Created By: otemple700 on July 31, 2017 Last Edited By: otemple700 on September 20, 2017

Extreme Close-Up

Get in someone's face to be dramatic

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Ahem... This is a common technique in movies and television shows, Extreme Close-Ups ("ECU" or "XCU") are used when cameras zoom up to the face of the character in focus, sometimes zooming right in their eyes or any other part of their face. Often time it's used to emphasize drama, and other times it's used for comedy. Maybe even add a hint of mystery.

Often used in moments of Thousand-Yard Stare, or the Mexican Standoff. Compared to Gross-Up Close-Up.


Comic Books
  • This is given a Take That! on Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin's dad so thoroughly disgusted by the overuse of this trope that he feels the need to watch his show from the other side of the room.
  • Hopelessly narcissistic reporter Roland Hedley from Garry Trudeau's strip Doonesbury tends to hog the camera lens, especially since he's been reduced to vlogging. It's gotten worse since the development of high-definition broadcasting: "Oh, God, you can see every pore!"

  • Played for Laughs (along with everything else) in Spaceballs — the camera zooms in for a closeup on Dark Helmet and runs into him.
  • Many of the major Looney Tunes from Space Jam get an extreme closeup, as do Michael Jordan and Stan Podolak. These closeups are noted by The Nostalgia Critic in his review of the movie, triggering yet another spate of mouth-foaming histrionics.
  • A staple of spaghetti westerns — the climax of "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly," for example, features extreme close ups of Blondie, Angel Eyes, and Tuco's eyes, hands, and guns. Tarantino used similar shots as a way of paying homage.

Live Action TV

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Parodied in Ed, Edd n Eddy, where the camera zooms on Ed's face as he screams this trope.
  • In the Looney Tunes short Duck Amuck, Daffy finds himself a wide distance away from the camera and asks for a close-up. What he gets is a small frame around him, then he spazzes out before the camera zooms at his Death Glare eyes.
    "This is a close-up? A CLOSE-UP, YOU JERK! A CLOSEUP!!!"
  • Many 80's cartoons had a tendency to do this. Filmation was notorious for abusing extreme close-ups.
  • In The Last Airbender we get an extended closeup on Aang's face in the Air Temple scene.
  • Spongebob Squarepants is notorious for its use of Gross-Up Close-Up, but also includes other extreme close ups a lot.

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