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Ludantia and the “Sequence shot”

Taking part in a biennial is no easy thing especially if this involves a mix of creativity, persistence and essentially, architecture. And if the aim is to include pictures using audio and video these requirements are far greater.

 

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Photo by Jorge Raedó

This is the case with the “1st Education in Architecture for Children and Young Persons International Biennial” whose aim it is to create education projects where the creative process itself is the education process.

A broad invitation to attend and take part in the biennial (which is also called “Ludantia”) whose final stage will take place in Pontevedra, Spain in April and May, 2018, has been issued.

One of the categories – and in general the whole area related to audio-visual production – takes Pablo Arellano’s “Sequence Shot” as its core idea.

What is a Sequence Shot?

This is a shot which attempts to relay all the action which occurs in a given place. There are no cuts and all the action takes place in a single shot.

Generally, the camera moves in a sequence shot – possibly on tracks or with the use of a dolly or crane – though there are also sequence shots where the camera remains still. In Ludantia, the sequence shot may even be produced with the use of a mobile phone.

What then are the reasons for using sequence shots? The answer to this, generally, is because they are the closest thing to real life. In real life, there are no cuts – we do not go from a general shot to a close up and from there to a medium distance shot.

aaludantia_letras-amarillo-cut_low-2Our life is continuous as is the sequence shot. For this reason, many directors use it because the passage of time can be better appreciated.

The sequence shot requires the coordination of the entire team: actors, photography team, sound technicians… Everyone has to be working throughout the entire shot. For a successful outcome, several attempted shots, one after the other, are usually needed until the coordination is perfect.

Several films, full length movies and documentaries (which can be viewed in class) demonstrate the use of the Sequence Shot:

“Touch of evil” by Orson Wells. This is one of cinema’s famous Sequence Shots. The camera is mounted on a car or a crane and moves throughout the city following both the car and the couple as they walk around.

“Nostalgia” by Andrei Tarkovski. This is a perfect example of how the passage of time is evident in a great Sequence Shot. Its use here reinforces the difficulty of what the film’s main character is attempting to achieve.

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Photo: Pixabay

“Prologue” by Bela Tarr. This Hungarian director is one of today’s great masters of the sequence shot. In this short film, she combines two at times contradictory movements.

The film begins with stationary subjects and the camera moving constantly; and towards the end the camera stops and the subjects start to move.

It is a sublime reflexion on her vision of Europe which showcases, thanks to this choreography and the use of music, one of her great virtues: that of using cinema to transport the watcher into a dream like state. Hypnotic cinema.

“Sunday” by Nacho Vigalondo. This is a comedy short film made up of a single Sequence Shot. A lesson in simplicity and economy as regards the use of resources.

“Eat my dust” by Nicholas Boone. As part of a cinema workshop in a South African township Boone produces this short film-sequence shot in which the entire community takes part.

“Passinho na Cidade Alta” (“Short walk in Cidade Alta”). This is a Youtube Video by an amateur produced in Cidade Alta, a favela in Rio de Janeiro. It is a sequence shot with still camera and moving subjects.

aaludantia_letras-amarillo-cut_low-1“Cavalo dinheiro” (“Horse money”). The trailer of this movie by Pedro Costa is a composition of shots of stationary subjects with still camera, all filmed as a sequence shot.

“En el movimiento del paisaje” (“In the landscape’s movement”) is a work of video art by Lois Patiño using Sequence Shot with still camera and moving subject.

Production Proposal

Divided into groups, students will devise a sequence shot. The groups will organise themselves into those who write, those who direct, those who act and those who operate the camera. For this, they will carry out the same stages as those carried out during professional film production: Writing, Screenplay, Shooting and Showing.

  • Writing the piece which is the basis of their sequence shot: students will have to design a scene which they will later film. It is important that they are able to describe in as much detail as is possible all the elements which are to appear in the sequence shot (clothes, props, colour, light, etc.) in addition to the acting and scripts. Imagining the story as they attempt to act out the scene is of help when it comes to seeing whether the actors’ lines and acting work. Each Sequence Shot must have its own title.
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    Photo: Pixabay

    To be prepared when the time comes to start filming, students will adapt the script they have devised for the purposes of filming.F or this, they will write down the camera movements which are to be made during filming of the sequence shot and map out on paper a plan of the area where they will film, marking on this plan the movements of actors and camera. In addition, they will note down the props they need for filming (i.e. red forestage, pretend gun and tomato sauce).

  • into those who direct the scene, those who operate the camera and those who act. Each team will have a total of five takes to film their Sequence Shot.
  • The Sequence Shots will be shown in class and pupils will vote for the best one. The Sequence Shot is a difficult undertaking which requires a lot of concentration, group work and choreographing and it usually produces very real and interesting results.

(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – nigelconibear@gmail.com)

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