OK Go masters the long take
22 March 2011
Need some happy? Watch this video with the great power-pop song, “Here It Goes Again,” but mostly because the group OK Go does the best choreography using treadmills. And it’s done in one long, long take.
This shows so clearly why the long take is so jaw-dropping: you realize they haven’t used editing to white-out the flubups. The guys in OK Go know this routine backwards & forwards (and it’s complicated!); back in the 1930s Fred Astaire used to use the same technique, which demanded that he film dozens of takes of a dance sequence showing the dancers at full-length. He filmed so many takes that Ginger Rogers’ feet would bleed from the blisters. Here’s a very short clip of Astaire and Rogers from Roberta (1935):
It’s not just that long take “proves” they really did know their stuff so well. There’s some part of us moviegoers (or video watchers) that tends to disbelieve, even when we want to believe. The long take is a great reminder that movies can make our jaws drop with their choreography, a careful planning that we don’t even realize consciously till someone points out that it’s been done in a single take. I could go on and on about amazing long takes from film history — the granddaddy of all long takes, from Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958), or the opening shot from Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), or so many others (do a search for “long take” on YouTube and you’ll find examples). But now I just want to watch men on treadmills again.