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Long Take vs. Single Shot – The Latter’s Effect on Viewers

The single shot and the long take are two of the most talked-about techniques in filmmaking. Both are vital to creating engaging and captivating films, but they are also very different from one another.

Here, our Manchester video production team gives you a glimpse of the differences between the two and how the single shot, in particular, can affect the viewer:

What Is a Single Shot?

The single shot is a technique of filming a single continuous take of a scene, usually with a stationary camera. This technique has been used in movies since the early days of filmmaking, and it is often used to create a sense of realism in a scene.

What Is a Long Take?

The long take, on the other hand, is a technique of filming a single continuous take that lasts significantly longer than a single shot. This technique is often used to create a sense of suspense or to emphasize a particular moment in a scene.

How Is the Single Shot Different from the Long Take?

The primary difference between a single shot and a long take is the length of time the camera is recording. Single shots are usually only a few seconds in length, while long takes can range anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. Another important distinction between the two techniques is that single shots are generally static shots, meaning the camera remains fixed in one position and does not move. Long takes, on the other hand, can be static or involve camera movement.

Both single shots and long takes can be used to create a wide range of moods and emotions. Single shots have a tendency to create a sense of immediacy and realism, as the audience is given a direct, uninterrupted look at a scene. Conversely, long takes can create a feeling of tension and anticipation, as the audience watches the scene unfold in real time.

In terms of production, single shots are relatively straightforward to execute, as they only require one take. Long takes, however, are much more technically challenging, as they involve the coordination of multiple elements, such as camera movement, blocking, and sound. As such, long takes require considerable planning, and may require multiple takes to get right.

How the Single Shot Affects a Viewer

Firstly, the single shot technique creates a sense of immersion. By having the camera continuously follow a character or show action in one uninterrupted take, the viewer is drawn in and feels as though they are part of the action. This technique also eliminates any potential edits or cuts that can be distracting and can break the viewer’s immersion.

Secondly, the single shot technique can be used to convey powerful emotion. By watching a scene in one continuous take, the viewer is able to absorb all of the nuances of the scene without interruption. This can be used to great effect in scenes that are emotionally charged, as the viewer can feel the tension and emotion of the scene.

Lastly, the single shot technique can also be used to create suspense. By allowing the scene to progress without interruption, the viewer is left to wonder what will happen next. This can be especially effective in horror films, where the viewer is expecting something terrifying to happen.


Single shots and long takes are two distinct filmmaking techniques, and each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Single shots create a sense of immediacy and realism, while long takes can be used to create tension and anticipation. Ultimately, the technique that is best suited for a particular scene will depend on the story and the desired outcome.

These techniques are not reserved for films, though. They can also be used by businesses for promotional videos in Manchester. Depending on your goals, your video production company can make use of one or both of these techniques to achieve the result you want.

Mighty Hero Video Agency is a trusted Manchester video production team that can help you create the best videos for your needs. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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