Look Me In The Eye & Tell Me...
June 29, 2007 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend movies which implements camera work which focuses on and then expands / zooms-in on a person's iris?

I'm working on designing a website for a friend, who mentioned that she would be interested in some kind of graphic / flash animation that takes an iris from a small graphic and expands or zooms in to fill a larger area of the screen, "like in old movies". Neither of us could think of an example of a movie which employed this particular idea, however, and I'm having difficulty picturing it in my mind. I'm hoping that if I can see it in a few different films, I may get some good ideas about how I want it to look translated into a web-based graphic if some kind.

Super-bonus if you can pinpoint (or estimate) the time in the movie where this occurs.
posted by DecemberRaine to Media & Arts (19 answers total)
It's been a while since I've watched it, but I'm fairly certain this effect is used a few times in Requiem for a Dream

Can't think of anything else off the top of my head, but you might want to check out other drug-related movies. I think the closeup/zoom-in on a dilating pupil has been used as a visual shorthand in several of them.
posted by jammer at 11:55 AM on June 29, 2007

Requiem for a Dream comes to mind. You're on your own for the timecode. ;)
posted by shino-boy at 11:55 AM on June 29, 2007


At the exact same time, even.
posted by shino-boy at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2007

The first one that came to my mind is the shower scene from "Psycho", after Janet Leigh is killed and she's laying in the bathtub, the shot goes to a close-up of her eye.
posted by wafaa at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2007

If memory serves me correctly, there's a close-up of Bowman's eye towards the end of 2001, when he transitions from the EVA pod to the hotel room.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:04 PM on June 29, 2007

The very beginning of Star Trek: First Contact.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:11 PM on June 29, 2007

I'm going from memory here, but:
  • At the beginning of Star Trek: First Contact where Picard is having a Locutus flashback.
  • Once or twice during The Ring, specifically when a character views the videotape for the first time. The camera cuts to his/her eye briefly, and the pupil dilates rapidly.

posted by Shecky at 12:13 PM on June 29, 2007

Blade Runner, Star Trek II, and The Sixth Day (among many others, no doubt) all involve onscreen gadgets focusing on a character's eye, with the image of the eye also appearing in frame.
posted by adamrice at 12:16 PM on June 29, 2007

Jinx, you owe me a dime, shino-boy. :)
posted by jammer at 12:18 PM on June 29, 2007

i think a zoom into (or out of) jack's iris occurs in the pilot episode of LOST.
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2007

You say "eye" and all I can think of is Un Chien Andalou, or possibly A Clockwork Orange, although I'm not sure either of those exactly fit the bill of what you're looking for.
posted by tugena13 at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2007

I'm not exactly sure of what you're looking for but here is the intro to Contact (yt). Minority Report had some eyeball shots in it too.
posted by simbiotic at 1:36 PM on June 29, 2007

Possibly Pi, during the "migraine" scenes, although I'm not sure if the eye ever totally fills the frame. worth watching anyway though.
posted by The Deej at 1:53 PM on June 29, 2007

I'll go a different way with my answer. In very early movies, there was the concept of the film camera's iris that would expand and contract. It seems to me that it was used as a visual transition between scenes.

I remember seeing it in "Shadow of the Vampire" where John Malkovich is the movie director who gives direction to the camera man like, "Iris in" and you see the effect on the film.

I can't remember exactly where this appears in the movie, but watch the whole thing anyway. It's a very fun movie.
posted by tdogboy at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2007

The opening to Chicago, with Rene Zellwegger's eye.
posted by happyturtle at 4:32 PM on June 29, 2007

Jurassic Park has a great scene of the T-Rex's iris. The camera zooms in for a tight shot of the iris, the iris changes dramatically, then wide shot of him chasing people.

My favorite scene in Jurassic Park is the tight shot of the water glass. A series of ripples start forming in the liquid, a deep bass sound is is the background....
posted by JujuB at 4:38 PM on June 29, 2007

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in or just before the poker scene.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:43 AM on June 30, 2007

Probably not what you are looking for, but the infamous scene in 'Fire in the Sky' comes to mind.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:49 AM on June 30, 2007

I read this question a couple of days ago, and I knew I had seen this trick before, I just couldn't think of a single example.

Until now. Equilibrium at 41:10.

Not exactly an old movie, but one that otherwise meets your criteria.
posted by quin at 9:42 PM on July 1, 2007

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