A plan sequence ( French plan-séquence , such as: continuous sequence ') is a sequence within a film composed only of a single, mostly comparatively long setting and having a completed action without cuts shows. The scene changes that replace the classic cuts are achieved either through appropriately staged appearances by the actors (this can even be with a rigid, i.e. immobile, camera position), through changes in location within the film set, or both in combination. Here, the action is usually supported by the use of a camera movement, which is also clear in the previously used term horizontal assembly.
Design means plan sequence
The planned sequence as such does not yet define a specific dramaturgy , but it does support the staging of a scene. So she can z. B. by the little-happens-effect , especially in connection with a rigid camera position, evoke a melancholy mood for the viewer ( lights of the big city ) as well as by the constant-something-happens-effect ( my uncle ) a more comedic one Trigger sensation. The supreme discipline of the plan sequence is the long-nothing-happens-effect ; an enormous tension is built up here ( the invisible third ) .
A particular challenge for directors are scenes that should look like plan sequences in the finished film, but cannot be performed on the film set for certain reasons. This includes cocktail for a corpse . Because of the limited length of a roll of film ( 35 mm camera negatives are assembled at 300 m, which corresponds to about 10 minutes), Hitchcock optically designed certain transitions in this way (camera approach from the scene to a picture, camera stop and, after the cut, camera return from the picture to the scene, thus de facto an invisible stop trick ) that the actual hard cut cannot be recognized as such. The alarm scene in Das Boot is much more sophisticated ; Here the limitation was not in the length of the roles in the film, but in the fact that the cameraman could not storm through with the crew because of the tightness of the original setting of the interior of the submarine and the division into bulkheads . The scene was shot in takes and quick optical transition aids were used for the hard cuts (curtain, overalls for a few frames over black, thick smoke), which give the impression in the finished film that it is a real plan sequence.
A planned sequence is used, for example, to give the actors more space to play - similar to the theater. Your game can develop in a river. The scene is not broken down into individual shots , each of which only represents a small piece of the scene and is only connected to the scene at the cutting table.
When producing music videos , one also speaks of oneshot if no individual takes are shot. The video can also contain turbulent scene changes . Surprising camera movements, dance performances , light effects sometimes in connection with stage fog or dry ice , pyrotechnics or post-production effects can replace cuts. Nevertheless, a oneshot consists of a single, continuously rotated, and therefore later uncut, shot and is therefore also a plan sequence. A video that consists entirely of a oneshot is called a one-cut video .
Examples of plan sequences
In 1948, Alfred Hitchcock brought the 80-minute film Cocktail for a Corpse to the cinema, which essentially consisted of only five long de facto plan sequences. The (technical) cuts, which were necessary because the film stock in the camera only lasted for ten minutes, were concealed by the fact that at the end of a film roll the camera moved close to an object or actor and then moved away again after the film roll had been changed. In addition to this experiment, Hitchcock often used plan sequences in his films, including the introduction of the neighbors and the introduction of the protagonist in The Window to the Courtyard and the slow drive from the scene of the crime to the busy street in Frenzy .
The Nouvelle Vague director Jean-Luc Godard is considered a great master of the plan sequence . Masterful examples of endlessly long sequence sequences can be found in his film Die Contempt (1963, with Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli ). Even Michelangelo Antonioni used this cinematic means 1975 impressively Occupation: reporter .
Inspired by Tarkowski, the Hungarian director Béla Tarr made his films with long takes from 1982 onwards, which often lasted a full 35 mm roll.
The principle of the planned sequence is ironized in Robert Altman's The Player (1992). The film opens with a seven-minute take in which he establishes the restless hustle and bustle on a Hollywood studio site and has one of the protagonists holding up Orson Welles' plan sequence in The Sign of Evil as a beacon against the modern bad habit of fast editing.
With Russian Ark , the Russian director Alexander Sokurow shot the first full-length feature film in a single shot in 2002. Advances in video technology made it possible to record the entire film on hard drive .
Gaspar Noé's scandal film Irreversibel (2002), told backwards, has an apparent lack of cut that was made with the aid of modern trick technology. In Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men (2006), some takes over 6 minutes long were created in a similarly tricky manner , which give the film a documentary touch. Another film that seems to consist entirely of a single take is Birdman or (The Unexpected Power of Cluelessness) (2014) by director Alejandro González Iñárritu . In fact, there are several cuts in Birdman that were masked by a complete black screen, time-lapse sequences or other technical effects. Sam Mendes (director) and Roger Deakins (camera) worked in a similar way for the feature film 1917 in 2019 .
In 2015, Sebastian Schipper and Victoria created a nearly 140-minute long feature film that was realized entirely in a single sequence. Many dialogues and scenes were improvised. After various rehearsals, the entire film was shot three times in a row, the final version was left in one piece. The 134-minute film Fish & Cat , which premiered in Venice in 2013 , was shot in a single sequence, but it does not tell the events in chronological order.
A classic representative of the music video consisting of a planned sequence is the video for the song Unfinished Sympathy (1991) by the British band Massive Attack by Baillie Walsh.
Example of the function of a plan sequence
The Greek director Theo Angelopoulos was one of the European directors who used plan sequences as a narrative medium . In his 1995 film The Glance of Odysseus , a plan sequence serves to show how history and the present are connected in a place. The protagonist of the film (played by Harvey Keitel ) returns to his hometown ( Constanța ) on his Odyssey across the Balkans in the early 1990s and enters the house of his childhood, with which the planned sequence begins. Here he is warmly received by his assembled family (mother, grandparents, etc.), but is no longer in the 1990s, but in 1944, shortly before the end of the Second World War . During the rest of the ten-minute sequence, actors (with the exception of the protagonist) continuously enter and exit the scene, which is partly recorded by the moving, but mainly stationary, camera. The scene ends in 1950 with the exodus of the Greeks from Constanța. The family gathers for one last photo, for which a child who enters the scene from the direction of the camera takes the place of the protagonist who has just left the scene towards the camera. The sequence ends with a slow drive to the child standing in the middle of the group between his parents and looking into the camera.
- Björn Becher about 1917 on film releases , accessed on January 26, 2020
- How '1917' Was Filmed To Look Like One Shot by Movies Insider on YouTube , accessed January 26, 2020
- Wenke Husmann: "Victoria": Absolutely gigantic. In: zeit.de . February 8, 2015, accessed June 20, 2015 .
- Celia Wren: Iranian Film Festival at Freer Gallery. In: The Washington Post . January 2, 2015, accessed February 16, 2017 .