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In order to fully engage your audience as a filmmaker, you must instill within them a sense of empathy for the characters on screen. The best way to do this is by using close-up shots.

Even if your film is low budget, moviegoers will likely ignore the setbacks that come along with low finances if they can identify with the cast.

What are close-up shots, you ask? Why are they used in film? What are the different types of close-up shots? How do you film close-up shots? 

In this article we will answer the questions above so that you can feel confident establishing empathy within your audience using close-up shots. 

What are Close-Up Shots?

Close-up shots are a type of camera angle that tightly frame the actor’s face or object. When properly implemented, these shots bestow emotion within the audience. When closed in on the actor’s face, the emotional connection felt by the onlookers helps to establish empathy for the cast which, in turn, creates more engagement. When close-up shots are used on objects or scene details, this can help to set the mood or expose clues later exposed within the plot. 

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Why are Close-Up Shots Used in Film?

Close-up shots are used in film to show details, increase intensity, set the mood or tone, and convey messages to the audience without having to use dialogue. They help to reveal what should be paid closer attention to.

How to Film Close-Up Shots

In order to properly film close-up shots, not only do you need the right lens, but you also need experience. Appropriate gear and knowledge on how to use it is necessary in order to get up close and personal with your subject without losing image resolution. These types of shots cannot be done with your smartphone. The ideal lenses for close-ups have an 85mm to 135mm range. 

Camera movements, framing and timing need to be accurately used in order to create emotional impact. Without experience, these components can be challenging to complete.

If you do not have a videography background, using an advanced videographer to film, produce and edit your project increases your potential for success.

Here at Dolphin Video Productions, we have the best team to bring your idea to life!

The Different Types of Close-Up Shots

  • Medium Close-Up: A shot where the subject is framed just above their head until approximately the  middle of their torso.
  • Close-Up: Tightly frames the head and neck of the subject. The tops of shoulders are sometimes included in a close-up.
  • Extreme Close-Up: Frames the subject very closely, oftentimes focusing on just a portion of the subject such as their mouth or eyes.
  • Insert Shot: A close-up that focuses on an object or specific detail the producers want the audience to pay close attention to.
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