In video production, shots are classified as wide, medium, or close-ups. A wide shot shows the entire scene, the close-up concentrates on a small detail and a medium shot is somewhere in between.
All three are important but the close-up is by far the MOST important.
It is also the type of shot most ignored by novices.
Most new video producers overuse wide shots and ignore the close-up. This mistake leads to boring videos that don’t draw in the viewer.
Especially with internet video, close-ups need to be predominant. If someone is watching video on the internet, the viewing area is tiny. Watching a 3 inch by 4 inch screen size means that if you really want the viewer to SEE something, you must fill the frame with it. If you expect viewers to really get a good look at those earrings you are selling, that will never happen in a wide shot of that shows two people sitting on a couch wearing the earrings. The earrings would look like nothing more than a stray pixel!
Get a good tight shot that fills the frame with the earrings. Then the viewer can see the detail and beauty. Same goes for pictures of digital video cables. If I want you to be able to see exactly what a USB connection looks like, have to use a close-up.
There are two ways to get a close-up. One is to have the camera a distance away and zoom all the way in. The other is to place the camera very close to the object and use the wide angle setting. (Zoomed all the way out.)
Believe it or not, the second way will probably work better. Now this depends a bit on what kind of video camera and lens you have but in the majority of cases it is true.
There are several reasons for this. One is that on a zoomed in setting, it is more difficult to focus because a zoomed in lens naturally has less depth of field. (Depth of field means how much of the picture will appear in focus) A lens on the wide angle setting (zoomed out) has virtually infinite focus.
A zoomed in lens might need to be at least 5 or 6 feet away from an object to get it in focus at all. Being that far away, chances are that you won’t even be able to get very tight on your object so you end up with a shot that is not close enough and out of focus to boot!
On most video cameras, a feature called “macro” kicks in when you have it zoomed all the way out. Macro describes the capacity of the lens to focus on an object even if you are as close as an inch. If you are that close, even an object the size of a postage stamp will fill the frame.
Next time you are watching TV, movies or video, notice how often close-ups are used. Notice too what effect the close-up has on the storytelling. Chances are, the details of the story are told using close-ups. The emotions are told using close-ups too. If you really want to see the anguish on someone’s face, you need a close-up, not a wide shot from across the street!
Close-ups also tend to be more interesting shots because they often give the viewer a perspective they do not normally see. Anytime you give the viewer an unusual perspective like that, you have added to the visual interest and entertainment value of your video.
So, make sure and use lots of close-ups in your next video!
Thanks for reading video production tips.
Internet Video Gal