Apparent physical distance also suggests certain relationships between a person depicted in a text and the viewer.
In relation to camerawork, there are three main kinds of shot-size: long-shots, medium shots and close-ups.
In an earlier book, The Silent Language (1959), Hall had drawn attention to a marked degree of cultural variability in the formality of such modes of face-to-face interaction and to the way in which differences in cultural norms of appropriate distances could lead to misunderstandings in cross-cultural communication. His observation that Arabs stand closer together than Americans was confirmed by Michael Watson (1970), who found that amongst the groups studied, those who chose to stand closest together were Arabs, followed by Indians and Pakistanis, and then southern Europeans, whilst those who stood furthest apart were northern Europeans, followed by Asians and then Latin Americans (cited in Argyle 1988, 59).
In camerawork these 'modes of address' are reflected in shot sizes - close-ups signifying intimate or personal modes, medium shots a social mode and long shots an impersonal mode (Kress & van Leeuwen 1996, 130-35; see also Tuchman 1978, 116-20). Close-ups focus attention on a person's feelings or reactions. In interviews, the use of BCUs may emphasise the interviewee's tension and suggest lying or guilt. BCUs are rarely used for important public figures; MCUs are preferred, the camera providing a sense of distance. In western cultures the space within about 24 inches (60 cm) is generally felt to be private space, and BCUs may be felt to be invasive.
Charles Lewis reports that there has been a shift from the mids-1980s onwards in the way in which American teenagers have chosen to be portrayed in their high-school yearbooks - from a traditional full-face close-up to a three-quarter or full-body pose (cited in Barry 1997, 268).
Empirical studies have shown that tighter close-ups lead to increases in both attention and involvement (Lombard 1995; Reeves, Lombard & Melwani 1992; both cited in Messaris 1997, 29). Zooming in to a tight close-up can also enhance the perceived importance of a person on television (Donsbach, Brosius & Mettenklott 1993, cited in Messaris 1997, 29).