On your first viewing of Birdman (Or: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), you would be forgiven to assume that the film was entirely filmed in one long continuous take from beginning to end, as every actor in each of their sequences hits their marks perfectly to the millisecond. In actuality Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki relied profoundly on using hidden cuts throughout the film, to blend the extended sequences together to create the illusion of only using a single take.
Editor Harrison Edgecombe has put together a montage that reveals all of the hidden cuts used in Birdman. The video doesn’t feature any narration and instead relies only on the original footage of the film so you will have to rely on your own eye and ears to catch the cuts that are there. It may be a challenge but worth the effort to spot all the transitions amidst push zooms, whip pans, and doors opening and closing.
In his description, Edgecombe made it clear that the video is about his appreciation for the editing saying:
“In this video, I analyse the hidden cuts of Birdman. This video, does not serve as a debunking of the seamless look of Birdman, but of the appreciation I have for the technique it uses so well. I counted 28 different cuts in the films, these probably served as opportunities to do such things as swapping lenses, swapping camera cards etc.”
Watch the video below and see how many different cuts you can spot.