Well, I’m still busy, busy, busy as a storyboard supervisor and being all drunk with power and stuff.
But anyhoo, here we are! The final post of this long-ass Wall-E series known as ‘The Shot Tells the Story’. As usual, you can find the rest of the shots here in the introduction post.
Actually, there might be one more wrap-up post. Because I thought it would be fun to string the shots together. Don’t ya think?
We find ourselves at the Extreme Close-Up. You can guess what this shot looks like. It’s a Close-Up.
In the last post on the Close-Up, I told you that getting close like that is very intimate. It’s getting very up close and personal with your character or subject matter.
So you’d think with the Extreme Close-Up it would be super-duper-intimate, right?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no.
It can be super intimate or it can just be a very useful information tool. It depends what you’re showing and why. I find it to be much more of an information-teller myself. Because to me this shot says:
In this shot, nothing else matters but the subject matter. And it’s usually going to be a particular part of that subject matter. Backgrounds are unimportant (or unrecognizable) in the Extreme Close-Up.
It’s all about one particular thing. One particular part of your character. The eyes. A hand. The mouth.
Pair an Extreme Close-Up with a pair of eyes and a voice saying, “I love you.” or of a mouth saying, “I hate you.” and you’ve got yourself a pretty intense moment there.
Sidenote: One of my biggest pet peeves is the ‘one-eye shot’. I guess it comes from looking at too many student films (usually in Anime style) that tried to use it to be all deep and stuff. Ugh. It never worked. If there is no good reason for showing just one eye. DON’T.
The only exception is if you work on ‘Lost’. They use one-eye shots and I love them. Because I love ‘Lost’. So the ‘Lost’ guys are off the hook from my rant. Thank you.
On the other hand, if you’re showing an object, the Extreme Close-Up is a very effective information-giver. This is when you’re really telling the audience, “You need to see this and ONLY this.”
This is the one shot that can really save your butt in the ‘don’t lose your audience’ department. Using this shot in the right place keeps your audience informed. It keeps them comfortable. They have all the information they need.
Let’s take an even closer look at the Extreme Close-Up and what information the shot provides.
“Look, I press this button and to make the conveyor move.”
“Hmm. Part spoon. Part fork. Which side?”
“Here’s how I recharge.”
“Ack! I squished you. Are you OK?”
“I’m pressing my little red record button.”
“Ooo, shiny diamond ring in a little box.”
“I’m mimicking the holding hands I see on my movie.”
“See this cool little component.”
“I’m reaching out. I won’t hurt you.”
“See this red light. See it? You better.”
“I’m trying to hold Eve’s hand like in the movie.”
“Plant symbol equals REAL plant.”
“I’m suddenly shutting down. You can see it by my eyes.”
“This plant symbol is important. I’ve shut down and it’s all that’s left.”
You have quite a range in these samples. Some are emotionally charged. Some are just general (but important) information. And some have really, really important information the audience has to know.
Go through the movie and mentally remove these shots. You’ll lose the story really fast. You’ll find yourself saying, “Huh? What? What’s going on? Why’d that happen?”
So use them in the right place to prevent that. Don’t ever make your audience go “Huh? What?” when they shouldn’t be.
Give them the information they need with the Extreme Close-Up.
“You need to see this and ONLY this.”
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