Pulling off a one-taker isn’t always easy as you need to keep recording for a long time and hope nothing goes wrong. One-takers also add a lot to the visual storytelling, which is why cinematographers love to use this technique.
A famous example comes from the recent 2019 film ‘1917’. In one of the scenes we can see this long travel shot as we follow the character running through the battlefield. These guys take the one-taker to the next level with the hundreds of people running across, the explosions, going in and out the trenches.
This shot can go wrong is so many ways, that’s the risk you take. But with good preparation and practice, you can pull it off. And the results look amazing!
Gimbals and Steadicams
There’re many examples where you could go handheld to shoot your one-taker. But most of time we reach out to gimbals or Steadicams as it allows for the camera to move smoother and usually faster throughout the scene.
Steadicams have the big advantage of stabilizing every axis (also up & down movement). It’s easier to mount bigger cameras on them as well as accessories. However it’s not easy to operate, which is why you’ll always find dedicated Steadicam-operators.
Aspiring filmmakers will therefore reach out to gimbals. We have used the new ZHIYUN Crane M-3 gimbal to pull off the one-taker as seen in the video above.
The Crane M3 is a super small gimbal with a lot of power inside, making it possible to mount my full frame Sony A7-RIII. The gimbal performs really well and it comes with some pro-features such as manual control over the motors, which I find a must!