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Old August 22nd, 2002, 03:21 AM   #1
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Interesting: 90 min. DV movie shot in one take

It's called Russion Ark

http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=13053

quote: " It's sad that the film is most well known for the fact that it is a 90 minute single take - which in itself is a major technical achievement. I believe the film was shot on DV, then probably blown up to film. There are several digitally manipulated zooms which make for 'digitally induced vertigo effects' - they're very subtle, but noticeable. In this film however, you can forgive the filmmakers for ever relying on digital effects occasionally they did manage to co-ordinate thousands of extras in one single take for 90 minutes "

Amazing!

Some more information on it:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e...0mb-ft.aol.com

Shot directly to harddisk!
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 09:42 AM   #2
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wow!
i've seen one song movie (Elton John i want love) which seems to be taken in one shot, but that was some 4min long. 90 min in one shot, amazing!

Margus
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 11:29 AM   #3
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Rob:

I have read previously about this project. It was shot in a single, 90 minute take on a Steadicam-mounted HD camera.

Although I am curious about the results of such an undertaking, I have read some interviews with the director in which he has made some blatantly pompous and unforgiveable statements to the effect that "no Steadicam operator in the world has the artistic understanding to achieve what I wanted, they are merely technicians". I can't find the particular article at the moment, if I can I would link it. He granted that his operator (a German gent who did, amongst other things, Run Lola Run) worked very hard but still insisted on blasting him and the rest of us as being unable to perceive and execute his obviously super-human artistry.
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 11:59 AM   #4
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Charles,
huh,
i've tried stedicam suit a couple of times, it's really hard job
if i were in op-s skin, i'd offer that director to do shooting work himself. 90min with stedicam and constant focusing to the shot can kill even the best op i think (and HDCAM camera is'nt the lightest to carry)

Margus
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 04:57 PM   #5
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Have not seen the film. Salute to the operator for staying in there for the whole 90 (phew!). Doing a film in one takes does not seem like a very fresh concept. No undertaking of that kind has still come close to Hitchcocks Rope. I've seen at least three other films based on the idea of letting the camera run without ever once cutting.

The risk of visual trickery over story is risky... WHY did they shoot it in one take (I hope it's not because they can)?
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 06:00 PM   #6
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I thought "Rope" was multi take filmed to look like one take? I heard that they could really only get about 15minutes of tape in the camera so had to rely on little effects to make it look seamless.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 03:53 AM   #7
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"Rope" was a series of ten minute takes (1000 ft of film per take) joined by a series of wipes and dissolves, some more seamless than others.

I think Martin brings up a valid point, which is that the choice to make a shot last 90 minutes, 20 minutes, 4 minutes, even 1 minute without a cut is a significant one. Creating a rhythm in a long take is a particularly sophisticated achievement, and sustaining the viewer's interest for that length of time is an even greater challenge than choregraphing such an event.

I have, over the years, shot my share of "full mag" (i.e. up to 4 minute) Steadicam shots in features, episodic and music videos. Very few of them have been so well-designed that a cut would have been an intrusion. As an example, I operated one in a movie called "Big Fat Liar" which comes out on DVD next month. It tracked a single character who was engaged in various conversations while walking around a full city block. What made it interesting was that there was a definite character arc that was realized by seeing him interact with these other characters, and the continuous nature of the shot complemented this. We heard that the head of Universal noticed the shot when the dailies were being screened, went nuts over it, and had a group of other executives brought in to view the shot. I can't really take any credit for it, because the director and the DP designed it, but I was happy to have been part of the process.

The point of this story is that when the movie came out, the shot had been chopped in half, the second part left on the cutting room floor (as the now-antiquated expression goes). I was a bit despondent, but the director explained that it disrupted the flow of the film and the test audiences (mostly young teenagers) were getting restless. This made a lot of sense to me. Fortunately I hear that the shot is restored to full length in the extras section of the DVD! Another similar occurence was in "Out of Sight", (which I did not work on). The scene in which George Clooney and J. Lo were trapped in the trunk of a moving car was originally shot as a single long take with no coverage, but in testing Soderbergh felt that the audience lost the pace of the film and the scene was reshot with various angles. It's all on the DVD, and it's very clear upon viewing how much better the scene is for the revision.

And yes, Margus, I think that director really wished he could have operated the shot in "Russian Ark" himself, but was aware that it was too physical a job. Apparently he considers us all a bunch of slack-jawed pack mules hauling a camera around a set. Whatever...
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 06:33 AM   #8
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I don't know exactly why they did it. I think it was because of
an artistic challenge (make a feature length movie in one shot).
I do find it very intruiqing and I hope it will come out on DVD
sometime so that I can see it. If they've done it right it should
not have to be too boring or long winded. It would be interesting
to see what they did with the concept at least.

Thanks for sharing your story Charles. If my local DVD rental
house has "Big Fat Liar" I'll sure to check it out. Out of Sight
was a nice movie which I have the DVD off. I know the scene
your talking about and think I'll rewatch it sometime next week.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 04:22 PM   #9
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Yeah it will be intesting to see.

Man, I get the heebies even thinking about the possibility of dropped frames in a shot like that! :)
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Old August 24th, 2002, 06:41 AM   #10
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I'd get the heebies if my only option was to shoot it in 35mm (like Rope). No tape in the camera in those days.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 02:10 AM   #11
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Martin, it was shot directly to harddisk. So no tape as well :)
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Old August 26th, 2002, 04:26 AM   #12
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>Martin, it was shot directly to harddisk. So no tape as well :)
yeah, one more thing what probably made shooting even more complex. They had to carry huge capacity harddisk box (900GB if my calculations are correct) and batteries for that anywhere where camera went. Or did they have some wireless solution?

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Old August 26th, 2002, 08:11 AM   #13
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There was a single cable involved. On one of the web sites that has information you can see the cable hanging off the Steadicam. The drive still would probably have to have been transported around the set at a distance from the camera, I imagine.

I'm surprised it was ONLY 900 GB for 90 minutes of HD!
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Old August 26th, 2002, 08:52 AM   #14
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i'm not sure, uncomp. HD should be 1.5Gb/sec, 100 min=6000sec, 9000Gb should be somewh. near 1000GB (i'm not strong in these bit/bait things)
just thought that there were no cables around stedicam allowed, but seems op had one more thing to watch out: to not film cable.

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Old August 26th, 2002, 01:15 PM   #15
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Don't know if it was uncompressed or not. Charles, do you have
a link to that site/article with pictures and information? I'd love
to see some pictures.

Thanks.
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