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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition by Christopher J. Bowen, Roy Thompson

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Be Aware of Eye-Line Directions in Closer Shots

Eye-line traces across film space to unite the subject’s gaze to some object of interest. Whether the object of interest is another person, a picture frame, a car outside of a window, or a menacing cloud in the sky does not matter. What does matter is the direction in which the actor’s eyes look when you cover them in a medium shot or closer. Wider shots convey general directions and head placement will matter, but close shots reveal more detail and place a keener emphasis on eye-line.

Generally, when the camera operator looks at the talent through the camera’s viewfinder he or she will have to gauge how accurate the eye-line of the actor is. Does it match the direction of the eye already established ...

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