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June 2001, Week 1


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Rina Sherman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Jun 2001 17:35:04 +0100
text/plain (73 lines)
>In a message dated 6/5/01 5:58:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
>[log in to unmask] writes:
>> the effect of aesthetic decisions (for example, long takes
>> don't work the same in video as in film)" . . .
>> can someone explain why a long take on film should be
>> significantly different in aesthetic quality than a long
>> take on video
>He's wrong.
>He's talking about the visual quality and the nature of the physical elements
>of the two mediums. It does not matter at your level and would be wrong for
>you to focus on it.
>A long take works in both mediums if the goal is to understand film story
>telling technique and NOT to put together your DP reel for a job on

There is in film grammar a type of shot known as 'plan sequence' or
sequence shot I suppose one could say in English. This is not only a long
shot but rather a shot in which the filmmaker includes elements (or is
aware of) of editing (such as angle changes when and if justified or
following action) within the shot. In early 16mm filming 'plan sequence'
lenths would be determined by the type of camera. E.g. in Rouch's Les
maitres fous, no shot was longer than 25 or 30 seconds because that was the
maximum length allowed by the rewind Baulieu camera non synch sound system
he used. Later with the Eclair and Aaton cameras in France, sequence shots
could last up to 10 or 12 minutes depending on how economically one loaded
one's magazines, i.e. if the action justified the shot to last that long
and if the arms could bear the weight for that long. The difference came
with hour long (or more) video tapes that require no loading and are cheap.
It leads people to record indiscriminately, and to record endless talking
head shots from and to which they would cut repeatedly, giving video films
that distinct pale look of having to see the same shot again and again, the
tv look. In film it is not possible to do that, the magazine does not last
that long, it is expensive to just let it roll and roll for in case
something happens. It is not because one has hours and hours of footage
that there will necessarily be film at the end. Filming should only happen
when the focus is there strongly enough to make the film maker feel that
this is essential for my film. Film and video are as similar and as
different as oil and aquarelle painting.
Recent video editing techniques (Media 100, Avid, Final Cut Pro) draw from
the film environment in terms of method and visual icons, but it is not
because one can have several versions of one film at the push of a button
that the end result will be better, editorial work, be it writing or
editing requires creativity and that requires time.
I would say anyone seriously interested in film studies should do
photography (B&W), film 16 mm if not 35 mm and digitial imaging.
One could not call a film course 'film' and then teach video.


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