close-up at the cinema


There are two types of close-ups. The close size and the close-chest. They have in common to create a certain intimacy with the character, it seems accessible, and even vulnerable. They put forward that said and done a character without too much focus on her game. The objective of the close is to understand, to describe, to the psychology and emotions of a character. The viewer’s attention is focused on the looks, the expressions of the face.

The close size frame the characters at the level of the belt. The focus is on the character and what he’s said or done without neglecting his body. Some elements of the decor still appear in the background to set the context.

The close-chest will be perceived as more intimate to the viewer. He frames the characters a little below the armpits. The focus is not on the upper part of the body of the character, but on his face. The objective is to clearly understand the intentions and the psychology of the character.

The angle of view privileged is common and often subjective (that is to say that we see through the eyes of another character).

A few examples

In Match Point, Woody Allen uses many close-ups chest during scenes of seduction between the characters played by Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in order to create tension animal in the viewer. This is not the case for this plan. He preferred a close-up size. The remote still allows you to see the game of seduction through the eyes of Scarlett Johansson, but the framing at the level of the size brings many additional elements : The character of Matthew Goode would like his girlfriend by the waist, as if to show that she is his. The color of the clothes also reinforces the fact that they are a couple and the character of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is an intruder.

This close-up chest is meant to show the determination of the hero. The fact that there is a hidden limit to the importance of facial expressions. It is really the posture and gait of the actor that will create a feeling in the viewer.

To go further

If you want to deepen your knowledge on this subject and develop your expertise, you can purchase the books “plans for the cinema : the big effects movie that every filmmaker needs to know” and “Carry out his films shot by shot“.

Keywords: plan size definition, close-up definition

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