Close-up


Close-up
A close-up shot

In filmmaking, television production, still photography and the comic strip medium a close-up tightly frames a person or an object. Close-ups are one of the standard shots used regularly with medium shots and long shots (cinematic techniques). Close-ups display the most detail, but they do not include the broader scene. Moving in to a close-up or away from a close-up is a common type of zooming.

Close-ups are used in many ways, for many reasons. Close-ups are often used as cutaways from a more distant shot to show detail, such as characters' emotions, or some intricate activity with their hands. Close cuts to characters' faces are used far more often in television than in movies; they are especially common in soap operas. For a director to deliberately avoid close-ups may create in the audience an emotional distance from the subject matter.

Close-ups are used for distinguishing main characters. Major characters are often given a close-up when they are introduced as a way of indicating their importance. Leading characters will have multiple close-ups. There is a long-standing stereotype of insecure actors desiring a close-up at every opportunity and counting the number of close-ups they received. An example of this stereotype occurs when the character Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, announces "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" as she is taken into police custody in the film's finale.

Close-up of an unusual coin.

Close-up shots do not show the subject in the broad context of its surroundings. If overused, close-ups may leave viewers uncertain as to what they are seeing. Close-ups are rarely done with wide angle lenses, because perspective causes objects in the center of the picture to be unnaturally enlarged. Certain times, different directors will use wide angle lenses, because they can convey the message of confusion, and bring life to certain characters.

Contents

Types of close-up

A filmmaker captures a Dutch angle close-up of an astronaut's head resting against a porthole. His face fills half the frame, seen in the on-board monitor.

There are various degrees of close-up depending on how tight (zoomed in) the shot is. The terminology varies between countries and even different companies, but in general these are:

  • Medium Close Up ("MCU" on camera scripts): Half-way between a mid shot and a close-up. Usually covers the subject's head and shoulders.
  • Close Up ("CU"): A certain feature, such as someone's head, takes up the whole frame.
  • Extreme Close Up ("ECU" or "XCU"): The shot is so tight that only a detail of the subject, such as someone's eyes, can be seen. [1]
  • Lean-In: when the juxtaposition of shots in a sequence, usually in a scene of dialogue, starts with medium or long shots, for example, and ends with close-ups.
  • Lean-Out: the opposite as a lean-in, moving from close-ups out to longer shots.
  • Lean: when a lean-in is followed by a lean-out.

When the close-up is used in shooting, the subject should not be put in exactly the middle of the frame. Instead, it should be located in the frame according to the law of golden section.

The history of the close-up

An early close-up, from D. W. Griffith's The Lonedale Operator (1911).

The earliest filmmakers — such as Thomas Edison, Auguste and Louis Lumière and Georges Méliès — tended not to use close-ups and preferred to frame their subjects in long shots. Film historians disagree as to which filmmaker first used a close-up, but D.W. Griffith used the shot extensively at an early date. For example, one of Griffith's short films, The Lonedale Operator (1911), makes significant use of a close-up of a wrench that a character pretends is a gun.

Close-ups may be more expensive than other shots due to the extra lighting and make-up needed.

References

  • Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (2006). Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-331027-1. 

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Close — (kl[=o]s), a. [Compar. {Closer} (kl[=o] s[ e]r); superl. {Closest}.] [Of. & F. clos, p. p. of clore. See {Close}, v. t.] 1. Shut fast; closed; tight; as, a close box. [1913 Webster] From a close bower this dainty music flowed. Dryden. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • close — vb 1 Close, shut are very close synonyms in the sense of to stop or fill in an opening by means of a closure (as a door, a gate, a lid, or a cover) and are often used interchangeably. However, they may have distinctive nuances of meaning and… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • close — close1 [klōs] adj. closer, closest [ME clos < OFr < L clausus, pp. of claudere (see CLOSE2); senses under II from notion “with spaces or intervals closed up”] I denoting the fact or state of being closed or confined 1. shut; not open 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • close — 1 vb closed, clos·ing vt 1: to bring to an end or to a state of completion closed the case close an estate by liquidating its assets closing his account 2: to con …   Law dictionary

  • close — Ⅰ. close [1] ► ADJECTIVE 1) only a short distance away or apart in space or time. 2) (of a connection or resemblance) strong. 3) denoting someone who is part of a person s immediate family. 4) (of a relationship or the people conducting it) very… …   English terms dictionary

  • Close — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alex Close, belgischer Radrennfahrer Brian Close, englischer Cricketspieler Charles Close, britischer Geograph Chuck Close (* 1940), US amerikanischer Maler Del Close, US amerikanischer Schauspieler und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Close To Me — Single par The Cure extrait de l’album The Head on the Door Face A Close to Me Face B A Man Inside My Mouth Sortie 17 septembre 1985 Enregistrem …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Close to Me — Single par The Cure extrait de l’album The Head on the Door Face A Close to Me Face B A Man Inside My Mouth Sortie 17 septembre 1985 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Close — may refer to: Close (surname) In music: Close , a song by Rascal Flatts from Unstoppable Close , a song by Soul Asylum from Candy from a Stranger Close , a song by Westlife from Coast to Coast Close (to the Edit) , a song by Art of Noise Other:… …   Wikipedia

  • close — [adj1] near, nearby abutting, across the street, adjacent, adjoining, approaching, around the corner, at hand, contiguous, convenient, give or take a little*, handy, hard by, immediate, imminent, impending, in spitting distance*, in the ball… …   New thesaurus

  • Close Up — Бокс сет Элвиса Пресли Дата выпуска …   Википедия


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