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From even before Norma Desmond
called for the infamous shot, right? “Alright, Mr.DeMille,
I’m ready for my close up.” Hollywood has been
obsessed with the close up. It was the money shot for
every classical movie star, but today it’s used more and
more just to fill a scene and I think that’s pretty lame. I want you to do better. Not because I care about you, but because I treat my low-grade depression
by binging on film and television. And I think it’d be nice if I
watch something great for a change. So today we’re gonna go over
the close up in modern cinema. And we even outline ways that you can make
that camera angle pop. But before we go further, how about you click
that link and subscribe, so you don’t miss out on
any of our video breakdowns? Okay. Are you ready? “Yeah, that’s right,baby.” Show us the logo. So what is a close-up shot? A close-up typically frames a
characters face for a motion. Whereas close on an
object for plot detail. There are all kinds of
variations of the close-up. From a medium close-up
shot like this. To an extreme close-up
shot like this. Let’s take a look
at a few directors that are crushing
the close-up game and see what we can learn
from what they’re doing. First up,
I want to talk Fincher. That guy does everything
with a purpose. These close-ups are
all about information. It’s like his secret weapon. Check out this
reveal from “Zodiac.” “-Just down basement. -Not many people have
basements in California.” We spent the entire
movie acquiring clues. Then we shift right into the
close up to reveal something. And it’s not just in “Zodiac.” When Fincher wants
to go in close, he goes in extremely close. Damn, I have never seen a
human hand burn at this angle. You’re crazy Fincher. “A lot of people who are
just like: What the fuck? Who is this twerp?” But what about someone who’s using
close-ups for purely emotional purposes. I’m talking about Steve McQueen. He uses them in every
one of his films but none are more powerful than
the close ups in “12 Years Slave.” In this medium close up,
we sit for 483 seconds. This is a quiet scene
of contemplation. Once again, McQueen wants
the audience to understand that there are no words for
what’s befallen this man. We have to steep in the inhumanity
of slavery and recognize it fully. The number one rule in cinema is
“Show, Don’t Tell.” And in this scene, we can hear Steve
McQueen loud and clear. But what if you want to get
across emotion and information. Look no further than
Kathryn Bigelow. To combine both and
show you how it’s done. In the “Hurt Locker”
Kathryn Bigelow uses extreme close-ups
to build tension as we watch characters literally
defuse a bomb in front of us. The use of these shots and
rapid editing create a whirlwind that harkens back
to the standoff at the end of Sergio Leone’s “The
good, the Bad and the Ugly.” We not only get the fear and frustration
of the characters in the scene, but we get a close-up look at the
process of taking apart a car bomb. But what if we want
our audience to laugh? Let’s talk Farrelly Brothers. For my money,
there’s no better close up than the Frank and Bean scene in
“There`s something about Mary.” Most of the scene is shot wide, but every time a new
person enters the bathroom, we get a close-up
of their reaction, and then a follow-up close
up of Ben Stiller’s horror, as everyone deals with
the situation at hand. It’s comedy gold. “Mike, Eddie, get down there quick.
Bring everybody. Bring a camera,
you`re not gonna believe this.” And the whole sequence ends
with an unexpected close up of the actual
downstairs situation. “We got a bleeder!” As you can see, there’s an art
and nuance to the close up. If you do it right,
your audience will reward you. Now you’ve got a good
grip on close up shots, it’s time to try them
out in your own work. Ready for production? That’s where StudioBinder`s
software can help. We can get your call sheets,
storyboards, shooting schedules and script breakdowns ready
for your next project. So get out there
and get creating. See you next time.

11 thoughts on “Close Up Shots that POP | The Best Camera Angles in Film

  1. Very interesting video, good job. However I think if you showed some work in which close ups are used in a bad way that would add a whole new layer to it.

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