cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values


Two previous posts in COTA on the long take:

Béla Tarr’s Long Takes (an education in film)

FILM Satantango (Sátántangó) by Béla Tarr {2}

More for my future reference than anything else, three posts in Big Other on the long take, including many Youtube examples. Most of these are not exclusively long takes, but contain them.

[1]  Top films of the decade by Greg Gerke  (Dec 19 2009)

[2]  Brevity, Part 2: Long Takes (January 8 2010)

by A D Jameson

[3]  Brevity, Part 3: Long Takes Continued (well, they’re long) (January 10 2010)

by A D Jameson

There is also

Top 15 amazing long takes

which includes Antonioni’s , The Passenger,  as does [2]


The Long Take

a post in Daily Film Dose, which includes a selection of YouTube long takes, and says:

The difficulty arises when the camera is forced to move which complicates the logistics ie. Focus changes, lighting changes and hiding production equipment.

An entry in filmreference:
Camera movement and the Long take

It would nice to see more discussion on the merits and demerits of the static long take compared to the tracking, panning, zooming one.

There is Mark le Fanu’s:

Metaphysics of the “long take”: some post-Bazinian reflections


Child of the long take: Alfonso Cuaron’s film aesthetics in the shadow of globalization by James Udden

which mentions le Fanu’s essay defending the long take and does a bit more than use Cuaron’s Children of Men [2006], including some quotable quotes such as:

[..] For Bazin, the long take is a principle means of directly linking the cinematic image with phenomenological reality, which the film medium can directly record. The long take supposedly ensures a truth of the spatial and temporal relations within that said reality. The long take allows the world to be seen as it is–objectively–without the imposition of the filmmaker’s world view, which occurs when one edits and thus manipulates cinematic time and space. And according to Bazin, this in turn this offers the possibility of revealing the ambiguity of the world before we impose our ideas on it.

In The Long Take: Finding Hope Amongst the Chaos, Bryan Nixon deals specifically with The Children of Men and the long take. (i.e. no diversions into Bazinland!)

Two film posts

[1] The Long Take that Kills:Tarkovsky’s rejection of montage
Benjamin Halligan

[2] Girish’s post The Long Take

are already linked to in a previous post in COTA:

FILM Satantango (Sátántangó) by Béla Tarr {2}

Other sources

Pier Paolo Pasolini – Observations on the long take [1967]

Toward a synthesis of cinema – a theory of the long take moving camera, Part 1

Toward a synthesis of cinema – a theory of the long take moving camera, Part 2


David George Menard

Orson Welles, Gregg Toland and the Long Take
Ned Casey

The Mobile Mise en scene by Lutz Bacher
GoogleBook of Intro and chapter 1 [67 pages].

Time Lost or Spent or Not Yet Had: An Argument For the Long Take
Brett Mccracken

Slow Cinema & The Long Take
A. V. Cheshire

Notes on the Fetishism of the Long Take in Rope
Jean-Pierre Coursodon

Re-viewing Mizoguchi, Master Choreographerof the Long Take
Freda Freiberg

The Long Take: Finding Hope Amongst the Chaos
Bryan Nixon

In praise of the long take
John Patterson

April 7, 2010 Posted by | long take | | Leave a comment

FILM – Top 10 directors of photography

The Top 10 according to Josh Timmermann in Stylus Magazine.

According to the wiki: cinematographer:

The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person.

Perhaps the director of photography (film or digital) should be called The Lilac Chaser, after the well-known visual illusion. In other words, he or she’s the one who knows how to produce a good visual effect in the completed film – which thereby enhances a good script – but also has the knowledge to avoid unintended visual consequences which might wreck a good script. 

Josh talks about the opposite, where great cinematography props up an initially weak film idea.

I’ll put a link  to Jim Emerson’s cinematography post here:

Avatar and Oscar again raise the question: What is cinematography? (Part 1)

Read the comments as well which debate cinematographer/Director of photography.

Jim himself writes in reponse to a commenter:

The cameraman on set or on location must understand not only the sequence of shots, but the time of day, the temperature of the lights, how the film reacts in a multitude of situations, and even what time the sun will rise and set. Then there are the happy accidents that only the trained eye will catch, like the way the heat waves will play with the light in a telephoto shot. The cinematographer with experience will in many cases give the director the benefits of his or her knowledge.

(Which reminds me of the work of the location manager and the scouts, who themselves are the beginning of the the cinematographer’s work. It is they who will begin the work of noting where the sun sets and rises in relation to a building, say, and when, because they will be working from a script, will be able to see such things as whether it will be easy or diffcult to lay tracking down, which will effect how the film can look.)

No one has mentioned that a film (film or digital) is edited after it is made. So it is quite posible that much of a cinematographers work can be removed afterwards for non-cinematographic reasons, such as length of final film.

The more one looks at film the more the collaborative nature of film-making is highlighted. A professional editor (unless that means the director) works with the director and all the other major players on the film. Who can imagine the director of photography not being allowed in to see how the editing is going, and to perhaps have some say in how the editing is altering (for good or bad) the look he has set out to achieve?

April 7, 2010 Posted by | cinematography, director of photography, editing, film [its techniques] | | Leave a comment