Saturday, May 19, 2007

(Heart) Long tracking shots.

One of the big thrills of watching a film is the long tracking shot. When I am watching a film, I often become aware that there have been NO cuts, just one long shot. When I see that happening, I tend to elbow my film companion and whisper, one shot, its still going, look, look! My film companion is usually not appreciative of the elbow or the comment. With CGI today, the ethics of the long shot become compromised. I am talking about tracking shots with no CGI. Great fun.

There are long tracking scenes that are famous, of course. Haskell Wexler's 1976 Steadicam shot at the opening of "Bound for Glory," the biographical film about Woody Guthrie, is one of the greats. The Daily Film Dose site provides a terrific roundup of some good ones. Most recently, in "Children of Men," the filmmakers constructed a 12 minute segment that is worth the ticket price, alone. Orson Wells' 1958 film, "Touch of Evil" with our hero Charlton Heston, is another delight. Ticking bomb in the trunk of a car! Just as Heston is about to kiss Susie, BOOM!

Scroll down to the comments on the above link and read the enthusiastic responses of those who love the long tracking shot and suggest others for your appreciation. Yes, long tracking shots are usually audacious, self-congratulatory exercises---gymnastics of the ego---but, they are such fun. Those that integrate well with the logic of the scene are especially satisfying. "Touch of Evil," below is one of those.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep on Tracking !!! good entry. Matt