Category Archives: Long Take

Teenage Dreaming — Long Take

Teenage Dreaming — Long Take

We tell the story of a college couple and the way they interact with one another. We approached this from the female perspective, highlighting the artificiality of societies construction of femininity. We achieved this using hyperbolic comedy to avoid melodramatics, which may have detracted from the message. This particular situation demonstrates a female’s reaction to social norms: the male in the scene does not require her to prepare herself like she does (as his surprise at her beauty shows).

In the first shot, the mise en scene establishes the background of the plot and setting. The two characters sleeping together in the bed shows that they are in a romantic relationship; the computer background suggests this relationship is long term. Then, the female quietly leaves the room thereby beginning the plot of the short story.

The next several shots show the female arduously preparing herself for the day. She goes through each step methodically – from showering to preparing her hair to applying make up. The time lapse, created through the drying of her hair, confirms that this process is indeed long and premeditated. Her cheerful demeanor and upbeat singing during the process suggests that she enjoys it. So then, this demonstrates that she actually enjoys fulfilling the social constructions, adding a layer of complexity to the analysis.

Finally she finishes with her routine and makes her way back towards the room. There she proceeds to climb back into bed and momentarily fall asleep before she once again wakes up in the loving arms of her boyfriend. He comments on her appearance and how he can’t believe she maintains such a constant state of beauty. Naturally she appears to dismiss his compliment although the viewer knows that it is the reaction she is looking for, fulfilling once again another successful morning.

Through our short series of long takes we hope to convey the humor behind the main characters mourning routine as well as how it is impacted on a larger scale by society. The female in no way is regretful of how she lives her life as a modern woman, in fact she enjoys it and doesn’t see it as something imposed on her by her culture. Notably, long takes are instrumental in conveying just how arduous the process is: a montage would make her morning routine seem easier and intrinsically enjoyable (rather than enjoyable because it makes her look better for her boyfriend).



Long take. Michalengolo Antonioni? Andrei Tarkovsky?  Yes, but not only. We say M. Night Shyamalan and Quentin Tarantino.  We say section two group two long take!  We say suspense, experimentalism, and mystery.

Long takes are rare because of their relatively high expense and complexity.  Usually long takes are carefully constructed, but what if we wanted to put the long take in charge and see where it would take us? We are not afraid to use bare corridors, to forego a sound track, and to use a minimalistic mise en scene to take the viewer on an emotional roller coaster ride.  The familiar setting where the plot unfolds causes the viewer to believe that there is no way anything extra-ordinary waiting to unfold. However, the power of the Long Take transforms this seemingly innocent and common backdrop into an uncanny and preternaturally strange stage that projects the emotions of the protagonist on the un-expecting viewers. Furthermore, it is estimated that any shot longer than about fifteen seconds will seem lethargic to viewers from Western cultures, but, we are here to challenge your perception and your viewing habits!

Long take is more than a technique; it is real time cinema that interpolates the viewer into the narrative of the film experience unfolding before them.  Thus, with Long Take, we as cinematic voyagers have the unique opportunity to connect with the diegetic world on a level much more intimate than any other form of film.  Every second our emotional investment in the shot increases exponentially; we become enthralled with each wave of  emotion that crashes down upon the protagonist.

The secrets of the all powerful Long Take will not come so easily to you.  Watch!  And you will experience the magic.  One thing can be said: we do not recommend wandering around dark hallways—alone.

— Shushana Manakhimova, Brian Parker, Dylan Kane, Matthew Rea



The Montage vs. Long take Wars is on ongoing battle. As we approach the Day of Judgment — as to whether or not Montage or Long take will be crowned champion — we grow more and more nervous by the minute but realize we have grown knowledgeable of the film process. Our idea began with a revelation: bank robbery.  We decided the vicious cycle of humdrum overuse of montage in intense, suspenseful action sequences must end with our masterful creation. The second step in our adventure to create a masterpiece took form with the first meeting of the brilliant minds of Angie, Ben, Emily, and last but certainly not least, Thomas. The brilliance of us four masterminds intimidated us at first, but they managed to channel the fear into a competition to come up with the best idea. But despite a competitive intellectual atmosphere there was a 100% collaborative camaraderie that gripped us all.

After the story boards were drawn and the actors were prepared, we trudged out into the freezing cold with nothing but victory and greatness on our minds. As we taped the words “Town Bank” onto the large mahogany doors of Axinn Center, the red Prius gleamed in all its splendor, reflecting the image of the sun for all to see. Soon we were off, shooting every image we deemed appropriate for up 25 seconds or more. We pushed onward to scenes taking place inside a simulated vault where our very own Angie would pose as a stunning Bank Teller that was filled with fear while at the mercy of a furious robber. Soon we were done shooting all the scenes, long and proud and ready for the chopping block that was Final Cut Express.

Following the transition from the Flip camera to computer, we faced many trials and tribulations. Dealing with the fatigue and anxiety of the weeks passed and our near future, we quickly grew weary of the editing process. However, our determination and perseverance, coupled with our wit and skilled hand, would soon pour onto the computer screens of the Macs in Axinn 105. “Brilliance,” we shouted as we orchestrated the final steps of our journey. We celebrated, doing the Stanky Leg.



Oh yeah, then we uploaded it.



3:00 minutes

original cut:

Blink: A Meditation

It is premeditated. You know what to do. You look at a piece of paper, pick it up, hold it within purview and start writing. Expectations of what you might scribble have already constructed themselves in the cobwebs of your mind. You anticipate writing about a film project and its constituents. This is routine[1]. It is an assignment, it is something you are required to do, something that you have to write, read or assess. It does not have to be conscious; it just has to be done. You flip through your notes, words jump out at you and you feel an overwhelming urge to hold them in your palm and let them flow through your pen to paper. Your lips emit verbal diarrhea, attempting to lock into words of cumulative meaning, the knowledge we absorb week after week. Jargon, technicalities, industry speak: synchronousextradiegeticinterpellationintertextsemioticsmiseenscenesymbollongtake.

Not this time though, no, no, no.

This time you will take it slow. You will pause amidst the madness and chaos that is the daily routine we live and perform. You will open your eyes in the morning but not like you’ve done everyday for the past six thousand nine hundred and thirty five days[2]. You will open your eyes with the awareness that you are an intelligent, living, breathing miracle. As you, one in twenty four hundred, brush your teeth, get dressed looking out over the Vermont countryside, walk out into the invariably brisk air, you realize that even though your actions feel mundane, routine, and ordinary, it “doesn’t make [your] actions meaningless.” You will pause before you make the beeline for the cereals to beam a quick smile at the workers who put breakfast together for you. You are entirely encapsulated in the March breeze, drifting towards a classroom where knowledge is served on a shiny silver platter for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You will live, entirely and exuberantly in the silences. In the spaces between the series of seemingly mundane actions and events that clutter your every day, you will seek solace. In those moments, you will be fully conscious of the footsteps you leave behind as you wander into new terrain, shoe shaped holes in deep earth. You will listen to minute melodies as they wrap themselves around you: doors creaking, a clock ticking away, students laughing at a distance, clatter of plates, sighs. As darkness settles into its comfy bed, so do you beneath your aqua sheets.

And that’s when you realize, “the world doesn’t just disappear when you close your eyes.” You don’t miss a thing when you blink, you only see farther and farther into the mysteries of tomorrows.

Free yourself from the rout(e) you are stuck in.

Conceived by:

Jacquelyn Breckenridge

Spencer Petterson

Alexandra Edel

Rhubini Kunasegaran

[1] Routine (noun): a habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure.

[2] Nineteen years.


Feed Your Hunger: Biructait, Missan, Danielle, Carson

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.

Section A Group 3 – Long Take – Nate, Eyal, Sinead, Nick

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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.

Sinead Keirans
Eyal Levy
Nate Sans
Nicholas Smaller

(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.