A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Long Shot Sequence

One of my absolute favorite filmmaking techniques is the long shot: A scene where the camera doesn’t cut away for minutes at a time. The movies Gravity and Children of Men have amazing long shots, as does Goodfellas (there are many others too).

As fascinated as I am by these scenes, I’ve never seen exactly how they’re made…until now. Thanks to the heads up from the website Slashfilm, I learned about a behind-the-scenes video showing in splitscreen format how a long shot was filmed in the show Kidding.

It’s only 2 minutes long, and I would highly recommend checking it out. The most fascinating thing to me about it–something I’d never considered–is the use of body doubles to make it seem like you’re looking at a particular actor, but you’re not really. That gives the actor some flexibility to almost be in two places at once.

I keep watching the video as I write this…it’s just incredible what they’ve achieved here. Check it out:

What stood out the most to you about the methods they used to pull this off?

11 Responses to “A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Long Shot Sequence”

  1. Joseph says:

    Thanks for posting this!!!! The opening (I think) one shot sequence in LA LA Land is INCREDIBLE (the one on the highway.)

  2. I just rewatched Baby Driver the other night. It has one of the most impressive long shots I’ve ever seen (right at the beginning of the movie after the first heist), because it’s done in sync with a song. Look very closely. There are some amazing moments, like when the lyrics sync up with graffiti right as he passes, or when he plays the trumpet right at the horn break. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYv2a_VF328

  3. foodcravejas says:

    There are so many people and they are so quick! It reminds me of the Ok Go music videos like “This too shall pass” and “The Writings on the wall”.

  4. Josh Humbert says:

    Also a big fan of the one-shot. True Detective season 1 has a pretty iconic one. Have you seen it?

  5. Charles Dionne says:

    Thanks for sharing Jamey, that was really awesome! I’m impressed by the way they managed to create such a long shot in such a small environment. The Children of Men remains the holy grail for me but as Josh mentioned, True Detective had a really great one too as did Oldboy with the hallway fight scene.

  6. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    These are all awesome examples! Here’s a video showing how the La La Land sequence was executed: https://youtu.be/GocPFyyPGLQ

  7. The one in “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” is amazing and must have been SO tricky! (Same director “Michel Gondry” I believe.)

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      You know, I’ve seen that movie a number of times–it’s one of my favorites–but I can’t think of a long shot in it. Which scene is that?

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