Friday, April 25, 2008

The Long Take: "The Office"

I'm such a sucker for the long take.

I find it thrilling to see several parts of a film production working together, seamlessly, to produce a single, long, uninterrupted piece of film. Not only to the actors have to be on their game (and not rely on cuts to 'cover' their performance), but every single other discipline on set has to be carefully choreographed and synchronized to make the shot work. These long takes are extremely time consuming to prep, and subsequent resets also eat up a lot of production time, so all departments really have to be on their game when shooting these uninterrupted cuts.

This long take from "The Office" (episode 'Dunder-Mifflin Infinity, Part Two') illustrates some amazing choreography between actors, special effects, cinematography and camera work. Not only is the clip funny, but it's actually suspenseful and exciting, too, especially because of the faux-documentary style of the show.

We'll have more coverage of long takes in film and television in the future. Hopefully.

As a side note: as much as I despise NBC Universal's business practices recently, I must admit that Hulu is pretty darn sweet.


Mike said...

Long takes are great! My favorites are the hospital scene in John Woo's Hard Boiled, the three long takes in Children of Men, and even in last season's Rescue Me. The first two have slews of bullet hits and the second one fire effects which just adds to the effort. (And Brian DePalma always has a good long take or two in his flicks.)

Daniel said...

"We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamd within the United States. For more information on Hulu's international availability, click here."

That's sad. I really wanted to watch that shot. I love the office and long takes too, but I don't remember being amazed by a long shot in it. I guess that's because when you're in the story, you're not so conciously aware of the technicalities...

Anybody with an alternate link to this clip?

Todd said...

Sorry, Daniel. I wasn't aware that Hulu clips are not viewable outside the United States. (What did I just say about NBC Universal?)

I haven't found a YouTube clip of the shot yet, but I'll stay on the hunt and if I find it I'll link to it.


Aaron said...

Yes I agree about long takes - I LOVED how they put together the scenes in Children of Men to make it look like it was one long take.