Single Shot Film Technique - Omega Broadcast & Cinema

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Single Shot Film Technique

Single Shot Film Technique

Shot in production refers to the moment the camera starts rolling to the time it stops. There are several types of shots used in filming, which include long shots, zoom shots, close-up shots, among others, while filming, several cameras can be used in what is known as the multiple-camera technique or single-camera technique where one camera is used for shots. It is a common phenomenon for films to be comprised of several shots edited and put together. However, some utilize the use of a shot that lasts longer than the conventional timeline. The result is a one shot film or a single shot film.


The single shot film technique involves filming in long takes using a single camera or created to give the impression that it was. Shooting using these techniques comes with lots of challenges that can only be pulled off by the best digital cameras. When the character moves, the camera moves, which means the lighting and angles change. Despite any challenge, as things continue to happen, the camera must keep shooting. A slight mistake means starting all over again, and this is why shooting is challenging and expensive. The final footage hardly makes it out of the editing room intact.

The technique used to be common earlier before the introduction of multiple camera techniques and the art of pre-shooting became famous. However, single shot filming is still utilized in some TV shows. Nevertheless, the technology advancement has made this shooting simple. In fact, some are shot in small takes then carefully combined through editing or the use of CGI.

The art of single shot filming has its moments, and apart from demanding more of the audience and the crew for a successful project, the action still proves difficult to film. Here are things to consider, which also double up as challenges filmmakers face:

Blocking – The movement of the camera is significant. There is a possibility of failure, which is heightened as soon as the camera and audio crew starts moving.
Actors – If players are not comfortable working this way, you will have problems. Single shot filming requires lots of patience. It is important that all the actors are ready and fully rehearsed.
Lighting – It changes a lot during movements. Finding spots for lighting instruments is mandatory. Consider ceilings and bumping up practicals if you are shooting in an interior space.
Equipment – Single shot filming demands the use of additional gear. Making sure that you have all the right equipment including Steadicams, decent audio, among others.
Crew – As you shoot, ensure that you give your team a break. Don’t just have a go without letting others have time to breathe.

Choosing to film using a single take results in a slow movie, which shouldn’t necessarily be boring. If done the right way, the result could be a masterpiece and on the same level as the films Children of Men (2006), Timecode (2000), Victoria (2015), among others.


Apr 19th 2018

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