The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (2022)

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The “long shot” is a difficult technique that can be impressive when done well or boring when fumbled. It’s also called a “long take” or “one take” or “one shot”—but they all describe the same thing.

The long shot film technique is conceptually simple: an entire scene is shot start-to-finish as a single take, without cutting to other angles or combining various takes.

Long shots are often associated with sophistication, dedication, and high-level direction since they leave no room for error. Normally, multiple takes are edited together for a scene, to mask errors made and combine the best performances from various takes.

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Chopping up single takes and hopping between multiple camera angles is also used as a way to hold the viewer’s attention. Frequent and rapid cuts can help keep energy up, which is why you rarely see one-takes in action-heavy blockbusters.

For the most part, long shots are reserved for the classics, the avant-garde, the indie. They have to be intentional, well-choreographed, and well-performed, otherwise they can fall flat.

Directors need to be careful not to show off with a one-take. Throwing in a random long shot doesn’t automatically make a film into a masterpiece. The long shot needs to serve a purpose.

Here are some of the best examples of long shots and one takes in movies, ranging from classics to modern hits.

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8. The Tricycle Hallway (The Shining)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (3)

Stanley Kubrick’s films can be earmarked by two things in particular: compositional symmetry and long takes. He has many examples to choose from, but we’re highlighting his classic horror The Shining.

(Video) 3 Strategies Behind the Best Long Takes

The hallway tricycle scene is now beyond iconic—you’ll even see the same carpet referenced in Pixar’s Toy Story. Kubrick utilizes the long shot here to build an eerie atmosphere.

We track young Danny as he cycles down the creepy hotel corridor. The music amplifies, then Danny stops at Room 237. If you’ve seen the film, then you know why this is significant…

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7. The Mirror Shot (Contact)

This particular shot from Contact is especially cool because it plays a trick on the eyes. Director Robert Zemeckis films this long take through a mirror—but we don’t realize that until the end.

As Ellie runs upstairs to get her father’s medicine, everything turns into apprehensive slow-motion. She reaches for the cabinet and the camera pulls away from the mirror… to show it was a reflection all along.

It happens pretty quickly, but really trips you out for a second. (For those interested in how it was filmed, a steadicam shot was used in front of Malone and a blue screen put in the place of the mirror).

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6. The Copacabana (Goodfellas)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (7)

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Martin Scorsese is another director who has an affinity for the long shot technique. In Goodfellas, he uses it to mimic gangster Henry Hill’s attempt to show off in the Copacabana club.

Just as some directors use the one-take to boast about their filmmaking abilities, Henry shows off his power to his date by entering through the back door.

Scorsese uses a steadicam to track Henry through the kitchen and into the bar, all while he asserts his authority as people greet and serve him en-route. The whole shot is built around him, just as the whole club—and the whole movie—is built around him.

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5. The Bombings (Children of Men)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (9)

Alfonso Cuarón implemented numerous long shots in his dystopian drama Children of Men, and each one-take is more striking than the last. The infamous car attack scene features impossible camera angles that contort and move into different character perspectives.

But the most astonishing one-take in Children of Men comes toward the end, when Theo Faron (played by Clive Owen) runs through anarchic streets while bombs fall and shots are fired everywhere.

This six-minute shot took days of preparation, with explosions and moving vehicles having to be staged with utmost precision. The camera movement is motivated by the lawless desperation of Theo’s mission, and the scene is littered with religious imagery.

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4. The Whole Movie (1917)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (11)
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This particular example isn’t technically a long shot, but it’s designed to give the impression of one.

The choreography of 1917 alone is enough for a standing ovation, and the technical filmmaking and outstanding performances push it into legendary status. Director Sam Mendes isn’t the first to direct a feature-length one-take, but it’s definitely one of the best.

1917 follows Lance Corporal William as he crosses enemy territory during World War I. The camera tracks him from start to finish—almost two whole hours—while he’s bombarded by explosions and bullets.

The first and last frame mirror each other in a metaphorical circular narrative. 1917 won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography back in 2020, and rightly so! It’s amazing to watch.

3. The Whole Movie (Birdman)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (12)

Birdman was revolutionary for being one of the first movies to be shot all in one take—for the most part anyway. There are a few skillful cuts here and there, but the majority was truly shot in one go, including Michael Keaton running through Times Square in his underwear.

The set design of Birdman was made to work like a sort of maze, with certain locations cornered off from the public. The camera stalks Keaton throughout the set, using time-lapses and subtle editing to gloss over any obvious cuts.

The result? Pure cinematic magic. Alejandro G. Inarritu’s direction is sleek, rhythmic, and completely mind-blowing. Birdman won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

2. The Priest (Hunger)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (13)
(Video) Shot Types

This long take is the longest one on our list (excluding the whole-movie one-takes in 1917 and Birdman), clocking in at nearly twenty minutes. And what’s even more impressive is that the camera doesn’t move!

That might sound pretty lazy for a film, but that’s far from the truth. The fact that Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, and director Steve McQueen are able to hold our full attention for so long as we watch nothing more than a simple conversation? Outright genius.

The director has stunned us with his long shots several times since this one, including the unbearable hanging scene in 12 Years a Slave where Chiwetel Ejiofor barely survives on his toes for three minutes straight.

1. The Beaches of Dunkirk (Atonement)

The Long Shot Film Technique, Explained (And 8 Examples in Movies) (14)

This long shot is sure to have you in tears. Directed by Joe Wright, this single take navigates Dunkirk during the evacuations of 1940.

James McAvoy arrives as a disheveled soldier alongside two of his buddies, and aimlessly wanders the somber scene as he’s unable to take it all in.

The complex five-minute shot plays out like a dance, its deceptively simple appearance masking the behind-the-scenes intricacies and technically demanding setups.

We witness all the different ways men spend their final moments on the beach: tanning, playing football, getting drunk. A melancholy yet beautiful orchestra sings in the background. This scene in Atonement is truly a haunting wartime painting come to life.

FAQs

What is a long shot film technique? ›

Definition: Long Shot. LONG SHOT: In film, a view of a scene that is shot from a considerable distance, so that people appear as indistinct shapes. An extreme long shot is a view from an even greater distance, in which people appear as small dots in the landscape if at all (eg. a shot of New York's skyline).

What is long shot example? ›

If you describe something as a long shot, you mean that it is unlikely to succeed, but is worth trying. The deal was a long shot, but Bagley had little to lose. I thought about meeting a handsome stranger but it seemed a bit of a long shot.

Which techniques are used in movies? ›

14 Basic Cinematography & Film Techniques
  • Extreme long shot.
  • Bird's eye shot.
  • Long shot.
  • Medium shot.
  • Close up shot.
  • Extreme close up shot.
  • Dutch angle shot.
  • Over-the-shoulder shot.
6 May 2022

What is a long shot called in film? ›

A long shot is a camera shot that shows the entire subject from head to toe and places that subject in relation to their surroundings. The long shot is also called a “wide shot” or “full shot” and it's used to show the relationship between characters and their environment.

Why is it called a long shot? ›

Originating sometime in the late 1700s, the phrase refers to the likelihood of hitting a target that is very far away. Long shot came to be used in horse racing in the mid-1800s to mean a horse that had very little chance of winning. Today, not by a long shot is used in everyday language, primarily in North America.

Why are long takes used in films? ›

A common one is for an establishing shot that introduces the audience to a new scene or location. Since there aren't any cuts, a long take smoothly draws us into the space via continuous look at the setting and moving parts.

What is a long shot at Starbucks? ›

Coffee Fact

Another type of shot is lungo , which is Italian for “long.” The barista makes a lungo or “long shot” by passing more hot water through the espresso machine.

What is another word for long shot? ›

In this page you can discover 7 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for long-shot, like: long odds, fluke, lucky shot, outside-chance, chance hit, one-in-a-million and poor bed.

How many types of film shots are there? ›

The Ultimate Guide to Camera Shots (50+ Types of Shots and Angles in Film) It's easy to mix up the different types of camera shots and types of angles.

Why are film techniques used in films? ›

Film techniques, in short, are ways in which the film presents images to the viewer in order to change the audience's perception of them. Film techniques can take a few different forms, including what the camera shows, how lighting is used in a scene, and the way the film is edited.

Why is film techniques important? ›

Film techniques are used in filmmaking to create different effects. Film editing, for example, can be used to emphasize a point or show contrast between scenes. The use of film techniques is one way filmmakers can manipulate the viewer's emotions and reaction as they watch the movie unfold on screen.

How do film techniques create meaning? ›

A simple way to set the tone for your film is to use different camera angles to engage viewers on different levels. When used correctly, camera angles can create moods and encourage relationships between the characters and audience members.

How do you take a long shot? ›

How to score more long shots - tutorial - YouTube

What is medium long shot in film? ›

Medium long shot: somewhere between a medium shot and a full shot, showing the subject from the knees up. Also called a ¾ shot.

What is a long take in film quizlet? ›

The length of film exposed between each start and stop of the camera. Thus, a shot that goes on for a long time without an edit is called a "long take." During filming the same piece of action may be filmed from the same camera setup several times; each time is called a take. long take.

How long is a long take in film? ›

A long take is a single shot with a much longer duration than the conventional editing pace of a movie; long takes can last several minutes and may also incorporate movement of the camera via dolly or otherwise. Sometimes known as a "oner," a long take is designed to appear to viewers as a single, uninterrupted take.

What effect does a long shot have on the audience? ›

Also known as a full shot or a wide shot, a long shot frames the subject from head to toe. It also shows the subject in relation to the surrounding environment or to other characters. Long shots generally focus more on action and less on emotion.

How long do scenes take to film? ›

Time to Shoot a Typical Scene

A basic shoot with minimal interruptions and average complexity can generally be completed somewhere in between 2.5 and 4 hours.

Why are long takes important? ›

Long takes can display a beautiful landscape, draw you deeper into a character's situation, and at its core, the technique keeps you engaged with the screen, allowing you to see every action on screen without interruption.

What was the longest shot in 1917? ›

According to Mendes, the shortest unbroken shot was 39 seconds long, while the longest single continuous shot was 8-1/2 minutes long. Inspired by Sir Sam Mendes' grandfather's experiences in WWI: "The Autobiography of Alfred H.

How long is a short film? ›

A short film is defined as an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.

How many shots are in a long shot? ›

A long shot uses the same dose of coffee grounds as a single shot of espresso. However, you extract a long shot just a little bit longer than your usual espresso. Starbucks baristas pull a long shot at about 45 seconds, while a regular espresso is pulled at about 20 seconds.

What is long shot for coffee? ›

What is this? Long shot, also known as Lungo (Italian for short), is another method to extract coffee from ground beans using an espresso machine. It tastes a lot like a regular shot of espresso but in a larger quantity. It involves changing the quantity of water you'd use in a typical espresso recipe.

How many shots are in a long black? ›

Comparing The Three Espresso Beverages

The long black is made by pouring two shots of espresso on top of hot water.

What is the opposite of long shot? ›

Medium Shot

Medium shots are usually filmed from a middle distance and move us a little bit closer to the subject compared to the long shot. Generally, this shot is used to display characters' actions or objects acting on a character.

What is the opposite long? ›

Antonym of Long

Word. Antonym. Long. Brief, Short. Get definition and list of more Antonym and Synonym in English Grammar.

What does by far mean? ›

phrase. You use the expression by far when you are comparing something or someone with others of the same kind, in order to emphasize how great the difference is between them. For example, you can say that something is by far the best or the best by far to indicate that it is definitely the best. [emphasis]

What are the 8 elements of film? ›

What are the key elements involved:
  • Film Type.
  • Shots.
  • Camera Angles.
  • Lighting.
  • Color.
  • Sound or Audio.
  • Editing.
  • Mise-en-Scene.
3 Mar 2021

How do you analyze a shot in a movie? ›

How to analyse shot angles
  1. Identify the shot angle in the scene.
  2. Identify the general effect of the angle. Identify the atmosphere in the scene. Recall the table above. ...
  3. Ground your findings in the context of the film. Identify the film's themes. Figure out what is happening in the film. ...
  4. Write a TEEL paragraph.

How movies tell a story? ›

How Do films Tell Stories? The purpose of a film is to tell a story. Films do this by using structured narrative. Narrative does not just mean the storyline of a film, it is the methods employed to tell a story on screen, in which case we require an understanding of the film.

Which technique in making a movie is used to generate illusion? ›

Animation works by using an optical illusion. By presenting a sequence of still images in quick enough succession, the viewer interprets them as a continuous moving image.

How is color used in film? ›

Color can set the overall tone of the film. For example, the use of purple to create a sense of fantasy. Color can help the film identify character traits, such as having a greedy businessman wear green or a melancholy character wear yellow. Color can also be used to show the evolution of a character or story.

Is lighting a film technique? ›

What Is Cinematic Lighting? Cinematic lighting is a film lighting technique that goes beyond the standard three-point lighting setup to add drama, depth, and atmosphere to the story. Cinematic lighting utilizes lighting tricks like bouncing light, diffusing light, and adjusting color temperatures.

Is sound a film technique? ›

Why is sound important? Sound techniques are often taken for granted in film, but it plays a huge role in setting the scene, communicating the narrative, and letting you know how the characters are feeling. Stopping to think creatively about how you use sound in your films can help them stand out amongst all the noise.

Is imagery a film technique? ›

Imagery is a literary or film technique that evokes an emotional response in the reader or viewer. Images are the essential building blocks of any piece of visual art, including film and literature. Imagery is also important because it can influence how a reader or viewer interprets the work.

What is dialogue film technique? ›

Dialogue

A conversation between two characters is called dialogue. Written by scriptwriters to convey the film's plot, dialogue is also useful in conveying character.

Is body language a film technique? ›

An important code used by filmmakers when constructing characters. Body language becomes a technique for informing the audience about how a character feels about himself or herself, others or an event or situation. Consider facial expression, gestures, posture, position of body or hands, proxemics, etc.

What are the elements of film? ›

There are five elements of film which is narrative, cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene, and editing. These five elements help determine the film and a way to judge a film.

What is the difference between long take and long shot? ›

Significant camera movement and elaborate blocking are often elements in long takes, but not necessarily so. The term "long take" should not be confused with the term "long shot", which refers to the distance between the camera and its subject and not to the temporal length of the shot itself.

How do you score long range? ›

Do THIS to score long range goals - YouTube

How do you play shot? ›

5 Easy Tips To Increase Shot Power | Step By Step Tutorial On How To ...

Why is medium long shot used? ›

Medium shots are one of the most commonly used shot sizes in film because of their ability to capture character and other scene elements. The medium long shot is a type of medium shot that allows filmmakers to create a frame that is just a bit wider.

What is the effect of extreme long shot? ›

1. Extreme long shot. First up we have the extreme long shot. Also referred to as an extreme wide shot, it conveys contextualising information to the viewer about where the action in a scene is taking place or sets a character in their context.

What is a shot size in film? ›

Shot size means how much of the scene is included in the picture, and whether it mainly shows the setting, people in the setting, or details of faces and things. It's important to use different shot sizes in your movie.

What are the three most commonly used shots in movies? ›

Generally speaking, we can break this down into three main shot sizes: Long, Medium, and Close. Long shots (also commonly called Wide shots) show the subject from a distance, emphasizing place and location, while Close shots reveal details of the subject and highlight emotions of a character.

What are three types of shots used in filmmaking? ›

There are three different types of basic camera shots which include: the close-up, medium shot, and the long shot.

What is a documentary discuss the first documentary and its creator? ›

What is a documentary? Discuss the first documentary and its creator. A documentary is a category of film expression which is intended to depict reality. The first documentary was created by Robert Flaherty.

How do you take a long shot? ›

How to score more long shots - tutorial - YouTube

What is the difference between a long take and a long shot? ›

Significant camera movement and elaborate blocking are often elements in long takes, but not necessarily so. The term "long take" should not be confused with the term "long shot", which refers to the distance between the camera and its subject and not to the temporal length of the shot itself.

What is a long shot vs ristretto? ›

You make a ristretto with the same amount of coffee grounds as a typical shot of espresso. However, you use less water, and the extraction time is shorter. The result of this brewing process is a more concentrated drink. A long shot is brewed twice the amount of water as an espresso.

What is a long shot at Starbucks? ›

Coffee Fact

Another type of shot is lungo , which is Italian for “long.” The barista makes a lungo or “long shot” by passing more hot water through the espresso machine.

What is the importance for long shots? ›

What is a long shot? A long shot, sometimes referred to as a wide or a full shot, is a foundational type of camera shot in the cinematographer's toolbox. Long shots center your audience in the scenes they're about to witness, and understanding this camera angle is key to your success as a filmmaker.

How long is a long take in film? ›

A long take is a single shot with a much longer duration than the conventional editing pace of a movie; long takes can last several minutes and may also incorporate movement of the camera via dolly or otherwise. Sometimes known as a "oner," a long take is designed to appear to viewers as a single, uninterrupted take.

What is a medium long shot? ›

A medium long shot, also called medium full shot, is a shot that frames a character around the knees and up. A medium full shot falls between a normal medium shot and a full shot. The medium full shot is also referred to as a medium long shot, ¾ shot or a cowboy shot.

How many types of film shots are there? ›

The Ultimate Guide to Camera Shots (50+ Types of Shots and Angles in Film) It's easy to mix up the different types of camera shots and types of angles.

What is a long take in film quizlet? ›

The length of film exposed between each start and stop of the camera. Thus, a shot that goes on for a long time without an edit is called a "long take." During filming the same piece of action may be filmed from the same camera setup several times; each time is called a take. long take.

What does one shot mean in movies? ›

A one-shot cinema (also one-take film, single-take film, or continuous shot feature film) is a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera, or manufactured to give the impression it was.

What is a long shot in latte? ›

A long shot uses the same dose of coffee grounds as a single shot of espresso. However, you extract a long shot just a little bit longer than your usual espresso. Starbucks baristas pull a long shot at about 45 seconds, while a regular espresso is pulled at about 20 seconds.

What is a long shot of coffee? ›

Long shot, also known as Lungo (Italian for short), is another method to extract coffee from ground beans using an espresso machine. It tastes a lot like a regular shot of espresso but in a larger quantity. It involves changing the quantity of water you'd use in a typical espresso recipe.

What is long shot and upside down? ›

What Is The Upside Down Espresso Shot By Starbucks? If you have ordered an espresso drink from the Starbucks app, then they have a shot preparation section, which includes the upside down option you can opt for. Selecting this shot means that your espresso drink will be made in reverse and not the standard way.

How many shots are in a long black? ›

Comparing The Three Espresso Beverages

The long black is made by pouring two shots of espresso on top of hot water.

How do you make a long shot of espresso? ›

In simple terms, a long shot espresso has a shot of coffee pulled overtop a cup of hot water. History-wise, for the long shot, it comes from the Caffe Americano style of coffee, but it was the Italians who perfected it.

How much is a long shot of espresso? ›

The long shot, or lungo, is the next step up in espresso extraction. Where a ristretto uses a ratio of 1:1, and an espresso uses 1:2, a long shot uses a ratio of 1:3. This might mean 18 grams of coffee into 54 grams of liquid coffee out.

Videos

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2. How '1917' Was Filmed To Look Like One Shot | Movies Insider
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3. Ultimate Guide to Scene Transitions – Every Editing Transition Explained [The Shot List, Ep 9]
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4. How 8 Scenes Were Filmed To Look Like One Take | Movies Insider
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6. Camera Framing: Shot Composition & Cinematography Techniques Explained [The Shot List, Ep 2]
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