Shot Sizes: The Extreme Close-Up

An extreme close-up showing a detail of a synthesizer.
An extreme close-up showing a detail of a synthesizer. (Image by Peter Gorges)

When you look at objects around you, you actually see them in tunnel vision, focusing on just one detail at a time. As you are reading this, you are probably unaware of the surroundings of this text. To simulate this on television, you need extreme close-up shots.

What exactly is an extreme close-up and what separates it from a normal close-up shot? Most people think a shot is extreme close-up when the camera is extremely close to the subject. This, however doesn't define an extreme close-up.

An extreme close-up is different from a close-up in that in shows only one detail of your subject. A single word on a sign. A ring on someones hand.

The extreme close-up is very effective and it is the equivalent of taking your viewer's face, and hold it against your subject so it's impossible to miss the message you're trying to convey.

Though this may sound absurd, it is very important that you become comfortable filming extreme close-ups. You'll always make your editor happy with them.

About the author
Joseph de Meij

I am Joseph de Meij, 25 years old and I am a freelance cameraman who loves to travel. I'm currently trying to find different ways to overcome my toxic career syndrome and find out what my goals are in life.

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