Watch: Visual Essay Shows Spielberg's Unobtrusive Single Take Shots

May 13, 2014

Steven Spielberg

Just recently we featured a visual essay focusing the spirals and symmetry of director Darren Aronofsky, an auteur filmmaker with a trademark visual style. However, now we have an extensive visual essay focusing on a director who is even more well-known and iconic, but whose visual style isn't immediately noticeable. That's because Steven Spielberg is the kind of filmmaker that doesn't let his direction stand out more than the story, which is why his single takes have gone unnoticed without pomp and circumstace. That doesn't necessarily make him a superior filmmaker when compared to others, but just one who doesn't draw attention to the movement of his camera, letting his story and characters do the heavy lifting. Watch now!

Here's the visual essay focusing on Steven Spielberg's "oners" from his filmography:

And here's full batches of examples, one with longer scenes, the other with short scenes:

Thanks to No Film School (via The Playlist) for bringing this to our attention. There are several sequences within these batches of scenes that didn't even register in my mind as single takes, which just goes to show you how good Spielberg is at telling a story without reminding you that he's doing so. That's not to say that someone like Alfonso Cuaron, who has his long takes celebrated, is less skilled, but it's just a different kind of filmmaking. If anything, this shows Spielberg is a little less flashy, but doesn't necessarily lack style. It's a difficult thing for a director, especially at this stage in his career, to maintain, but he's done it. Impressed?

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Wonderful. And a good reminder at one of the best directors who ever lived.

DAVIDPD on May 13, 2014


Not as good as the Mexican director El Spielbergo, but pretty good nonetheless

TheOct8pus on May 14, 2014


The narrator's profanity totally ruined the first video. It went from something really cool that I could share with my friends to some kind of edgy, hipster nonsense. Pity.

txJM on May 20, 2014


Such a respectful narrator.

earthlingdave on May 20, 2014

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