Video: Edgar Wright Discusses the Wonderful Art of the Close-Up

Edgar Wright Close UpsWho doesn't love a good close-up? They're the shot that can heighten emotions, push the intensity, and look beautiful doing it, so learning all you can about not only composing such a shot, but its nature and narrative capabilities as well, is essential to grow as a storyteller. David Chen of Slash Film sat down with director Edgar Wright to discuss the art of the close-up -- the result -- an engaging 8 1/2 video essay. Enjoy!

When reviewing Wright's work, namely the Cornetto Trilogy: Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzzand The World's End (as well as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) it'd be impossible for his use of close-ups to go unnoticed. Highly stylized, satirical, and high-energy, the close-ups used by Wright reflect his films, as well as their genre. For example, his approach to using close-ups in Shaun of the Dead was to parody the tooling up montages you'd see in  action films by doing a similar montage of his characters doing mundane activities.

Not only does he use close-ups as a comedy device, but he also uses them to set the speed of his movies and, in a way, force the edit. He mentions in the video essay that by starting a scene with a close-up, you are essentially giving the editor no other choice but to mark that shot as the beginning of your scene -- which might be an effective method if you have very specific parameters for different aspects of your film.

Check out Chen's discussion with Edgar Wright below -- and be prepared to see a bevy of awesome crash zooms.

What about Edgar Wright's discussion stuck out to you? Which filmmakers have inspired your cinematic approach to close-ups? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Watch This: Edgar Wright Explores the Art of Close-Ups -- Slash Film

[via Filmmaker IQ]

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Your Comment


Amazing catch, funny there's no comments on this article, you should maybe stamp 4K in the tittle ? just kidding
Thanks for posting this video, very informative, the kind of stuff that stays with you after you watch.

February 4, 2014 at 6:35PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Did someone say 4k!? (but really this is awesome, nice find!)

February 4, 2014 at 9:13PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Indeed. I'm so inspired by the work of this guy!

February 4, 2014 at 9:20PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Very cool commentary, and nice use of crash zooms. I'll have to practice more to get the crash zooms and nail them instead of doing the usual backwards zooms.

February 5, 2014 at 12:18AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Hah, very insightful. We had that same problem, packing pickups into the first hour and lunchtime on our feature. You really feel like you're maximising your time and it's those moments where it feels properly homemade and fun again. The rest can feel a bit machine like sometimes.

I do feel this technique has become a bit of a crutch for him, but it's undeniably his signature and it's very effective, so who am I to judge!? Definitely used it myself.

February 5, 2014 at 2:08AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I'm always looking for videos like this to show my middle schoolers, where the content is appropriate for them and no one is cussing but they clearly show you something really cool and instructive about constructing shots, etc. So many times they're using scenes from Godfather or a violent part of Goodfellas and while they're brilliant I can't show them to my kiddos. Keep 'em coming!

February 5, 2014 at 7:23AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Brilliant! So nice to see an article about content. Don't get me wrong the technical stuff is very useful but beautifully shot crap is still crap!

February 6, 2014 at 6:56AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


good advice. A lot of times I have trouble with pacing and not quite having enough to cut to. It's always a good idea to get more coverage than you need.

February 6, 2014 at 10:53AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM