Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 2 Tutorial #5—The Closeup

Ah, the closeup! A very sensitive area for me.

Why? Because starting some time in the late 1980's or early 1990's, American film directors (and their non-American imitators) suddenly forgot that closeups have a purpose. They started using closeups CONSTANTLY! As a result, it's purpose has been undermined. Watch any movie or t.v. show today and you'll see what I mean.

Getting a camera all up in an actor's face should be done in only one situation: to show the audience the power of that moment as it registers on the person's face. Think about Vivian Leigh in "Gone With the Wind" when she walks into the triage. As the camera closes on her face, we feel her disgust and horror as it registers on her face. Then camera pulls back to reveal to the audience why she's reacting that way. Now that's filmmaking. The tension and power of the moment was heightened by using closeups sparingly.

Below is a closeup from my rough animatic:

Sherm Cohen's explanation of closeups in storyboards is here.