No nose room

No nose room is a great way to make your characters seem trapped and without options. When you’re framing up a shot of characters, it’s conventional to give your actors a little nose room. If you’re tracking a subject, it implies that they’ve got somewhere to move to. If you’re shooting dialogue, it gives the shot a sense of space and room to breathe. Taking the nose room out of your shot and sandwiching your character against the edge of the frame visually puts your character in a corner, making them appear trapped.

Examples of no nose room

This style of shot composition is highly unconventional. Audiences are used to characters having nose room. This a compositional technique that is highly stylised and should only be used sparingly. The television series Mr Robot makes terrific use of this framing technique. In Episode 2, the absence of nose room helps to convey that Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) doesn’t have a choice but to help his neighbour and friend when he realises she’s in an abusive relationship.

You’ll also notice this technique at work in Argowhen director Ben Affleck cuts to a tight close up of Tony Mendez as he debates whether he’ll go through with the planned extraction of US diplomats from Tehran during a hostage crisis.

Out of options? Facing a difficult decision? Why not take away your character’s nose room to convey this to the audience?