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if you want to see what an American city really looks like (or a traveling carnival), and appreciate excellent cinematography..

April 20, 2017

In this video, we see a rather unglamorous and realistic view of an urban environment in a large American city. Though the video was shot in Los Angeles, the images are not unique to L.A. I lived in Chicago for three years.  The scenery in many neighborhoods is practically identical.. as it would be in any city in this country that has let’s say half a million people or more.. Philadelphia or Boston, or Houston, or.. Actually, in many cities with smaller populations, you will see streets like this.

Seeing what many American city streets look like is one reason to watch this video. I appreciate the realism. But there is another reason to watch this.. the way the video was shot.

No fancy special effects, no quick edits, just one very long, continuous shot. I have never seen one shot last this long. I’ll post the video now, write about it a little more, and then get to a very different video that was shot in a very similar way.

Before tonight.. (3:01 am now) I’d never seen this video, nor heard the song.. the song doesn’t impress me all that much, but the video is amazing. No special effects or quick edits. Instead.. one continuous shot with a steadicam (sometimes spelled “steadycam,” I don’t know which is the accurate spelling.)

A steadicam is a camera mounted on a device that isolates the camera operators movements.. in other words.. a cameraman can be walking, but the image stays steady, doesn’t move up and down with the cameraman’s steps. Steadicams tend not to be light.

It takes a LOT of skill (and strength, energy) to be able to shoot a video like this. The band is British, so is the singer, Shara Nelson. They went to L.A. because this is where a steadicam expert, named Dan Kneece lived, and also because of the natural light unique to L.A.

The video wasn’t entirely planned. Some of the people in the background are not official extras, just street people.

I watch a lot of movies and have seen a lot of music videos. I’ve almost never seen such long, continuous shots. The other one that has impressed me so much was at the beginning of an excellent, dark film called “The Place Beyond The Pines.”

In that film, the camera follows a carnival daredevil biker from the inside of his trailer, as he walks through the nighttime crowd, hops on his bike and enters one of those crazy metal cage balls in which motorcyclists drive around and upside-down. That was also an amazing shot.

Hey.. I just found the opening scene on youtube.. unfortunately, you won’t see the bikers doing their stunts, but you can see this long, continuous shot.. which is brilliant and sets the mood like no other opening scene I have ever viewed.

Gosh sometimes I wish I’d taken more than one film production class in college. I majored in English and the Social Sciences instead.. Hmm.. Life could have been different.

I am an amateur photographer and videographer. (and lover of great films, videos, and TV). I guess most folks won’t be stunned seeing this video.. but for me.. wow. Genius.

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