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Extreme Close-Up

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"Extreme Close-Up! WWOAAAAAAAHHH!!!" "WWOAAAAAAAHHH!!!"

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 (with some letterboxing for good measure) 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, Eyedscreen and Eye Recall.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 2005 Doraemon anime loves this trope. As seen in the image above, one episode had a pretty strange fascination with the title character's eyes as he demonstrates the Blind Spot Star to Nobita - and they seem to use this trope on him the most.
  • Often used in Death Parade on character’s eyes, for dramatic effect. The final episode, notably, has a couple close-ups of Chiyuki’s eyes surrounded by window frames as a makeshift diagetic letterbox.
  • In Fresh Pretty Cure!, Love's first appearance is a big closeup on her face as she bawls her eyes out.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure loves to use this, especially when bizarre shit happens.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: After Naofumi is cornered and accused of kidnapping Princess Melty, he appears willing to cooperate to avoid as much bloodshed as possible. That is until someone shouts "You mustn't listen to him!" and the camera quickly zooms onto Malty.
  • An early OVA based on Sony's Tama & Friends does this with the title character as he approaches his owner after he transforms into a cat.
  • Thunderbolt Fantasy has a habit of doing this whenever characters make dramatic rants.

    Comic Strips 
  • This is given a Take That! on Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin's dad is so thoroughly disgusted by the overuse of close-ups on television 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!"

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • In Aladdin, where this literally happens to the Peddler after he asks the audience to come closer.
  • Prince John's reflection in the crystal ball in Robin Hood (1973).
  • In Oliver & Company, Fagin's face comes close to Sykes' outdoor camera while saying "If you're busy, we can drop by some other time."
  • In Turning Red, this is used when Tyler points Mei out at the Daisy Mart zooming in to her face.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The colidifier happens to be The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the final film in Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name trilogy.
  • Played for Laughs (along with everything else) in Spaceballs — the camera zooms in for a closeup on Dark Helmet and runs into him.
  • In the opening "We're in the Money" sequence of Gold Diggers of 1933, the camera slowly zooms in on Fay Fortune as she sings in Pig Latin, to the point that her face takes up the entire frame.
  • Naturally, the two film versions of Wayne's World (one of which provides the page quote) both have Extreme Close-up moments.
  • Those moments are parodied in Stay Tuned, where two Extreme Close-ups hit Roy in the face. A third is called the "Red Hot Poker in the Eye Cam", but he's able to get free of it.
  • In The Last Airbender we get an extended close-up on Aang's face in the Air Temple scene.
  • This happens in one lovely moment in The Addams Family Values, where Pugsley and Wednesday wait in the hospital while Morticia gives birth. Another child with them tells an exaggerated Delivery Stork story, so Wednesday responds with how her parents got the baby.
    Wednesday: They had sex.
  • Played for Drama in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when Ego tells Peter he intentionally had his mother die of cancer.
  • Used to great dramatic effect in a number of Sergio Leone's films. One example: the final standoff in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly switches between ever-closer and increasingly rapid shots of the three main characters, including shots that only include their eyes, making for an incredible tension that's abruptly released when one of them finally shoots.
  • The museum scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off features back-and-forth increasing close-ups between Cameron's face and the pointillist painting that he's staring at.
  • In Batman & Robin, when Robin confronts Poison Ivy in her lair, trying to determine if she can be trusted and if her love for him is real like she claims, as Ivy is begging Robin to kiss her just once before he leaves to confront Mr. Freeze, the screen changes to focus entirely on her lips as she whispers "for luck" to him, and stays there for a moment as her lips curl into a seductive smile.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music Videos 
  • Tears for Fears:
    • The "Change" music video ends with a freeze-frame of Curt Smith's mouth.
    • In the "Pale Shelter" music video, we get a very detailed glimpse of the alligator's eye.
    • "The Way You Are" music video includes a few close-ups of Smith's mouth.

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games, there is a very common, and usually unnecessary, idiosyncratic zooming-in on various characters in the cutscenes.
  • Done in the first remake of Lunar: The Silver Star in which the camera zooms on Luna's face during her Heroic BSoD just seconds before she is kidnapped.
  • In Mega Man 8, the camera closes in on Dr. Light a few times during the cutscene he was examining the dark energy.
  • Occurs in Street Fighter games from IV onwards whenever a character performs an Ultra.
  • Limbo of the Lost, repeatedly, for no readily apparent reason except possibly a clumsy attempt to cover up missing and/or poor-quality animation. It really doesn't help.
  • Wayne's World (Gray Matter): The SNES version pulls off the Extreme Close-Up by zooming in and out of Wayne's and Garth's faces thanks to Mode 7. The Genesis one can only move large sprites of their faces from side to side.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • The Anime Man does this often with his face, usually when making a sarcastic aside or a similar comment that he wants to emphasize. He also tends to add speedlines for extra oomph.
  • ASMR videos often feature the creator coming very close to the camera, either as part of a roleplay or in order to speak directly into the microphone(s) behind the camera.
  • Nightfall: Twice, the camera zooms in to Eve's face, until only part of her face can fit inside the frame. The first time both eyes are the focus, and the second time the focus is only on one eye. Both are done to facilitate showing the audience what Eve is looking at.
  • Dream Machine: One of the actors auditioning for the role of Duncan in Offcomer in 1.04. The Opposite of People. He’s afraid that moving too far away from the camera will mean the nuances of his Casablanca monologue will be lost.
  • Food Battle: apparently happens during the end of almost every food battle aside from 2014, 2015 and 2016. Played for comedy on how so close up and pissed they look thou.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z: In Episode 8, when Mario and Sonic are approaching the Omega Doomship, Bowser orders his troops to zoom in on what's coming towards them, receiving a close-up of Mario's face.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia does a lot of facial closeups throughout the series, especially in the later seasons. One shining example is in "The Plantars Check In" with Sprig, who drank lots of caffeinated drinks.
    Sprig: [extreme close-up] I AM THE TIME LORD NOW.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: in "Pretty Poison" we're treated to a closeup shot of Poison Ivy's mouth as she applies her Drugged Lipstick and sensually whispers out "with a kiss."
  • Famously parodied in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode: "Don't Rain on My Ed", where the camera zooms on Ed's face as he yells "EXTREME CLOSE-UP!!!"
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: The camera zooms closer and closer into Percy's face at an odd angle as he stands horrified a moment after seeing the Briarwoods again.
  • 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 in on his bloodshot Death Glare eyes.
    Daffy: This is a close-up? A CLOSE-UP, YOU JERK! A CLOSEUP!!!
  • PAW Patrol: Happened with Chase a couple of times in post-movie episodes.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: Happens a couple times in the first few minutes of "Son of Stimpy", and one of the surprisingly few times it's not the gross out kind. First there's an up close of Stimpy's butt seconds before the, um... "birth of Stinky". Then later when Stimpy tries to fart a second time for Ren, we see a close up of Stimpy's butt cheeks as they strain, swell up, and deflate like balloons.
  • Rugrats has a tendency to open episodes with a close-up of something and slowly zoom out to show what it is.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is notorious for its use of Gross-Up Close-Up, but also includes other extreme close-ups a lot.
  • One episode of Glitch Techs features Miko's face zoomed in while she rides on a jet-pack and asked for more juice for it.

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