With higher-definition formats do actors with very bad vision have to remove contact lenses when their character isn't supposed to wear them, especially in close-up shots that would presumably make lenses easy to spot?

  • 3
    Can you even spot them is real-life?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:20
  • 3
    @NapoleonWilson yep. Mine are very slightly blue-tinted and, if you look closely, you can see them in person (assuming you're only a foot or so away).
    – Catija
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:25
  • 2
    I don't have any info on this but it was certainly addressed... in a roundabout way, anway, in Gattaca. I don't know if there are many films that directly address whether a character has contacts or not.
    – Catija
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:27
  • 1
    Right, in some films they are a plot point. But otherwise leaving them visible when they are not a plot point and the character does not allow for them would be like forgetting which way an actor had his hair done between scenes.
    – feetwet
    Apr 13, 2015 at 23:30
  • 3
    I think it's interesting that your first thought is "perfect" action hero over "people who lived before vision correction was even possible". ;)
    – Catija
    Apr 14, 2015 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


For medium shots and long shots, the viewer won't be able to see an actor's contact lenses. But for extreme close-ups, contact lenses could be visible on a big screen (especially IMAX!).

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However, there is no reason an actor needs to wear contacts for closeups and extreme closeups. During those shots, they can ACT as though they're seeing what they are looking at. Between scenes, if they need to read the script (or a magazine or the ingredients of something they're about to eat), they can use glasses. And when they're shooting medium and long shots, they can just put their contact lenses back in if they want to. (There is plenty of time between shots while the crew is moving the camera and adjusting the lights and whatnot.)

If the actor insists on wearing contacts in a close-up shot even though the character shouldn't be wearing them, CGI can be used to hide the contacts during editing.

  • As someone who can't make out foot-high letters at 10 feet, there are certainly reasons why an actor might feel the need to wear contacts on set... particularly so they know what they're looking at! If I'm acting (hypothetically) and can't make out the facial expressions of the person I'm acting with, that's a major issue.
    – Catija
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:58
  • Thank you. Good point. My wife can't see past her outstretched hand without glasses. But I was thinking that if an actor is looking in the general direction of the thing they're supposed to be looking at, the camera (and therefore the audience) wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Apr 14, 2015 at 19:59
  • For CU shots (and ECUs), you're probably right... they tend to be brief and done later in the series of shooting (they generally start wide and get tighter)... but for two shots and wider, if you want half-blind talent to react to things they're seeing (like the person they're acting opposite), they need to be able to see.
    – Catija
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:31
  • @Catija I completely agree. I'm going to edit my answer to include this. Apr 15, 2015 at 17:29

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