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The How and Why of Filming A Continuous Shot (a short version)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The How and Why of Filming A Continuous Shot

(a short version)


First, if you have not seen Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Rope, put it on your to-do list for this weekend…



What Is A Continuous Shot?

A continuous shot, or “one-shot” film is a full-length movie that is filmed using one (very) long single camera shot. Or, one may manufacture several shots together in order to give the impression and feel of a one-shot film (but we’re not talking about that type of continuous shot today).


Why Do Directors Film One-Shots?

Why do directors film in continuous (one-shot) shot? There are a lot of reasons why a director may shoot their movie in one-shot. A few reasons, are that continuous shot filming adds drama, and that extra suspense we all love (and sometimes dislike). By not giving an audience some relief with a scene change or cut, it creates more suspense and that on-the-edge-of-your-seat feeling. It’s like taking a deep breath and having to hold it in for two hours. In less of a theatrical sense, it can also be less expensive to shoot a continuous shot. However, it takes a lot of preparation, dedication, rehearsals, and knowing what you are doing.



How Do You Film In A Continuous Shot or “Oner”?

There are several elements that go into shooting a continuous shot. As we mentioned above, there is a lot of preparation that goes into filming a oner. For “one” thing, you have to know what kind of rig or equipment you are going to place your camera on in order to make it mobile. Which leads us into, knowing what kind of movements you want your camera to make. The two almost go hand-in-hand. Knowing what type of movements you want your camera to make will give you an idea of what equipment you will use to mount your camera on.


Think About Your Composition.

When thinking composition when filming, you are going to be thinking about the frame of the image and how the elements are placed and/or appear in the frame. Why is it so important to think of composition when filming continuous shots? It’s important to think of composition when filming continuous shots because you need to know where the lighting will be, where your actors are going to stand or move within the scene, where your props will be placed, what kind of costumes/wardrobe your actors will be wearing, and how you will move your camera around all of these (and more) elements.



Here’s a cool little video of continuous shot films and scenes.

https://youtu.be/17UQz7ANv-o


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