ESSAY 6 - EXTREME CLOSE-UP (ECU) Photographs by Carl Hitt...

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EXTREME CLOSE-UP (ECU) Photographs by Carl Hitt and Frank Scheide. A ” long shot shows all of a subject from the top of that individual’s head to the bottom of his or her feet. Prior to 1910 the long shot was the camera placement of preference - a reflection of the tendency for filmmakers to show an entire set and all of the action as if one were watching a play being performed on stage. The LS is more concerned with capturing body language than emphasizing vast distance, as is the case of the extreme long shot. An “ extreme long shot ” usually emphasizes extreme distance in order to establish the setting of the picture. A good example of an ELS is the shot of the miners forming the long line going up into the mountains at the beginning of The Gold Rush. When a character is shown in extreme long shot the director often wants to show that person’s relationship to the environment. Most of an actor’s facial expressions and body language can not be seen in an ELS. By the middle 1910s film directors were relying less on the long shot as their most standard placement. They now recognized the versatility of the “ medium shot - a placement that frames a person from the top of her or his head and cuts that person off somewhere just above or below the knees. This closer camera placement enabled facial expression to be seen while allowing most of the actor’s body language to remain visible. It also eliminated visual background information, which would be seen in a LS, that did not need to be emphasized in every shot. The medium shot became the preferred placement for many silent film directors by the early 1920s, but not to the exclusion of the other camera setups. Filmmakers were now becoming increasingly sensitive to how each camera position has its pluses or minuses, depending upon what one wishes to communicate. As filmmakers demonstrated a greater propensity for closer and more intimate images of the face by the end of the silent era, the medium close-up was increasingly employed. The MCU frames a subject from the top of the head, but cuts the person off somewhere in the middle of the chest. The MCU emphasizes an actor’s facial expressions while still allowing for some body language to be seen. A director often employs a “ close-up ” when she or he particularly wants to express what a character is feeling. Usually the CU concentrates on a person’s face and does not include more that the very top of the subject’s shoulders. This placement draws attention to intimate facial expression and gesture that might not be seen in a longer placement. Forcing the viewer to look this closely at someone’s face can have a greater emotional impact than if we see that subject from a distance. Filmmakers can orchestrate the dramatic tension and our psychological involvement with a scene by using close-ups and long shots to literally physically pull us in or distance us from the subject on the screen. The definition for an
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course FILM LECTU 1103 taught by Professor Student during the Spring '08 term at Arkansas.

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ESSAY 6 - EXTREME CLOSE-UP (ECU) Photographs by Carl Hitt...

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