Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days: How the Impressive One-Take Opening Shot Was Made #SciFiSunday

Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days is a cyberpunk masterpiece playing on fears of the future and nostalgia for the past. In order to create the three and a half minute first person POV powerful opening sequence, Bigelow brought in James Cameron to offer technical insight. Here’s more from Slashfilm:

Cameron, who is known for his exhaustive dedication to polishing the visual language of a film, personally oversaw the brilliant three-and-a-half-minute POV opening shot that mimics a one-shot take. The technical prowess of the scene aside, which took six months to set up and required multifaceted camera rigs, the opening offers a one-of-a-kind visceral experience by placing the viewer in the driver’s seat. The POV shot is that of a robber…. The robber, and by extension, the viewer, busts into a Chinese restaurant, terrorizes the patrons and robs the cash register. After the police arrive, we get a frantic, exhilarating POV of the escape — there’s some mid-level rooftop parkour — until the robber falls to his death.

[Cameron:] “It’s one POV; all the actors play directly to the camera, in effect directly to the audience, meaning the person that is wearing the rig…you run across the roof, the guy ahead of you makes the jump, you hear your own breathing and heartbeat, he’s screaming, the cops are running toward you, you run, you don’t make it, you grab onto the other side of the wall, you look down, your feet are trying to climb but can’t get up the wall, the guy’s pulling you up, he gets shot and you fall all the way to the alley, six stories down, you hit the ground and the screen goes black.”

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