Production: How To Do a Close Up

A close up is a way to show the subject in a larger, more detailed manner. With larger subjects, it is important to note that this type of shot will only be able to show aspects of the total image. Here are steps in order for you to take quality close up shots.

Step 1: Read the Manual

It is vital that filmmakers read their manuals at least twice in order to know the various features and functions of the video camera. Different cameras have distinct abilities. Before you start shooting videos, you must know how your video camera works besides the basic on, off and zoom buttons. Make notes on these features on a small index card. This can be laminated and attached to the camera strap for convenience and easy reference.

Step 2: Move towards the Subject

When shooting videos of a subject up close, get as near as you can. This reduces the need to use the zoom feature on the video camera, conserving battery power. Use the zoom function as the last option. Zooming in and out too many times will only produce shaky videos and can make the viewer feel queasy. Avoid using the camera's digital zoom features, as these only enlarge a small portion of the screen, producing grainy or pixilated videos. Use the video camera's optical zoom features as it relies on the lens in order to magnify. It is important to note that if you need to use the zoom function, you will need to stand some distance away to produce a clear image.

Step 3: Lighting Means Everything

Good lighting is important as it determines the quality of the close up shot. With poor lighting, you can expect to get washed out, grainy videos. Shooting a video where the light is poor will only produce washed out videos which cannot be repaired even during post production. Select an area where there is an adequate amount of light available. Shoot outdoors when possible. With videotaping indoors, incorporate as much light by opening blinds or use artificial lamps. Make sure that the light does not stand behind the subject to avoid having backlit images. It is also not advisable to shoot when the light is directly overhead as it produces extreme shadows.

Step 4: Use a Tripod

Placing the video camera on a tripod eliminates dealing with shaky video. The video becomes steadier. Some filmmakers like to shoot videos without using a tripod to give a more natural effect. However, too much unnecessary movement can also give the viewers a headache. Using a tripod will give filmmakers greater camera control as it leaves their hands free to play with the other features. Bring a tripod as much as possible, regardless of the type of terrain. In cases where a tripod is not possible, brace against a wall or a large rock for support. Another method is by placing your elbow against your body for support.

Step 5: Positioning

Place the subject at the middle of the video camera's view in order to produce a sharp close up. It makes it easier for the video camera to focus on the subject.

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