Video Essay Explores The Downside of Cinematic Long Takes

Long continuous shots. Long takes. Oners. Call them whatever you want, but film fans love intricately choreographed shots that cause our minds to reel at the logistics of how directors and cinematographers worked to capture certain moments on film. I get a visceral thrill when I'm sitting in a movie and I realize that I've been watching the same shot go on without a cut for an extended period of time, and I sit there with a dumb grin on my face and wonder how it will stack up in the pantheon of long takes from movies like Goodfellas, The Player, Touch of Evil, and True Detective.

But this video essay from Now You See It shows some of the downsides of these kinds of shots, and offers suggestions about the power of more traditional editing that these shots, by their very nature, are unable to utilize. Basically it all boils down to: do the best thing for the story you're telling. But it's interesting to hear Alfred Hitchcock, who directed one of the most famous long-take movies ever with Rope, later denounce the process. Check it out:

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