Long takes are shots that last longer than a conventional shot(4 - 7 seconds).
Why do directors use long takes? For many reasons. Long takes with fluid camera movements creates an experience like no other. It brings the audience into the story like as if they were actually there, switching angles without cuts.
Long takes do have its challenges. It requires precision. One mistake and the shot has to be retaken. In the YouTube video above uploaded by the World’s Greatest Lover, comes Oscar winner for best cinematography, La La Land. I’m not a big fan of musicals, but La La Land steals my heart. The intro is a great example of a long take. It is 4:13 minutes long. Now imagine how many takes it took to get everything right? There are many directors out there who specialize in long takes. One of them is Alejandro González Iñárritu, known for Birdman.
Long takes take more time and preparation then conventional shots but when done right the results are powerful in story telling.