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What is a close up shot?

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A film consists of multiple types of shots to build up different scenes and convey the emotions that the script demands. A lot goes behind implementing a shot that matches the emotional beat of a scene. These shots shape how a film appears to the audience, you can properly arrange them using a quality video editor. One of the most interesting shots is the close-up shot. Let us learn more about close-up shots and their application to films and videos.

Close up shot of a flower

What is a close up shot? 

A close up shot is a type of shot that captures a tight frame of the actor’s face. This makes their reaction the main focus of the frame. It establishes a strong connection between the audience and the actor. The use of this shot ensures that the character gets up close to the audience. The close-up shots capture the subject in a manner that they appear large while containing a high level of detail.

Why is it important to use a close up shot? 

Close-up shots are used to fulfil multiple purposes but why is it important to use them? Let us figure- 

  • Highlights nuances 

When the frame is uptight and close to the actor, the camera captures little nuances that a talented actor leaves through their face while being in the moment of the scene. These nuances help in conveying the emotions way better in a manner that connects the actor with the audience.

  • Demands attention

When the audience is watching a film it’s possible to miss out on scenes that highlight important details. A close-up shot demands to pay attention to highlight information that might be lost in the background. They can be used as a valuable tool to develop a plot. 

  • Helps the character arc 

Close-up shots capture the essence of an individual on-screen and serve it to the audience. When the audience is looking at a close up they understand the individual on a personal level. This helps the story to progress smoothly thereby completing the character arc while changing the audience’s perspective.

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When to apply a close up shot? 

Close-up shots are great but knowing when to use one can be tricky so it’s better to know the types of close-up shots and their application in films. 

  • Close up shot

A close-up shot usually features the face of the actor along with their shoulders and some visible background to add depth. 

  • Medium close up shot

In a medium close-up shot, the focus is on the actor while framing the camera up to the waist while leaving enough room for background. However, the prime objective of the shot is to get the best shot of the actor’s emotion.

  • Extreme close up shot 

An extreme close-up shot focuses on a particular part of the actor, most likely the face. This type of close-up is shot to put the audience’s focus on the actor’s reaction to make it important for the scene.  The focus can be on the eyes or mouth depending on the relevancy and the scene. 

How to take a creative close up shot? 

  • Know the varied close up shots 

To use a close up you must form a structure and know the shots that are going to appear before the shot and after the close-up to properly place it so that it doesn’t look out of place.

  • Keep the look consistent 

When you go close make sure the lighting is also adjusted according to the shot and doesn’t differ from that of the long shots.

  • Choose the right close up lens

You must choose a long lens that helps you create depth while bringing the complete focus of the audience to the actor. 

Learn how to make amazing close-up videos

Close-up shots play a huge role in films, TV, and videos. They form an essential element of storytelling, so make sure to use them wisely in your next video.

Want to learn more about video production or video editing? Learn about establishing shots, J-cuts, making a time lapse video and more in Clipchamp's Video Glossary. When you're ready to edit, just drag, drop and edit your video for free by signing up to Clipchamp.

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