Video Close Up & Extreme Close Up - Video Editing Glossary & Terms

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Close Up

Close up

Close up (CU) is usually a full-face shot composed from below the shoulder line. Itís a dramatic shot that can tell a story clearly.

CU has these characteristics:

  • It shows how the character looks like.
  • It emphasizes facial reactions.
  • Compared with extreme close up (XCU), audience will feel more relaxed and comfortable while watching a close up.
  • It may cause cut off problem.

Extreme Close Up

Extreme close up (ECU or XCU) shows only part of a subject, typically a face. For example, eye, mouth, hair, a smoking cigarette butt. The detail fills most, if not all, of the frame.

XCU has these characteristics:

  • It can hardly tell a story by itself
  • You can cut several XCU in a montage sequence to express a meaning
  • It has very powerful impact
  • It has been used more and more often in TV commercial and music video to deliver that visual impact

I believe you still remember those red sexy lips, shinning hair, and slim waist, in TV commercials. You are impressed by the visual beauty without knowing whose body that is.

Big close up

Big close up (BCU) covers the entire face.

BCU has similar characters as XCU with less impact. And you can also recognize the face and its expressions from a big close up.

Medium close up

Something between close up and medium shot.

Other Video Editing Terms:

180° Line
Video Capture or Digitize
Video Footage & Video Clip
Continuity Editing
Cut, Jump Cut & Cutaway
Cut Off
Video Frames
Log Sheet or Movie Shot List
Film & Video Montage
Video Shot & Take
Sequence & Movie Scene
Time Code
Video Transitions
Dissolve, Wipe, Fade
Tracking Shot
Pan, Tilt, Zoom
Long shot
Medium Shot
Two Shot
Video Editor


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