Nate Sans, Nick Smaller, Eyal Levy, Sinead Keirans.
We watch Claudia wander while waiting for Sandro and we feel her impatience. Slowly, as she moves through the area we feel her unease as we, and she, realize that men are everywhere. These men observe her and we feel threatened in one moment, like Claudia, as a balcony of men looking down on us is revealed from her perspective. But the next moment we are the spectators as we are watch with the lurking men, conscious of the striking woman’s presence among us.
Or we watch Michaela engage directly with the camera, describing the need for a leader for Public Safety, as we watch Officer Ben draw on the window in the condensation from his own breath and Officer Adam’s great concern with getting coffee. We feel her frustration and her embarrassment at the spectacle behind her as she strives for professionalism.
Whether employed by Michelangelo Antonioni in L’Avventura or by Otter Nonsense Productions in Public Safety, the long take helps viewers to understand and feel the perspective and personality of characters. The virtues of the long take used in these two examples, such as creating discomfort and other emotions for the viewers, aligning them with a character through point of view shots or interactions with others, having something revealed through a pan or a tilt, or having someone speak to the camera, create attachment and understanding of characters. Montage does not allow an audience to connect in that way with a character, to feel for them and with them.
In our short film, we used long take and the elements of mise-en-scene to create this connection. Nate’s speech reveals his desire to be liked, his problems with communication, and his need to please others as he describes his call-in radio show. Eyal’s interview emphasizes his egotism and reveals his careless criticism of other people. Nate’s track jacket shows him to be part of a team and his green flannel shirt (so characteristic of a college student) concisely conveys his desire to fit in. Eyal’s dominance in his dark shots emphasizes his dark personality while Nate is shot in bright light, suggesting his openness, and tends to be dwarfed by his surroundings as he remains in the middle ground showing his powerlessness. The point of view shot when Nate realizes that his girlfriend is with his roommate aligns the audience even more closely with him and they feel his urgency and surprise at this discovery, further emphasized by the violence of the music.
Our film would not have worked in a montage format; montage is not suited to this level of character development and the creation of attachment because the shots hardly allow us to comprehend a character. Quick flashes of personalities do not inspire this same understanding. Thus, long take is superior to montage when the primary concern is character development. We believe that long take was the best way to convey this picture of betrayal and have an audience truly understand it.
(most recently uploaded video)
Edited to include version with credits (at MiddMedia). I maxed out my upload limit for the week on Vimeo, so there is no credited version on Vimeo.