Edgar Wright on the Secrets of the Close-Up

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 29 2014 12:10 PM

Edgar Wright on the Secrets of the Close-Up

Filmmakers have been experimenting with the close-up since early director James Williamson first shoved his camera down his star actor’s throat (literally), but we’re still finding new ways to use it. That’s part of why this video from writer-director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World’s End) and /Film’s David Chen is interesting. He’s only talking about one type of shot, but in each of his films Wright has found ways to make it do new things, from speeding up the pace to parodying “tooling up” montages and beer advertisements.

Wright also discusses everything from his use of hip-hop montage to the secret to pulling off a whip pan onto a close-up (film it backwards), and Chen edits in clips to illustrate with examples. The focus of the video might seem a little microscopic to the casual moviegoer, but for Wright fans and those interested in the craft of filmmaking, it offers a lot of insight.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.