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‘The Fits’ DP Creates Intimacy with an Unusual Eyeline

The Fits tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Toni (Royalty Hightower) whose fellow dance troupe members start coming down with strange convulsions. The acclaimed indie film is cinematographer Paul Yee’s debut feature. It was filmed with non-actors and often features Toni looking almost directly into the lens.

“Our intention throughout the filming was to keep Toni’s eyeline as close to the lens as possible so that you feel a connection with her,” Yee tells Filmmaker Magazine. “I also watched TheSilence of the Lambs the night before we started shooting and I think because of that I was hyperaware of how tight your eyeline can be and still feel appropriate. So many movies are shot multi-camera nowadays that actors are performing to each other farther off camera [because the multiple cameras would be in each others’ shots]. Furthermore, when you’re shooting with a widescreen aspect ratio and you’re covering an over-the-shoulder, shot-reverse-shot dialogue scene the eyeline is typically more distant because of how far apart the characters are in the frame. But because The Fits is mostly Toni interacting with the world around her (and many of her close-ups are shot clean), we were able to keep her eyeline tight to the lens, which increases the intimacy of the performance.”

Read the full story here.