One-shot cinematography

A long video sequence shot in one long take by a single camera or manufactured to give the impression that it was.

A one-shot cinematography is a full-length sequence or movie either filmed in one take by a single camera or manufactured to give the impression that it was.

Use and theory

In a 2019 article, discussing the award-winning film 1917 (2019), Eric Grode of The New York Times wrote that very long takes were becoming popular in more mainstream films "as a sobering reminder of temporality, a virtuosic calling card, a self-issued challenge or all of the above", also citing the Academy Award-winner from several years prior, Birdman (2014).


Grode notes that before such films as 1917 and Birdman, the one-shot had a history of over 70 years, from 1948's Rope, which was shot in 10-minute continuous takes (the physical limit of film at the time) that appear as a one-shot. Reportedly, James Stewart, star of Rope, did not like the long takes and apparently muttered on set that the cameras were more important than the actors. The director, Alfred Hitchcock, intended to shoot the film as if it were a play, and perfectly timed each 10-minute segment to allow for hidden edits behind furniture; elaborate camera and actor choreography was used. He wrote Rope this way because he felt "if time passed between cuts, the suspense of whether the body was still in the trunk would be lost".

Grode also examines the 1958 film Touch of Evil as an example, though only its 3-minute opening sequence is shot in real-time. However, the use of a real-time ticking bomb through a single shot is seen as a standard.

also known as
  • One-take scene
  • Oner
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Last modified on June 29, 2021, 12:28 pm is a service provided by Codecide, a company located in Chicago, IL USA.