The LONG TAKE is one continuous shot, which often lasted in the past about eight and a half to ten minutes, or the length of one roll of 35 mm film. When the LONG TAKE is cut in editing, this would really be considered a MASTER SHOT instead. The LONG TAKE is not edited, allowing the viewers to interpret the action themselves.
In this scene from RAGING BULL, Scorsese and his DP Michael Chapman used a Steadicam to show Jake’s gladiatorial like entrance into the ring for the World Championship fight.
In the second part of the clip, Paul Thomas Anderson opens his film BOOGIE NIGHTS with a long take, that illustrates the geography, the period, and reveals the characters in an elegant and fun way.
In addition to the LONG TAKE’s here, the opening of Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL and Altman’s THE PLAYER are also excellent examples of an opening LONG TAKE to introduce the primary characters. These are also considered TRACKING SHOT’s or the LONG TRACKING SHOT.
Some filmmakers that use the LONG TAKE often are Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles.