Vulture has an illuminating interview today with Neil Marshall, who directed last night’s Game of Thrones, “The Watchers on the Wall.” The interviewer, Denise Martin, asked about the uninterrupted shot toward the end of the battle, which you can watch above. Here’s how Marshall explained it:
The first time I walked onto the Castle Black set, I noticed that it’s a 360-degree set. When you’re in the courtyard, you have the set all around you. I immediately thought I want to do a 360-degree crane shot of the battleground. And then I figured it should be linking all the characters together in a single shot, showing where they all are in an individual part of the battle. We rehearsed it for an hour, all the extras and the stunt guys and the camera. The camera on the crane was spinning around with such speed that if it had hit somebody it could have killed them. We did it in seven takes, and there’s no tricks there, it’s all one shot. We had a great AD team and a great stunt team and they worked it out in sections. Each section had a number and as the camera went around they’d call out a number and when they heard their number they’d start their action. When you break it down like that, it becomes a lot simpler, but still, there’s always the x-factor of someone takes a step to the left and the camera hits them or something.
Read the rest of the interview at Vulture.