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Old December 27th, 2004, 01:21 AM   #1
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Two T's? Cowboy? what th'...

Thought I'd pass on some of the more esoteric Hollywood terminology used to describe the size of a person in a given shot. We all know closeup, medium shot and long shot, but here's a more comprehensive list of the common jargon you may or may not have heard, straight from the set. Bear in mind that not everyone uses these exactly the same way.

ECU (extreme close-up): a section of the face, such as eyes to mouth or even tighter.

CU: anywhere from just including the shoulders to just below the chin. If you have the frame cut into the subject's hair (desirable on most close-ups, by the way), it is referred to as "giving a haircut".

Two-T's: best thought of as a medium close-up, it cuts the subject at the chest. A bit salty in derivation (yup, "T" is short for the slang term for breasts!). A loose two-t's would include all of the uh, goods; a tight two-t's excludes.

A sideline anecdote...I was framing a close-up (from neck to top of head) of Kevin Pollack on a movie once, and he called to me "hey, where are you holding me, at the t*ts?". It was my first scene with him and we hadn't actually met yet, but it didn't stop me from cheekily responding "not unless your t*ts are in your throat, sir". He leaned over so that he could see my face and responded "very f***in' funny!"

Waisty: pretty obvious, cutting the subject at the waist. Also known as a medium shot.

Cowboy: cutting the subject above the knees. Presumably came from early Westerns. Has something to do with framing the long coats or the gun belt.

Head-to-toe: also known as a long shot. The whole enchilada.

The only other size I would use between a cowboy and a head-to-toe would be a just below the knees, but only in a pinch and transitionally. It's generally considered a bit awkward to cut the subject at the joints, i.e. right at the knees or ankles. Of course, these are standard framing concepts--a more edgy or experimental style would allow for "anything goes".

Many experienced actors like to ask where the frame is holding them, so that they can adjust their performances accordingly, especially if they have props that may come up into the frame. The really good ones may ask what focal length you are using and they will know instinctively where the bottom of the frame lies. However, that's almost always 35mm, so if shooting in another format I make the translation for them.

One last one that isn't all that well known but I use a lot is "Roman coins". This describes a shot of two actors talking to each other in profile. Easy enough to visualize the appropriateness of the term.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 06:53 AM   #2
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Thanks for that Charles! I've stickied the thread and added a bit
of formatting. I'd guess the movie with Kevin was 3000 miles?
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Old December 29th, 2004, 12:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for that, Rob. Yes it was. Did you use the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" feature on IMDB (aka "also worked with" search box)?
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Old December 30th, 2004, 06:23 AM   #4
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No, can't say that I have. What is that? Where can I see it?
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Old December 30th, 2004, 12:56 PM   #5
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After performing an initial search on IMDB, scroll down to the bottom where it says: "Find where (name of person searched) is credited alongside another name".
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Old December 31st, 2004, 05:35 AM   #6
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Great feature! Heh. No, I looked at the movies he'd done and I
know a lot of the movies you worked on. So when I saw he did
3000 miles (still great movie, saw it a couple of weeks ago again)
I thought: that must've been the one <g>
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