The Extreme Close-Up Camera Shot:
How to Get "Up Close and Personal"!

The Extreme Close-Up ShotThe Extreme Close-Up Shot

With the extreme close-up camera shot... You can get "Up Close and Personal" with with the subject of your shot...!

Here's how to use it effectively…!


With this type of shot...

The "Private Space"

In most cultures the space within about 24 inches (60 cm) is generally felt to be a person's "Private Space".

The Subject of the shot...  part  of the Subject or a certain feature...

Fills the screen and is clearly  the central focus of the shot.

The extreme close-up camera shot takes the audience deep inside the boundaries of the subject's * "Private Space".

In video production the extreme close-up shot is abbreviated as an ECU on video production scripts and video production storyboards.


Ways to Use the Extreme Close-Up Camera Shot...

The Extreme Close-Up ShotThe Extreme Close-Up Shot

The extreme close-up is a uniquely special shot and you should plan it into your production very carefully before you use it.

The Extreme Close-Up Shot – Horror MovieThe Extreme Close-Up Shot – Horror Movie

You might use it to reveal horror in a subject...  such as an extreme close-up of the subject's mouth as he or she screams.

Or in a mystery story...  you might use it to show some small detail or clue that the detective picks up.

Use it when you want the audience's attention to be focused very tightly on one aspect of the character or scene.

Dramatic Extreme Close-Up ShotDramatic Extreme Close-Up Shot

Or use it to forcefully shift the audience's attention for dramatic purposes.

Using this shot wisely will keep your audience completely involved with the story. Just keep in mind however that this type of shot is too close to show general reactions or a lot of emotion except in very dramatic scenes such as a horror scene.

You would normally need a very specific reason to get this close to the subject in a shot and you would only use it briefly so that your audience stays oriented.


The "Choker" Shot...

Close-Up Camera Shot – The Choker ShotClose-Up Camera Shot – The Choker Shot

A variation of this type of basic camera shot is the “Choker Shot”... Also known as a BCU (Big Close-up)

It is typically framed on the subject's face from above the eyebrows to below the mouth.

Close-Up Camera Shot – The Choker ShotClose-Up Camera Shot – The Choker Shot

It is a shot about half way between a close-up and an extreme close-up camera shot.

You see this shot used in interviews a lot as it can be used to emphasize an interviewee's anxiety or tension and can suggest lying or guilt.


The "Italian Shot"...

Close-Up Shot – The Italian shotClose-Up Shot – The Italian shot

Another form of the extreme close-up is the "Italian Shot".

Close-Up Shot – The Italian shotClose-Up Shot – The Italian shot

This shot is where only a person's eyes are prominent.

It was named after the movie genre of Italian-Westerns by director Sergio Leone which established the popularity of this particular shot.


A Tip about Using the Extreme Close-Up...

Wrong use of extreme close-up shot

Just remember that... unfortunately...

Not all subjects look good in an extreme close-up shot.

Sometimes the shot will look more like a "mug shot" than anything else!

It’s not just about the skin tone or hair etc...

It's just that some people...

Even attractive people...

Just look "bad " in this type of close-up.

Video Production Tip #1

The "Rule of Thumb" here is...

* If you have an unattractive shot of someone or something... That isn't essential to the story line... Cut it out of the story!



The extreme close-up camera shot can be a powerful attention-getting shot and one that you can use to very good effect in your film or video.

Have fun with it but use it properly and don't overdo it.

It's a very good shot... in very small doses!


Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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