There is at least one cut in the first, seemingly one-shot sequence.
The duration of the sequence is a bit of a giveaway. At thirteen or so
minutes, it's just beyond the eleven-minute constraint of the standard
The first two minutes encompass a shot that tilts down from the
Millennium Dome to a reporter, pans away and zooms in on the owner
of the casino, tracks left to a monitor, then pans away and centres
Rick (Nic Cage) in frame. This shot involves integrated tracking,
panning and zooming all from one camera position.
Now there is a wipe-by cut made just as (or just before; I'm putting
this together from old notes) Rick walks down the stairs. Across the cut
the camera position jumps back a few feet and it looks like a wider
lens is employed. Once you know what to look for it should be quite
easy to spot. When you see it a few times you and your student may not
even think the cut is all that subtle!
The second and much longer shot is a mobile Steadicam shot following,
and occasionally disengaging, from Rick. During this shot there are a
few pillars that pass through the foreground of the frame. I've looked
long and hard at those moments and I don't think there are any
convenient cuts made. But given how smooth those wipe-cuts can be, I
could easily be wrong.
From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Delwiche, Aaron
Sent: Thursday, 6 October 2005 4:20 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SCREEN-L] Length of opening shot in SNAKE EYES
During this morning's lecture on cinematography, I showed the opening of
SNAKE EYES (Brian De Palma, 1998) as an illustration of an extremely
long tracking shot. It seemed to me that the opening shot is sustained,
without cuts, until the assassination scene. However, one of my students
insisted that he noticed some subtle cuts.
I've been watching the clip closely, and was wondering if anyone else
has looked into this topic. Exactly how long is the opening shot?
Aaron Delwiche, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
715 Stadium Drive
San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
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