Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Extreme Closeups


In recent years, the extreme closeup has been the go-to shot in movies and even in TV.

I don't understand why seeing the age spots, nose hairs, pores, and less than perfect teeth of actors is a good thing.

Perhaps long shots are passe but why the extreme closeup so often?

Do we need such proximity to a character to believe in them? Does it feel more intimate to you or too intimate to you?

13 comments:

George said...

Hi-def TV makes those extreme close-ups even worse, Patti. Especially on local news programs where "average" people are interviewed without the make-up. I'm shocked at the number of people who need dentistry...badly!

F.T. Bradley said...

Yeah, HDTV is tough on even the prettiest... I vote for the more distant shot, and a camera filter.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Why do they think we need to see people closer than real life allows us?

Margot Kinberg said...

I have to agree with you, Patti. Extreme close-ups make even attractive people look, well, bizarre. No wonder there's so much stress these days in the media on one's appearance...

Todd Mason said...

Well, they are supposed to shake up the viewer. They are meant to make us feel uncomfortable, in at least some circumstances.

Any time you see that where there obviously isn't that intention, it might well be in anticipation of "tv everywhere," the notion that increasing numbers of folks watch video through their telephones and other microscreens.

Cullen Gallagher said...

From what I understand, these sorts of shots are more common now because people's screens are getting smaller. So, directors have been catering towards the smaller screens.

Watching a movie like Jacques Tati's Playtime (from the late 60s) on a TV is impossible -- the shots are so long, the details so small, that you need a huge theatrical screen for it to make sense.

A lot of newer movies figure that they're going to be watched by more people on video, tv, and computers, so they adjust accordingly. And, in a lot of cases, something is lost by this mentality.

Richard R. said...

So they edit the way they make films according to their assumptions about what THEY THINK we'll watch it on? Get real and get out of my head and just make good films! Go make your assumptions somewhere else, filmmakers. BAH !!!

and no to the tight shots, and the rapid cuts, too.

Yes, I'm grumpy. I get that way some days.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We all do, Rick.
I watch most movies on a very large screen at a theater. So it is very annoying to never get a long shot of a scene.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

They greatly reduce the viewer's participation in the story, or understanding of a character, thus distancing viewers. We grasp character much better when we can integrate gestures, posture, voice, grooming, and relationships to other characters. Directors or cinematographers who do this are actually damaging the story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So true, Richard. I want to know about more than a character's face in a film. Extreme closeups seem like a director's gambit.

Deb said...

One of my favorite headlines from last year (although I swear I did not read the article) was "HDTV bad for porn industry." The sub-heading was (I swear this is true), "Razor stubble is a major problem."

All together now: Eeeeuuuuwwww!

Cap'n Bob said...

I see it as part of the MTV effects craze that so many directors slavish copy.

Erik Donald France said...

Agreed -- too close. TMI.

Theatre provides the dazzle of mystery & beauty.