So, we're on your backs all the time telling you to stop popcorn-watching and start to do close readings on films. You, on the other hand, look at us like we're crazy and nodd your heads just to shut us up.
Well, just so that you can stop banging your head against the wall, here is an example of a close reading, using the opening credits of Inside Man (2006).
You now have no excuse next time you look at one of your teachers and say, "but Miss, I don't know what a close viewing is!"

Example of Close Viewing Notes
Inside Man Opening Credits

  • No diegetic sound
  • c/up
  • Where? Shows cell – L/S / M/S – midsized crammed into long – creates sense of lack of space
  • Time lapse – cut to’s of game scene but him doing different things
  • Cut back to narrator c/up
  • In black, then zoom in background to show still in / in another cell – black screen zoomed in
  • Non diegetic music acts as a bridge
  • Fade to fun park – L/S man walking
  • Camera vertical track / pan
  • Interesting that van not in middle of shot – very deliberately does not reach middle of camera – trying to go under the radar?
  • Remain extreme L/S
  • Cut to bank logo – c/up, centered – establishing this as a focal point
  • Cut to L/S low angle – car still side of screen - drives to us into M/S - as passing, cut into car interior
  • Cut to M/S – bank logo
  • M/S detail – owl
  • c/up – owl
  • c/up – wolf
  • Cut to back of car, driving – probably heading to bank
  • Cut to c/up bank logo
  • Cut to p.o.v. of road from car
  • Cut to c/up montage of bank features
  • Cut to mid shot car – drives into camera
  • l/s car – centered
  • L/S car left – man walks from front seat to passenger side
  • m/s man getting into car, camera, pans up to bridge
  • cut to low angle est. shot on bridge, looking up – (visual bridge?)
  • c/up on front of car
  • l/shot of bank
  • c/up faces on bank
  • c/up 2 sides – side/front of bank
  • Low angle L/S – flag on bank
  • L/S buildings – man in white suit
  • Mid shot man – plays with focus of man then on car as drives to camera
  • L/S man and car
  • C/up owl statue to m/s bull statue
  • Several L/S’s car driving at diff angles
  • C/ups inside car
  • c/u on side of car – “Perfectly Planned Painting – We Never Leave Until the Job is Done” – precursor for the storyline?
  • L/S of street
  • Car driving M/S, panning
  • L/S following car to parking
  • Bank interior

  • Music throughout is non diegetic and Indian – although it seems that the scene is set in America
  • Many cuts in just 5mins of footage
  • What we are meant to look at not always in centre
  • Cuts are very much meant to be noticed.

Written by T. Sturrock.