steadicam gyros were required.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
In the days of film (or for those who shoot film) it is a lot riskier because of film costs and waiting for dailies etc.

In the digital age you have the freedom to take all this advice, and go for it, even practice shoot.
 

WalterB

Member
Children of Man has long takers shot from the shoulder.

It is what Rik says: it is not the gear, it is the cast.
They need to master the shot as if it is a dance, because it is an actual cheography without music to make sure everybody's action is synced in such a way that the shot works.

All you need is imagination and the vision to direct the cast.
 

Jae

Member
Thanks guys!

So this is our newbieindiefilmmakers thought process:

We are stage actors thats trying to get into film but wants to make our own short films. As a stage actor we would prefer to make long takes since we are used to it and we are fan of the style. Thats why i love emmanuel chivo lubezki because hes cinematography makes actors work more like they would for a play. When they make that combination with stage and film. its Great!

But we have low experience in GEAR and how you would PREP. Since its me and a couple of acting friends. The more we planned the more obstacles we found towards this. Most of it is low light, autofokus and short of people. So we figured that we need some more gear that doesnt need alot of people to control it during a take.

One of our main problems were focus. For a slow paced scene its fine to manual focus but when we did a fast paced scene that involved alot of tracking and changing focus points we got stuck. So what about a camera that can handle good autofocus? Cus then we dont need more people to manage focus pull and hold lights behind the camera etc.

Then we have the lighting. Everything got too dark so maybe a camera that can handle low light with some lighting equipments?

We dont really care about the best quality of the image. We only care about that our acting is good and the story. So we dont need 4k!

I realise that this is the wrong forum to ask this. I shouldve gone to Gear. And i also realise that maybe i have gotten stuck on GEAR too much and that being creative with what you have is more important. Ill have to go back and revaluate. If you have anymore tips regarding to PLAN and be creative with a long take, please enlighten me!
 
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This is a good example of people choreographed to perfection for a 1 take. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_YeNw0N8aE
This is a great thing to watch. It brings up another important point, too: post.

Creating long takes like this requires TONS of pre-viz, planning, blocking, choreography, and rehearsal. There’s so much going on in this sample, though, that there’s little of use in terms of production sound. Notice there’s someone calling cues for actors, props, etc.. There’s too much commotion as the crew scrambles about to replace and rearrange furniture and other set dressings. That means this entire scene happened visually in one take, but the audio side will be 100% sound design.
 

sfoster

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks guys!

So this is our newbieindiefilmmakers thought process:

We are stage actors thats trying to get into film but wants to make our own short films. As a stage actor we would prefer to make long takes since we are used to it and we are fan of the style. Thats why i love emmanuel chivo lubezki because hes cinematography makes actors work more like they would for a play. When they make that combination with stage and film. its Great!

But we have low experience in GEAR and how you would PREP. Since its me and a couple of acting friends. The more we planned the more obstacles we found towards this. Most of it is low light, autofokus and short of people. So we figured that we need some more gear that doesnt need alot of people to control it during a take.

One of our main problems were focus. For a slow paced scene its fine to manual focus but when we did a fast paced scene that involved alot of tracking and changing focus points we got stuck. So what about a camera that can handle good autofocus? Cus then we dont need more people to manage focus pull and hold lights behind the camera etc.

Then we have the lighting. Everything got too dark so maybe a camera that can handle low light with some lighting equipments?

We dont really care about the best quality of the image. We only care about that our acting is good and the story. So we dont need 4k!

I realise that this is the wrong forum to ask this. I shouldve gone to Gear. And i also realise that maybe i have gotten stuck on GEAR too much and that being creative with what you have is more important. Ill have to go back and revaluate. If you have anymore tips regarding to PLAN and be creative with a long take, please enlighten me!
yeah some digital cameras are very low light and you can use practical lights instead of film lights because of their sensitivity. such as the sony a7s mkii
 
This is a great thing to watch. It brings up another important point, too: post.

Creating long takes like this requires TONS of pre-viz, planning, blocking, choreography, and rehearsal. There’s so much going on in this sample, though, that there’s little of use in terms of production sound. Notice there’s someone calling cues for actors, props, etc.. There’s too much commotion as the crew scrambles about to replace and rearrange furniture and other set dressings. That means this entire scene happened visually in one take, but the audio side will be 100% sound design.
Totally agree. I should have mentioned that.
 

Jae

Member
yes, ive been looking around lately. And what stresses me the most is the low light. I have a canon 80d which might help the problem
 
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yes, ive been looking around lately. And what stresses me the most is the low light. I have a canon 80d which might fix the problem.
Maybe.

A good rule of thumb is that the camera wants light. That’s the “photo” in photographic. Don’t know why everybody is now caught up in shooting in zero light these days. Trendy. The new shallow DOF, I guess?

If there’s not enough light to get what you want, then add more light. It’s really that simple. And why you need to have some lighting support on hand.
 

Jae

Member
Im not a big fan of DOF. I like it realistic and more like a documentary point of view.
 
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