OK, I’m back and I’m going to do this post because it’s the last day of 2008 and it’s cool to put up a post on the last day of the year.
Or my analness is just showing through. Whichever.
So! We’re at the fifth post of the series ‘The Shot Tells the Story’ using the movie Wall-E as my lesson plan. Yet again, you can find the whole list of shots in the introduction post.
We’re now at the close-up.
Ooo, the close-up.
The close-up is an ‘information giver’. An ’emotion teller’. A ‘look at this-er’.
But to really sum up what this shot says, it would be:
“This is important.”
When framing a character, the close-up is usually the full head (some of the top can be cropped off), the neck and a certain amount of shoulder showing. The way NOT to frame a close-up is just a full head and no neck.
This gives you a ‘head in a box’ look and it ain’t pretty. Don’t be slicing off your character’s heads and putting them in boxes please. Just. Don’t. It’s all sorts of wrong.
You can crop closer, but that is an extreme close-up which would be, you guessed it…next post.
This shot is all about the subject, be it character or object. It’s telling us something. It’s showing us something. Something important.
Use it wisely.
Let’s take a closer look at the close-up.
“Look, I collect stuff and put it in here.”
When combined with camera movement and a focus change, this shot tells us what to look at.
“I’m staring at something off-camera.”
“This is what I’m staring at. Look at that.”
“I’m touching it gently. It’s delicate.”
“See this light. I can’t grab it.”
“I can be threatening. Don’t mess with me.”
“Hot! Hot! Hot!”
“I’m capable of emotion. Watch me laugh.”
“See my wipers wipe away the dust. Cool, huh?”
“I see him, he sees me, you see us.”
“I’m fixing the videotape.”
“I’m watching my movie intently. I see them hold hands.”
“This plant is causing me to react. What’s happening?”
“Watch my eyes.”
The close-up is much more intimate than the previous shots we’ve looked at.
We can smell the character.
We can get inside their head.
It’s taking a step closer to someone and them whispering something to you.
It tells us the important stuff we need to know to understand the story.
If the audience needs to see something, grab them by the nose and drag them to see it with the close-up.
“This is important.”
And so is this:
Happy New Year! 2009! (almost) Wee!
Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email for the next post in this series and the first one of 2009; ‘the extreme close-up’.