Life occurs in a long take. Therefore, the best way to portray realism is through long takes. Our group chose to take on the challenge of portraying the reality of college life – the trials and tribulations of being a college student. The opening shot shows two tired and apathetic students being joined, finally, by the third member of the group. The camera follows the latecomer into the room, giving a sense of haste and aligning the audience with his character. The dialogue suggests immediately that Carson is disconnected from the group, a fact that is further emphasized by the close-up of his face wearing a dreamy look, with the universally recognizable gesture of chin-scratching signaling deep thought. The sound in this take is diegetic, further contributing to the sense of realism.
The second take signals the beginning of a daydream. We have de-saturated the footage to make the transition from the real world to the dream world readily apparent to the audience. Like the end of the first take, this second take begins with a close-up of Carson’s face. The graphic match of these two images serves to further align the audience with his character and show that the transition occurred in his mind. The sound in this take is, unlike the first, nondiegetic. This also serves signal a dream world when considering the contrast between the first take and this second.
The third take pays homage to season one, episode six of Mad Men. The music is the same as that used during the lipstick focus group scene of the episode. The framing and speed of our take are different, but Carson makes eye contact with the camera just as Peggy does. The jarring effect that Peggy had upon us the viewer is recreated to at least a small degree in our shot. Additionally, both Peggy’s and Carson’s tasks are mundane and complimented by the music in similar ways. The length of the take and the sensuality with which Carson treats his sandwich are designed to be humorous and make the audience slightly uncomfortable.
The final take presents a somewhat harsh transition out of the dream world, preempting the transition that Carson is about to make. The take is fairly straightforward, recreating the mise en scene of the first take. The sound is once again strictly diegetic. The end of the take functions as yet another homage to season one, episode six of Mad Men. The picture cuts off and the audience is left just with the sounds of the students exiting the room as the credits roll across the screen. While the mood is certainly quite different from that portrayed in Mad Men, we liked the effect and thought that it complemented well the humorous tone of the video.
The unique form of long take allowed our group to better portray a sense of realism, more specifically the reality of film class students here at Middlebury. Our goal to overplay the mundane activity of making and eating a sandwich in Procter through the use of sensual music and odd interactions between actor, sandwich and camera was aided by the awkwardly long duration of long take shots. In our case, the long take structure was humor’s best friend.