How a Looong Steadicam Shot Was Constructed in Hugo

Long Steadicam shots have become a staple of Hollywood movies over the past decade or so. Pulling it off involves complexities way beyond the seemingly simple task of walking through a room.

In this behind-the-scenes clip from last year's Hugo, you can see the coordination and movie tricks that go into a great Steadicam shot such as moving walls, precise queues, and an agile boom operator. Most important is an extremely skilled camera-man. Steadicam operators carry a lot of weight and must be adept at maneuvering the equipment.

You can hear the guy winded after the shot is over, and he probably has to do it over and over again. [YouTube via The Awesomer]

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Over-the-River
Over-the-River

The entire crew works so hard to bring these scenes to life. In 2002 Alexander Sokurov directed Russian Ark which was filmed at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The film tells the story of a 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, who travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years [imdb]. The film was shot in a single 96 minute digital Steadicam take, one single shot is the entire film. The "Making of" video is on YouTube.