Category Archives: Section 1

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).

Eye of the Tiger Group 3 Montage

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Group Members: Jack Clancy, AJ Guff, Flo El Kumeshi, Caroline Kahlenberg, Tara Quinn.


The objective of our montage is to parody the way the term montage has come to be understood in Hollywood and the overall American film industry. We want our montage to address how this can be done successfully.

Through our readings on the theories of Pudovkin and Eisenstein in combination with our class understanding of montage, we have extrapolated Eisenstein’s formula with a twist. We employ the equation A+B=C as a means of colliding two disjunctive events to create meaning rather than narrowing in on the collision of two disjunctive shots. Given this variation of Eisenstein’s theory in conjunction with our storyline—in which two male athletes undergo intense training to open jars of peanut butter and jelly—we have constructed our own equation: Event A (training) + Event B (opening peanut butter and jelly jars) = C (parody).

In addition, we choose to convey the narrative without dialogue, but rather with music. We feel that the most effective means of communicating the narrative is contingent on the actions and expressions of the characters. Thus, playing “Eye of the Tiger” in correspondence with two athletes training guides the viewer to focus on the athletes’ actions and facial expressions. We further emphasize a viewer’s focus on the imagery through a synthesis of a series of short shots and close-up shots. Through this, we hope to overdramatize the characters’ actions, intensify their facial expressions, and capture their emotions.

We firmly believe that montage is the most effective vehicle for dramatizing and parodying film and that the long take would not have expressed our storyline properly. As mentioned above, the multitude of shots utilized in montage dramatizes characters’ actions and further constructs anticipation of what is to happen next in a scene. As a result, a series of multiple shots enables the viewer to invest his or herself in the scene and dedicate his or herself to the characters on screen. For example, the intercutting of short shots within the temporal ellipsis—which we include twice in our video—not only provides the viewer with a sense of time, but further causes the viewer to think about how the images relate to each other over time. The long take would have taken away from constructing a sense of time for the viewer and his or her anticipation of what is going to happen next.

Mary’s Cemetery: Group 1 Montage – Cagan/Carina/JP/Stephanie

Our group decided to take advantage of the possibilities of montage to create a film that explores the viewer’s perceptions of characters through different shots to create a murder mystery. We strived to create meaning in the same manner that Eisenstein suggests: through the use of opposing shots that contrast one another and create meaning. As a group we decided to shoot a murder mystery because it would best showcase the power of the montage to create suspense and engage the viewer. The quick shots in the film combined with the two different songs help create the ambience of the film.
In the beginning of the movie, the viewer sees shots of JP that are sandwiched by black screens that establish the intense, dark, and mysterious element of the movie. In this part of the film the quick shots of both JP and the cemetery help develop the idea that something is not completely right in this scene. The music, “Requiem for a Dream,” adds to the intensity as well as the impact of montage in this scene. The music gives the viewer a sense that something important or powerful is occurring during this sequence and gives the quick shots more power.
In contrast to the bold, heavy beginning of the film, the next sequence of the film is characterized by an eerily happy and normal sequence of clips. The transition from the opening sequence to the shots of three normal college students waking up to their alarms is a bit disjunctive, but serves to suggest to the viewer that these two occurrences are somehow related. In the beginning of the “routine sequence” of the film the viewer sees a quick cut of a knife which is an effective use of montage to continue the suspense of the film as well as a reference back to the earlier, more serous part of the movie.
Another way in which we used montage to manifest our ideas and contribute to our movie effectively was in the knife sequences with the characters cutting the food. These shots are a bit of a nod to the television show Dexter’s opening credit sequence, and also serve to unite the two parts of the film. The text on the screen also helped us to use montage to our advantage as well as to add some non-diegetic information to the plot of the film.
Overall, montage proved to be a challenging form of film that really is contingent upon effective editing and shot-making. The montage helped to further our story and create the kind of mystery and suspense needed to create an effective murder mystery.

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.