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Eventually, it gets to the point that you can get up, go to the bathroom, grab a can of pop from the fridge, and sit back down, all without missing anything.
Op Megs

Sometimes a shot goes on for a very, very long time. Though this is usually a bad thing when done to stretch the film and its budget, it can also be done deliberately for artistic reasons (or because Nothing Is Scarier). For example, a director might illustrate the lonely and mundane life of a solo astronaut by showing him going about his daily routine, never speaking a word because there's nobody to talk to.

See also, Scenery Porn, Padding and The Oner. Compare Overly Long Gag. Might lead to Get On With It Already.

Examples of Leave the Camera Running include:


Advertising

  • This campaign advertisement for Mike Gravel, in which, to quote Jon Stewart, "the message is not 'vote for Gravel' as much as 'seven days after watching this video, you are going to die.'" In the video, Gravel stares at the camera for several minutes and then walks away after tossing a rock into a lake. A second video shows Gravel stoking a campfire and then the camera focuses on the fire for several minutes.


Anime and Manga

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses these frequently:
    • Misato watching the train Shinji has apparantly boarded leave the station.
    • The elevator ride with Rei and Asuka. The Directors Cut version at least mixes it a little bit up. That is to say, Asuka moves briefly and only once. The same shot is reused in Evangelion: 2.0, but for a much shorter amount of time (making its inclusion a bit of a joke for fans).
    • Shinji holding Kaworu in Unit 01's hand for one full minute before he crushes him.
    • Asuka curled up in Unit 02 at the bottom of the lake.
    • Misato and Shinji's Last Kiss.
    • Somehow, a live orchestral Eva concert is subject to this. Symphony of EVA, a live concert recording, ends with the track "Thank You," which is for all intents and purposes a huge, 11-minute and 9-second curtain call and improv session. It's interesting at first as the orchestra gets out all the random bits of music they can but then the applause just keeps going... and going... and going... until the track ends on what appears to be the main choirgirls and the conductor casually chatting as the audience meanders out of the venue.
  • The last chronological episode of The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya features a scene of Nagato reading for several minutes, her page turning the only movement. This episode is later referenced by Lucky Star, with Konata getting on her computer after the episode airs and commenting that the flame wars are already starting. It runs for a total of 3 minutes 17 seconds and is broken up about two thirds through by a (similar but shorter) six second scene with Kyon sitting on a train. The only 'action' in the scene is that a drama club practicing voice exercises in another room can be overheard.
  • Naruto Shippuuden used this for Padding out the action sequences in the early episodes where they were still trying to make the events of one chapter last an entire episode. The one this editor remembers most was a 30-second slow zoom into someone's eye.
  • Dragonball Z is rather notorious for this sort of thing. In fact, that might be the single biggest complaint against the series. The prime example of this would be the fight against Freeza on Planet Namek. Basically, the planet's core had been vaporized and was supposed to blow up in five minutes. Ten episodes and five real time minutes later, the damn thing finally goes kaput.
  • There were loooong periods in Transformers Armada where nothing happened whatsoever. There were also shorter pauses in conversation where it really didn't make sense. Trust me, Lull Destruction would be an improvement. It's far from DBZ class, though.
  • Tohru crying in the last episode of Fruits Basket after she sees Kyo's true form becomes one of these.
  • Though not as bad as other examples, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind features an extended scene of Nausicaa watching an Ohmu crawl into the distance.[1]
  • The Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt episode "Nothing to Room" consists of a single 13-minute shot with almost no camera movement, broken up only by the occasional Whip Pan to represent time passing.
  • Arrivederci Yamato (aka Farewell Space Battleship Yamato). After the opening narration, there is an extended scene of deep space with a faint ambient sound that gets louder. Barely visible in the early part of this scene is the faint shooting-star like pinpoint of the Comet Empire approaching. It faded in and out periodically so if you blinked, you didn't notice. The White Comet approaches and we are subject to an extended closeup shot of the rotating comet, this time with Bach-like music (the Comet Empire's theme). Final Yamato has one of these at the end. This sort of thing is actually a trademark of director Toshio Masuda who not only directed the Yamato films but has directed live action movies such as Tora! Tora! Tora!
  • In the finale of Cowboy Bebop the camera does a looooooooong pan up through the sky and up into space, lasting for several minutes.
  • Two notable examples in .hack//Sign, one with BT and Bear sitting together on a grassy field, the camera looks as though it's pushing in on a still frame, another where the group is talking in the forest and the camera does a rack focus to show dew drops fall off the leaves then focuses again.
  • In the 2012 noitiminA Black Rock Shooter anime, episode 4, Yomi abuses her cellphone and buries her face in her pillow. The shot is held for a full 30 seconds, with the only change being the backlight of her phone turning off. As the only time this was used in the series, it was likely done to help convey how lonely and isolated she felt from everyone else.
  • Denis Leary's comedy/music/performance album Lock 'n Load features a track called "Deaf Mute Cocktail Party," which clocks in at just above two minutes.

Film

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey features a very slow pacing, with many very long shots, often of space and astronauts moving very slowly. And that's not even considering Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.
  • Andy Warhol did entire films like this, intentionally, including Sleep (five hours of Warhol's lover John Giorno sleeping), Blow Job (half an hour of shots of the facial expressions of a man receiving oral sex from a prostitute) and Taylor Meads Ass (take a lucky guess - allegedly, this was inspired by a snipe made by a critic about Warhol and Mead's oeuvre). The longest of these was Empire which was just the Empire State building one night going on for eight hours. When asked why he made such a ridiculous film, Warhol replied, "To see time go by". Perhaps even crazier was that only six and a half hours were shot but were shown at fewer frames to make it even longer. Amazingly (or perhaps not), Empire has been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.
  • Done to great effect in Aguirre, the Wrath of God.
  • Russian Ark - the entire film is literally an example of this.
  • Many shots in Michael Haneke's Cache, most notably the videos sent to the main character showing nothing more than the exterior of his house for long periods of time. Other choice shots include three minutes of random kids swimming laps and two characters talking without audible dialog.
  • Both versions of Michael Haneke's Funny Games, by the same director, feature a shot after the son is killed in which both parents lie on the ground in mute horror for several minutes. Through much of it, there is absolutely no sound or movement.
  • The 2008 film Hunger based on the 1981 Irish hunger strikes features a 17 minutes long single take. It currently holds the record for the longest shot on celluloid film.
  • Many films that received the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment:
    • Escape 2000. The original film begins with governmental Mooks imploring residents to "Leave the Bronx!" They said it so many times, and for so damned long, however, that alone it's a Leave The Camera Running and with Mike and the Bots riffing it becomes an Overly Long Gag.
    • Lost Continent features unbearably long shots of the main characters simply climbing up a mountain. Since absolutely nothing is going on, Joel and the robots often simply repeat, "Rock climbing..." to each other.
    • Hercules Against the Moon Men. One word: saaaaaandstormmm.
    • The Starfighters had endless, endless scenes of planes refueling. The scenes were so long, Mike and the Bots started riffing on the fact that they did every conceivable joke about mid-air refueling.
    • Fire Maidens from Outer Space features lengthy shot of, just to name a few: An airplane landing; a car driving out of town to a distant observatory; people standing around staring at a clock, awaiting a rocket launch; one scene leaves the camera running for so long after the dialog stops that the actors all look expectantly at the camera!
    • Colossus and the Headhunters features a brief moment where the camera lingers on Colossus steering the raft, then kind of drifts off over the ocean. Crow sighs "Well, the camera operator is indulging himself..."
    • The Final Sacrifice: "I'm just a bush. You may want to pan off me."
    • A number of times in Manos: The Hands of Fate, most notably when it takes over thirty seconds for Torgo to stand up. Ironically, no single shot could be over about 30 seconds long due to camera limitations.

  Joel: DO SOMETHING!! God!

  • Andrei Tarkovsky wrote a book entitled Sculpting in Time, which takes its title from his name for this method. The aim is to immerse the viewer in the setting and characters by giving an unbroken, organic perspective, as opposed to a montage-style editing. Examples include:
  • This crops up in I Am Legend. The scene where Will Smith's character is hurt in the leg and must crawl away from the Infected is particularly notable.
  • Star Trek the Motion Picture has several. Before the main credits, it opens with the "overture," which consists of music and stars (white dots) flying by on a black backdrop for three minutes. This is in the style of the old "epic films." There is also a several-minute cruise James Kirk takes around the remodelled Enterprise in a shuttlepod to show off the redesign. The infamous one is the V'Ger encounter, which goes on and on. The special edition DVD actually makes it longer by including CGI shots that are from shots that were planned or incomplete in the original film. The film was nicknamed Star Trek: The Motionless Picture because of this trope.
    • It doesn't help that the plot was taken wholesale from a regular episode of the show. So, The Motionless Picture is half "The Changeling" and half "filling in that extra hour with absolutely nothing." At least it left the producers with tons and tons of Enterprise-in-flight scenes to be used for later movies.
  • Used under the closing credits of The Warriors. The Warriors that managed to get back to Coney Island take a long walk along the beach into the sunrise to the tune of "In the City." The actors had actually walked nearly a quarter-mile by the end of the scene and wondered if they should have stopped multiple times.
  • The collective works of Béla Tarr. One of his films (Sátántangó) is seven hours long; another is almost two-and-a-half hours, and has only 39 shots in the entire film.
  • Gus Van Sant's later works seem to be influenced by Béla Tarr.
    • Gerry, which is simply about two guys (both called Gerry) who get lost in the desert, features long sequences of the two men simply walking without any dialogue.
    • Elephant features lots of unnervingly voyeuristic shots of the schoolkids walking down hallways (and walking...and walking...).
  • Many of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's early films use this technique, especially Katzelmacher, where basically all shots are set up like this with great effect.
  • Ingmar Bergman used it in his devastating psychodrama Face to Face in the scene where the Liv Ullmann character nearly gets raped by two burglars.
  • The Brown Bunny has been described as "a motorcycle journey across the US in real time." It features a number of scenes of Vincent Gallo driving his motorcycle on some salt flats and driving his van on the highway. The rough cut featured at Cannes was apparently much longer, causing it to be infamously flamed by Roger Ebert. The trailer addresses this aspect of the film, with one half of the screen devoted to a view through Gallo's windshield as he drives.
  • Effectively used in the 1958 western The Big Country. The characters played by Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston have a fist fight, in the middle of the night without witnesses. It was filmed from about 100 yards away so all you see is a huge screen full of west Texas nuthin and two little men fighting for several minutes. The director set every thing up and told the two actors to keep fighting till he said stop. The director called action and the two men proceeded to trade blows, eight hours later he called cut.
  • Sergio Leone made extensive usage of this trope in most of his films.
  • M. Night Shyamalan seems to love endless, endless footage of silent men standing in doorways.
  • Used to great effect at the very end of The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter hangs up the phone, puts on his hat, and strolls off down a crowded street after Dr Chilton. The credits even start rolling partway through the shot, but he just keeps on walking.
  • Many (some would say most) parts of Koyaanisqatsi are accused of basically being long, plotless stretches of scenery and new age music. Justified, in that this film is a "visual tone poem," meant more for meditative purposes.
  • Night Of Horror features a just over three-minute long scene filmed out of the various windows of a camper as it travels down a highway through Maryland and Virginia. The scenery is not that interesting. There is no dialogue, only the same three minor chords played over and over and over again. After that, a character reads "Bridal Ballad" by Edgar Allan Poe for almost two and a half minutes. The recap site The Agony Booth considers these to be the six worst minutes of film ever recapped.
  • The video and DVD releases of the sketch "comedy" film Loose Shoes tack on over 20 minutes of blank tape to the end of the film to stretch the running time.
  • Remember the ten-minute sleeping scene in The Ring?
  • Done to great effect in the ending of The Third Man. Holly waits for Anna as she slowly approaches him... then walks past him without even a glance.
  • The first few minutes of There Will Be Blood.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space is rife with scenes consisting of nothing but Tor Johnson, Vampira, and Bela Lugosi's clumsily disguised stand-in wandering aimlessly (and very slowly) around a graveyard. But at least Tor's struggle to climb out of an open grave becomes an unintentional Overly Long Gag.
  • The works of avant-garde Canadian filmmaker Michael Snow. In Wavelength, which features a 45 minute zoom on a wall. Even worse, La Region Centrale consists of a camera... on a tripod... on a hill... spinning around...for three hours.
  • The scene of the creation of Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In true surreal Rocky fashion, several casts now turn down the sound and do something else entirely during the scene nowadays.
  • Lawrence of Arabia features many long shots of majestic landscapes set to soaring music. It's been said you can tell a person's age by whether they're enthralled or bored out of their mind.
  • One Hour Photo features a thirty-second scene of Sy standing in his apartment holding a glass of water. According to the Directors Commentary, he told Robin Williams to just stand there for a while and he'd find some way to work it into the movie.
  • In the absolutely dreadful 1970s horror film Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, one character gets her legs partially eaten by the bed. She then spends the next two minutes and fifty seconds crawling across the room to the door. Then she gets lassoed by the bedsheets.
  • Used effectively in the ending of The Long Good Friday as the Villain Protagonist is "taken for a ride". We see Bob Hoskins sitting in the back of the car as he visibly reflects on all the decisions he has made that led him to that position. Hoskins was quite against the scene, but apologized to the director when he saw the final product.
  • Most of Goddard's film Week-End could be said to be this, but especially the 11-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam. This sequence also has the added effect of driving the viewer nuts. Which, to be fair, was Goddard's point, he wanted to showcase the excess of the rich. It also creates a very effective Mood Whiplash as the audience shares the various drivers' boredom and aggravation at the pointlessness of all this... until we finally see that the traffic jam was caused by a horrific car accident.
  • The film version of Pink Floyd's The Wall has a static 45-second shot of the Wall at one point.
  • This was also used at the end of Paranormal Activity, where the camera is left on the tripod while the characters are both downstairs. The lengthy silence is broken when Micah is thrown into the camera.
    • Subverted to great creepy effect in the scenes where sleepwalking Katie stands by the bed for hours. It's a subversion because the footage is fast-forwarded, so the audience doesn't have to watch it very long, just watch the time counter at the bottom of the screen.
  • Spaceballs spoofs 2001: A Space Odyssey's (and to a lesser extent, the opening shot of the Star Destroyer in Star Wars: A New Hope) infamous long establishing shot of the Discovery by panning along the Spaceball One and panning... and panning... and panning... and the ship is shaped so that several times, just when you think you've reached the end, there's still more ship. And it's all done to the Jaws theme. Director Mel Brooks has gone on record saying that he would have loved to have done an entire two hours of that shot if he thought he could ever get away with it.
  • A couple of times in Star Wars, though for slightly different reasons; one has David Prowse gesturing long after James Earl Jones has stopped talking; and also a way-too-long shot of a Stormtrooper ("Look, sir, droids!" beat, beat) which Spaceballs manages to spoof just by doing exactly the same thing.
  • Vase De Noces (also known as The Pig Fucking Movie), aside from its obvious scene of a farmer sodomizing a pig, seems to consist of endless random scene after endless random scene of the farmer slotting dolls' heads onto doves, of chickens and turkeys having sex, of chickens and turkeys sitting around doing nothing, of the farmer collecting pieces of vegetables in jars and putting them on a shelf, of the farmer defecating, of the farmer eating the pooh...
  • Anything by Tsai Ming-liang.
  • Playing God, with David Duchovny and Timothy Hutton, has an unusually long establishing shot of the exterior of the main house in act three. It's just a house.
  • There are many long, slow shots during the first 40 minutes of Alien as the crew leaves cryosleep and lands on the planet.
  • Klute was so full of this, I watched with my finger on the fast-forward of the remote, and still got bored.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: "I love scotch. Scotchy-scotch-scotch."
  • In Boogie Nights, Dirk Diggler staring forward for 51 seconds before realizing that selling baking soda as cocaine to a freebase-smoking drug dealer (Alfred Molina) with a bodyguard was not a good idea.
  • In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the camera focuses on Randal's face for more than a minute as he quietly thinks.
  • In "Children of Men" Where Theo and Kee walk through the war zone with the baby. Justified, as nobody quite believes what they're seeing.
  • The state example shows up in Moon showing, well, the silent tedium of a solitary astronaut going about his daily routine.
  • Wong Kar-Wai is quite fond of this when he's not using fast jump cuts.
  • Many, many scenes in Doctor Zhivago, particularly static shots of the balalika while music plays.
  • Moments of this trope are very common in Jacques Rivette`s films, which is why they often run close to and over three hours.
  • Sofia Coppola's Somewhere starts with several minutes of watching a sports car doing laps from a fixed position.
  • Many of Irreversible's scenes, especially in the second half of the film, involve long scenes with no visible camera edits and random dialogue, such as the main characters talking about relationships while riding a bus. This is largely due to the fact that there was no script -- the actors were given a 3-page outline and improvised all of their lines. The infamous rape scene is notable mostly for being not only 9 minutes long, but featuring only one camera angle, no music, and only one instance of anything happening beyond the focus of the scene.
  • Seed has a scene that's just five uninterupted minutes of a woman being beaten with a hammer, shot with a stationary camera. It's disturbing up until the Special Effects Failure, at which point it just becomes awkward.
  • This is used in what is probably the most infamous scene from The Exorcist III... a single continuous shot of a hospital nurse station in which nothing much happens for several minutes, abruptly interrupted at the very end by a killer lunging at the nurse with a pair of hedge sheers.
  • Taiwanese director Edward Yang loved him some long takes. Yi Yi in particular has an at least minute-long shot of a dishwasher.
  • The entirety of the second stinger of The Avengers.
  • Elaine May, Mike Nichols' onetime comedy partner, pretty much made her second film, Mikey And Nicky, this way. She had John Cassavetes and Peter Falk improvise extensively, in addition to shooting the scripted scenes, and kept the cameras rolling as they did so, even as they slipped out of character. At one point she even kept the cameras rolling on their empty chairs for several minutes after they both left to go do personal errands and/or eat. When one of the camera operators had finally had enough, he took it upon himself to say "Cut!". This is a major breach of filmmaking etiquette, since only the director normally has that privilege, and May dressed him down for it. He pointed out that the principals had left the set. "They might come back," she responded. She wound up shooting more raw footage than Gone with the Wind and fought with the studio over the cut for years, only releasing her final cut ten years later. Between that movie and Ishtar, she has effectively forfeited any chance that she will ever direct a studio picture again.
  • Belgian feminist director Chantal Akerman relied on this technique for her 1975 classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The camera sits on a counter in the title character's kitchen through long takes without zooms or reverse angles, where characters go in and out of the frame as necessary and we can only hear them. Sometimes it stays on as she leaves the house to work or do errands.


Literature

  • Fictional example: in Moving Pictures, CMOT Dibbler gets the idea to put subliminal advertising into the film. However, instead of using only one frame of a plate of spare ribs, he uses a five-minute-long static shot of the plate of spare ribs, thinking that its effectiveness would be proportional to the length of time it was shown. It never gets shown, because Soll Dibbler finds it and cuts it out.
  • House Of Leaves featured one also. When Holloway dies on page 337, he's left bleeding and suffering for two minutes and twenty-eight seconds until he dies. And then the camera is left on for 46 seconds, watching his dead body in the darkness. Then all of a sudden, the darkness bursts out and literally absorbs him, along with a large and terrible roar.
  • The Joanna Hogg film 'Archipelago' uses long, unbroken shots with no background music, and much of the dialogue occurs off-camera. It makes the viewer into an uncomfortable voyeur of the family holiday.


Live Action TV

  • On a Season 5 Episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse, Pee-Wee shows kids how to feed a dog. Pee-Wee opens a can of dog food, puts it in a bowl, and the dog eats THE ENTIRE BOWL OF DOG FOOD. All in one shot.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: once when an episode "ran short," they showed a section of beach with the tide coming in. After a while, John Cleese stepped into frame wearing a Roman battle costume, explained that they had run short, and assured the viewer there was nothing more. He left and the camera continued to show the beach for another minute or so, then slowly faded to black. It was, at least, quite pretty.
    • Since this scene occurs right after the bloody comic violence of the "Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days" sketch and "Philip Jenkinson" getting machine-gunned to death in slow motion, it could be seen as a deliberate use of Relax-O-Vision.
  • The Bill commonly used it in the very early days, when a typical scene could go on for anything up to five whole minutes without a single edit or insert, with the camera simply following the actors around the sets/locations in a single take. Although this helped to portray the series in a very realistic way, it became less common as the years went on, though it will sometimes still be done for stylistic effect in a scene or two (notably used in the final scene of the series).
  • The Trigger Happy TV season 1 DVD special features ends with Dom Joly sitting in an arm chair announcing a "Special Bonus Minute" of footage. He proceeds to sit there motionless for an exact minute, after which the screen fades to black.
  • The first episode of Mega64 opens with Derek eating a can of yogurt for three minutes.
  • A director on Highlander the Series tended to not call "cut" on scenes, just to see what the actors would do once they ran out of script. 99 times out of 100 it didn't work, but one bit (of Duncan (or Adrian Paul) and Richie (or Stan Kirsh) giggling their heads off on a Paris bridge) made it into the opening credits for a few seasons.
  • The final scene in the modern Battlestar Galactica episode "Scar" has Kara and Helo in a gym discussing the episode's events. After the conclusion of their conversation the director continued to let the camera roll (as was common on the show) giving the actors a chance to do some faux-sparring and tapping out. Ron Moore was originally going to include another scene of Kara praying but decided that moment was a much better ending to the show.
  • The Yule Log
    • Which first zooms in when it begins, then zooms out then in again at certain points before zooming back out at the end.
  • Pulled off with aplomb in the opening of the second episode of Carnivale, featuring a silent diner with cast members slowly entering and not saying a word. When the first line is spoken several minutes in, it seems almost deafening.
  • Breaking Bad has a scene where a character is arrested by an undercover cop for drug dealing. Most shows would have a quick scene, maybe 30 seconds long, where the guy makes the sale then gets busted. Here, the entire deal, the back and forth from the cop trying to convince the dealer, the dealer looking around trying to figure out what's happening, some chit-chat, and finally ends with the arrest.
  • The famous minute and a half long panning shot that begins Episode 1 of the Doctor Who serial The Leisure Hive.
  • The Stinger for the end of series 1 of Misfits is a side angle of Nathan waking up in his coffin. First, he's elated that he's alive and has a superpower, and then gradually realizes he's stuck in a coffin. He quiets down, turns on his iPod, and lies down. The music plays and the credits roll over the scene for about a minute or so before fading out.
  • Played for Laughs in the Buffy episode No Place Like Home. Buffy sees Giles dressed as a wizard and the two stare at each other for about half a minute, with Buffy admirably being able to keep from laughing, until Giles realizes how silly he looks and reluctantly removes the costume.


Music

  • Any of the wilder Minimalist works would have to epitomize this trope - La Monte Young's breathtaking The Well-Tuned Piano is a largely-improvised work played in just intonation. It spans over five hours. Morton Feldman's later works were renowned for their extreme length and spareness (String Quartet II runs for a whopping six hours).
    • Then there's Erik Satie's Vexations: a single page of music with the instruction to repeat the piece 840 times in succession. This was actually performed in its entirety in New York by a tag-team of pianists (including the likes of John Cage, John Cale and David Tudor) on September 9, 1963, and clocked in at almost 19 hours.
    • John Cage - never failing to push the envelope - planned his composition As Slow As Possible to last 639 years. He just marked that tempo and neglected to say exactly what he meant, leaving "performers" free to make their own interpretation. It's an inversion of the more common "as fast as possible," which just means as fast as you can play it while getting all the notes. Amazingly enough, the piece is currently being performed at the Church of St. Burchard in Germany.
    • Any sort of "systems music," like that of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Brian Eno's ambient work (Discreet Music and Thursday Afternoon
  • The Flaming Lips have a song on the album Hit To Death in the Future Head, called simply "Bonus Track", that is the same annoying sound over and over again for thirty minutes.
  • The end of The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band features one of the first "hidden tracks", a collection of backward studio chatter. Although the CD version simply repeats the chatter a few times before fading out, the original LP placed the chatter in the record's run-out groove, meaning it could hypothetically repeat forever, or until the listener got up and manually turned the stereo off.
  • The final track on the album The Beginning Stages of The Polyphonic Spree is called A Long Day. It lasts about 40 minutes. It mostly sounds like the CD got stuck, but the chords change occasionally. Strangely hypnotic.
  • Lou Reed's album Metal Machine Music. 64 minutes of feedback. Released on vinyl with a locked groove at the end of side four, and {{[http|//www.loureed.com/metalmachinemusic/ now available the same way on vinyl, DVD, and Blu-ray}}.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel's debut, On Avery Island, features the closing song Pree-Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye, which is basically just 13 minutes and 50 seconds of noise. Not even interesting noise.
    • The opening of The King of Carrot Flowers, Parts Two and Three from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea counts too, surely. The song lasts just over three minutes, but it takes vocalist Jeff Mangum a minute to finish bellow/wailing "IIIIIIIII LOVE YOU JEEEEEEEESUUUUUUS CHRIIIIIIIIIIST, JEEESUS CHRIST I LOOOOOVE YOOU, YES I DOOOOOOOO" twice.
  • John Cage's '4:33'. The purpose of the piece is to make you realize that there's no such thing as silence and to hear the things that are always going on all around you, a typical performance actually includes a great many sounds and distinct events. And the best performance is not the one you find on YouTube, nor the purpose-made recording made from a microphone in an empty room, but the one you perform yourself in a place you love, such as a forest or beach.
  • Liars' "This Dust Makes That Mud" is 30 minutes long, over twenty minutes of this is a single bar of music being looped over and over at the end of the song.
  • "Nevada", the closer of John Linnell's album State Songs. The song would be about 35 seconds long were it not for the ending, which is seven minutes of a marching band passing by.
  • Neko Case's Middle Cyclone ends with "Marais la Nuit", half an hour of frogs croaking, as recorded outside of the farm she owns. At least it's kind of relaxing.
  • Jimmy Eat World's "Goodbye Sky Harbor" is a 3-minute song stretched out to 16 minutes thanks to playing the same bit over again, with only a few changes until the ending. Good song, though.
  • The Mars Volta, being a Progressive Rock band, has a song of over half an hour,Cassandra Gemini. It's got vocals for a good couple of minutes, then it turns into a wibbly wobbly warping screeching warpy bit for a while, while echoing a bit of the chorus, until a buildup for like the last 4 minutes, and then it goes back to its vocals before finishing off. FINALLY. Worst part is that it's got catchy vocals.
    • They also have a song that has 4 minutes of coqui croaks. It's kind of peaceful, until you realize you would like to hear some actual music now.
  • Wilco's album "A Ghost Is Born" contains a fifteen-minute track at the end called "Less Than You Think". It starts off as a gentle ballad, but eventually degenerates into droning audio two minutes in. The worst part is that it's not even the last song on the album - that's "The Late Greats", the catchiest, most relaxed song there.
  • Hank Williams III's album Straight to Hell includes a bonus disc which contains a 42 minute track that includes random noises, covers, and miscellany all rolled into one.
  • Overseer has a bonus track called Heligoland that ends with twenty minutes of the sound of a phone ringing.
  • At the end of Grandaddy's song Lawn and So On, there's a good five minutes of silence, followed by about two minutes of cricket noises.
  • Regina Spektor has a song called Man of a Thousand Faces which has about 10 minutes of silence tacked on to the end. This is semi-common practice if the cd has a bonus track after the long silence, but in this case, the song is three songs away from the end of the cd.
  • Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which goes on for 17 minutes, only about 5 is actually the song. The massive middle section sounds pretty much like random instrumentals. A common theory about the song is that the band members were all stoned when they recorded it, and didn't know when to stop playing. Your Mileage May Vary, as some critics claim that the song is in fact well-structured.
  • Nick Cave's Babe, I'm On Fire from Nocturama is a fairly decent two-minute song. Unfortunately, it runs for fifteen.
  • The last track on Moby Voodoo Child's album The End of Everything is an 18:27 track called "Reject," and is a repeating series of slow synth washes.
  • Massive Attack's 100th Window ends with the hidden track "LP 4," an 11-minute instrumental consisting of a repeated ten-second cycle of synths. Here's a slightly shortened version.
  • Electronic music duo Autechre released a download-only track called Perlence Subrange 6-36 which runs for 58 minutes and 35 seconds. It repeats a 4-second sequence alternating between three different samples, with a few changes in the sequence over the course of the song, and a faint background of dark ambience which shifts and changes very gradually throughout. You can listen to it here.
    • Also their album Chiastic Slide, which ends in a two minute long low-pitched buzz.
  • The second disc of Covenant's Skyshaper album features "Subterfugue for 3 Absynths", a 42-minute track consisting of a mostly unchanging noise loop. "Flux" from Sequencer, in addition to being a total of nearly 12 minutes long, ends with three minutes of the atonal background sounds heard throughout the song.
  • Bull of Heaven's longer works, one of which is 5.6 years long. Not particularly interesting. Their latest track, "lcm(2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29,31,37,41,43,47,53,59,61,67,71,73,79,83) " has a length of 8,462,937,602,125,701,219,674,955 years (the LCM of the tape loop lengths).
  • The Fantômas album Delirium Còrdia is a single track clocking in at an hour and 15 minutes, and is intended to be the soundtrack to a surgery. To that end, the last 19 minutes are nothing but the steady sound of a respirator and heart monitor, until the last couple of seconds when you hear a quick "One, two, three, four!" and the sound of a needle scratching on a record (which by that point is so startling it may well give you a heart attack and send you in for a surgery of your own).
  • The Neurosis song "Cleanse," which closes off their Enemy of the Sun album, ends with a loop of a short distorted vocal clip which jumps from speaker to speaker. On the reissue it lasts about a minute and a half... on the original it goes on for over 12 minutes.
  • This is rather common in drone metal, which seeks to create a hypnotic feel through slow repetitive sounds.
  • Lindsey Buckingham's song "Play in the Rain" is the last track on side A of the Go Insane LP. When the stylus reaches the center ring, the outro solo just keeps going... and going... and going... as the tempo of the music etched into the center ring is perfectly timed with the rotation of the record. The song then continues on side B.
  • Burzum's ambient piece "Rundgang um die transzentale Säule der Singularität" consists of twenty-five minutes of mostly the same three-note melody repeated over and over, with a brief one- or two-minute respite in the middle. It works better than it sounds like it should, though it's not the sort of thing you'll likely want to listen to every day.
  • Jars of Clay's self-titled debut album has two Hidden Tracks. The first is "Four Seven", a brief acoustic song. It's followed by about 30 minutes' worth of random studio chatter interspersed with snippets of string quartet rehearsal.
  • Korpiklaani's "Korven Kuningas", the final track on the album of the same name, ends with 15 minutes of distant, repetitive drumming.
  • Red House Painters have a song off of Ocean Beach titled "Over My Head". The beginning of the track has about 45 seconds worth of the band just talking in the recording studio about random stuff, as if someone accidentally left the tape rolling. The ending 15 seconds has the same thing.
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Thank God For Mental Illness ends with a 33 minute track called "Sound Of Confusion". Most of it actually consists of five different songs indexed together on one track, but the first six minutes or so are just the sounds of traffic going by. The traffic part does get a little more entertaining once Anton Newcombe starts yelling at passing cars. And to be fair, it's probably meant as a way to separate these songs from the rest of the album because they're sort of different stylistically: most of the songs that come before are based around acoustic guitar, while the songs in the "Sound Of Confusion" section more prominently use electric guitars.
  • Many albums with hidden tracks will have a minute or more of silence or blank tracks between the last listed track and the hidden one, or sometimes it is incorporated into the last track after the silence.
  • The US version of OK Go's Oh No ends in the hidden track "9027 KM", which is 35 minutes of distorted ambient noise. The backstory is sort of cute though - it's a recording of Damian Kulash's girlfriend sleeping, and 9,027 kilometers is apparently the distance between the two of them when they're in their respective home cities of Los Angeles, California and Malmö, Sweden. There's an unconfirmed rumor that this was also done so that there wouldn't be room on the CD for the record company to hide DRM.
  • Jaga Jazzist's "Out of Reach (or Switched Off)"--from their Old Shame album Jævla Jazzist Grete Stitz'--has about six minutes of actual song, followed by 22 minutes of what sounds like a Norwegian TV host talking about the album. Presumably, it's more interesting if you can understand Norwegian.
  • The beginning of Tori Amos's Not the Red Baron, which sounds like two pilots talking, is actually the sound engineers talking in their native Dutch while Tori fiddled with the piano. Because it fit so well it was left in. In fact, a lot of the stuff that came out of the Boys for Pele sessions, especially the b-sides, can be attributed to this trope.


Music Video

  • The Replacements' video for "Bastards of Young" is a shot of a stereo system in somebody's lounge room, with the song playing (at the wrong speed) on the turn table. The camera stays on it as people go in and out of the room. At the end of the song the speaker is kicked over.
    • While it's at least in montage form and has different camera angles, their video for "The Ledge" might also qualify, as it consists of nothing but the band standing around in a park while eating donuts and drinking coffee. It was banned from MTV for some reason - possibly it was the lyrical content, because the song itself is about someone being Driven to Suicide. The Replacements were well-known for disliking music videos, and only started making them when their record company insisted, so both of these were likely meant as Writer Revolt.
  • The Pixies' video for "Velouria" is a single shot of the band running a short distance across a rock quarry in slow motion for about four minutes. Without the slow-motion effect, the video would be 23 seconds long, if not even shorter. Reportedly this is because the band really wanted to perform on Top of the Pops while the song was in the UK Top 40, but the show required all acts performing on the show to have a music video for their current single, so they threw something together at the last minute. It was all in vain because the band never did get to play on Top of the Pops
  • The video for Fatboy Slim's "Everybody Needs a 303" essentially consists of a guy in a hat standing around doing nothing. For the first two minutes, he does just that, staring off camera. Finally something happens (a hand comes in off-camera and writes in lipstick on his forehead, taking about a minute to do so; finally, he turns a bit more to the camera and lights up, and as he takes his smoke, you can finally read what's written: "Why Make Videos?"). The point is not lost on the audience, one might imagine.
  • The video of "Proof" by I Am Kloot is a long shot of Christopher Eccleston staring into the camera, and slowly moving from a neutral expression to a smile. Used very well; it's damn near impossible to watch in real time and not find yourself smiling along with him.
  • In a possible Shout-Out to the Replacements' "Bastards of Young" video, the official video for Blur's long awaited 2010 reunion single "Fool's Day" simply features the single playing on a turntable. The tonearm of the player moves slowly to middle of the record and when the song ends the video cuts to black. The end.
  • The video for "Crash Years" by The New Pornographers features a static aerial view of a portion of a brick street, as people walk by holding umbrellas, riding on bicycles and other miscellaneous stuff happens below the camera.
  • The video for the New Order song "Bizarre Love Triangle" is merely a series of black and white shots of the heads and shoulders of various women, with random colored pictures spliced in. However, an alternate version exists, where the only shot is one woman. For the entirety of the music video.
  • REM's "Bang and Blame" video ends with Michael Stipe walking off, while the video (and the song) keeps going.


Theatre

  • One could certainly make an argument that Waiting for Godot is essentially one long instance of Leave the Camera Running, since it consists mostly of inane conversations and little happens in terms of traditional plot.
  • The same goes for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which makes sense since the play bears a striking, and not unintentional, resemblance to Waiting for Godot.
  • True of a lot of absurdist theatre, including the above examples. Goes hand-in-hand with Absurdism's tendency for repetitious, inane dialogue, long awkward pauses and plays in real-time.
  • Anything directed and/or written by Robert Wilson

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy VIII: Rinoa floating in space. This would've been agonizing if anyone actually thought she was going to die.
  • In Myst: Uru: Path of the Shell, three puzzles are solved by waiting at one point for several minutes.
    • The reason for this is those puzzles were designed for the MMORPG which was dropped for various reasons. Cyan finished off the ages they'd been working on and packaged them as Path of the Shell, but their substitute for puzzles that needed multiple people was to put in ridiculous 15 minute pauses. When the online version was revived (briefly) we got to see how the puzzles were originally intended.
  • At one point in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, you have to drill into a specific area inside Bowser's body to fix his back. After doing so, several NPCs sit down to have a tea break before the game tells you, in no uncertain terms, to put down the DS and go do something else for a while. It's not kidding - if you do decide to wait it out, it'll take almost five minutes before you can regain control.
    • Unless, of course, you talked to that one NPC that gave you the code that literally makes time speed up to the exact moment you regain control when you input it. Then it's about five seconds, max.
  • To complete That One Sidequest in Braid, you have to wait for about an hour and a half in one stage for a slow-moving cloud to get from one side of the screen to a place where you're high enough to jump onto it. You then have to wait an additional half-hour for the cloud to get where you need to be. And this ties in with several of the game's messages.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has an optional sidequest puzzle like this (it's changed in Emerald).[2]
  • In Earthbound, the password to get into Belch's base is... waiting three minutes. No you don't SAY waiting three minutes. When the guy asks you the password, you just stand there. And probably go and get a sandwhich and drink.
  • Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors game for the Genesis includes a game called "Desert Bus" where you drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, at forty-five miles an hour. It's exactly as fun as you imagine. You also have to pay attention and actually keep holding the controls down correctly or the bus will veer off the road. Sometimes, a bug will suicide on the windshield. And eventually, night will fall.
    • And then the sun will rise!
      • When you finally arrive, it's time to take the return trip.
    • And if you veer off the road? The bus stalls and is towed back to Tuscon in real time!
  • Anybody crazy enough can pop in Microsoft Flight Simulator and fly long-haul trips that take exactly as long as reality. When this is trans-oceanic...
    • One mission involves flying a Concorde SST across the Atlantic. Even at supersonic speed, it takes several hours.
      • And there are people crazy enough. One popular add-on is called "In-Flight Entertainment" and allows you to watch your favorite DVD(s) in-game.
    • Even better? Orbiter. If you thought New York to Tokyo would be long, imagine Earth to Mars IN REAL TIME. Luckily, you can increase and decrease the speed of time in that simulator.
  • The 360 version of Guitar Hero II gave an achievement for watching the credits. The 15+ minute long credits where the only music is Push Push Lady Lightning on loop. Appropriately, the achievement icon is "ZZZ".
    • Similarly, Rock Band Unplugged (PSP) gives an in-game guitar based on the Backbone Entertainment logo after completing the Rolling Stone Rock Immortals List and sitting through the 10+ minutes of credits.
  • Turok 2: Oblivion's Leitmotif apparently runs on indefinitely without exactly repeating, due to the polyrythmic staggering of its instrument sequences. The YouTube clip of it is 15 minutes (split into two parts).
  • "Marginal Consciousness" from Battle Garegga is the only tune that doesn't technically loop, it indefinitely keeps increasing in pitch if listened to in the arcade game's sound test. This clip goes up almost two octaves.
  • In Halo: Reach's post-credits epilogue, the camera on Noble Six's discarded broken helmet shows his final moments from third person. No, you don't get to see his face.
  • The old Edutainment title Agent USA has you fighting off people that have been turned into walking TV fuzz and can fuzz you, making you lose control of your character. This doesn't end the game, though, and it's possible to just leave the game running for a few hours and suddenly randomly run into a power crystal that de-fuzzes you, getting you back into the game.
  • The Paranoia quest in Oblivion would work like this if you followed Glathir's advice to shadow the people he suspects are stalking him. For the most part the NPCs just go through scripted routines that make up the daily life of a farmer. Or you could just wait behind the church for 24 hours and tell him whatever you want.


Web Animation

Webcomics


Web Original

  • This is done horrifyingly well in Marble Hornets.
  • The original ending of The "Some Sucky Action Movie". It consisted of 2 minutes straight of Dr.T messing around with the camera (this may have been his first time doing that sadly) and showing the dead bodies, the dragon trying to leave but being told not to go, and him being a wacko. I cut the whole ending off for the better and I lost the original file, not that I'd upload it if I could. It still ended up succeeding in a So Bad It's Good way.
  • Attack of the Alium Monstars from Outside Space, due to the video being all one person operating the camera.
  • One Andrew Klavan on the Culture video had Klavan notice that that after the story he still had time left so he began to sing Never Gonna Give You Up then stopped after a few seconds sighed sadly and after he walked of screen the the wall of screens behind him began to play the music video for a few more seconds.
  • Every episode of I Love Alaska is a single long shot of Alaskan scenery, over which a monotone voice is played, along with occasional sound effects.


Western Animation

  • Drawn Together commonly uses this trope in gags, such as a shot of the cast sitting on the floor doing nothing, or Spanky Ham continually farting, both for more then a minute. This can overlap with Overly Long Gag.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Fire Ant" features a seemingly never ending scene in which Space Ghost follows an ant for TEN MINUTES with almost no dialogue or action. Predictably this scene was cut short in future airings and the original version is rarely seen, although it does show up on the DVD.
    • The joke here is on the viewer. The episode was built up as a special half-hour episode. In true Space Ghost style, that last half is completely worthless.
  • One of the biggest complaints about Family Guy, which not only makes a habit of making frequent cutaway gags to something completely irrelevent, but also makes them go on for way too long.
    • Including, at one point, a minute-long clip of Conway Twitty performing for no fucking reason.
  • Played with in the South Park episode "Cancelled", where Cartman demands Kyle stick his finger up his ass (for very important reasons). Kyle tries multiple times, but each time Cartman farts just before impact and scares Kyle away. Chef laughs the first few times, then says it isn't funny anymore. Cartman does it again and Chef says "Ok, now it's funny again."
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was famous for its very long, very slow pans used for establishing shots. A classic example of this trope being used for budgetary reasons.
  • The Invader Zim episode "Zim Eats Waffles" is mostly Dib watching Zim eat waffles from a security camera. The episode contains scenes where it is Zim sitting at his table eating waffles talking about his day and etc. with Gir. This is also a perfect example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • In the third season episode of Re Boot "The Episode With No Name," which is an Homage to Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western, the Quick Draw duel between AndrAIa and the female Guardian lasts one minute and thirteen seconds before either character draws their weapon. Like Sergio himself did, this was used to build the tension and to underline the psychological conflict between the two characters before they even began the physical confrontation. While they waited, the shot cut back and forth between their respective weapons, gazes, and their subconcious signs of stress. Ultimately, the fight is decided by a single shot.
  • Samurai Jack is famous for its very long, slow shots, usually of Samurai Jack wandering some vast landscape, which really drives home the idea of a lonely knight errant. Other times it's used to create tensions, such as when Jack was in the middle of a cat-and-mouse game with four elite hunters, or when he slowly walked into a trap set up by the episode's villains. Needless to say, it was used to great effect.

Notes

  1. You can totally see her butt flesh-colored pants at one point.
  2. To elaborate, it's the puzzle that opens Regice's cave; you click on the Braille puzzle and then wait two full minutes before it opens.
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