Tip 3 – Every shooting Day, Prepare a Shot List

It amazes me if a Film Director chooses to wing it on Shooting Day. That means do minimal preparation and turn up on Shooting day with no shot list.12747868_10208310152209130_7276638341045919815_o

A Feature Film in Australia takes on average 6 – 8 Weeks to shoot or 30 – 40 Shooting Days. Currently our film, Tabernacle 101 will take 33 Shooting Days total.

One of the most important preparations for a Film Director is to  Prepare a Shot List.  There are two ways to do this.

  • On Location on the actual set, with the script
  • From the Script and see photos of the actual set and prepare your shot coverage.

We make sure that people learn how to do this properly on the 3 Month Film Course.

A Shot List is a list of shots that cover a scene. A Director shoots the maximum coverage with the maximum amount of angles to give the editor the maximum amount of choice in the edit room.

Never edit in camera, always leave the edit to the editing room and cover your scene in its entirety with ever single shot. Some scenes are very complex and may require a storyboard. A Storyboard is a series of drawings of each shot in the shot list.

For most indie Films and most short films, a shot list is all that is required. Most shot lists can easily be written down and described by the director on the day.

It is a good idea to include an experienced DOP (cinematographer) in the shot listing 12711246_10208310150089077_3964111110367352729_ocreation process. Two minds collaborating will create a wonderful visual style.  The DOP can have great ideas and shots to suggest. As always, you only take the ideas that make sense to you or feel right for you.

When creating a shot list, start with the wide shots first. The Wide Shots are often called the Master Shot. When you start you may work with static shots as in TV.Once you get experience you can design wide movement shots that look more filmic and movie like.

Cover mid Shots next and  then come to your  Close ups of your actors, completing with any cutaways ( close ups of objets or body parts)

Many scenes require a dozen shots but some scenes may be very simple and only require 4 shots. There are no rules except get as many shots as you can to give the editor a choice in the editing room. Always leave full reverses till later as this will require a reset of lighting and video village.

Depending on your budget, you may use one single camera and shoot all of your shots at separate times. This is called single camera shoots.  If you have a substantial budget you may have two camera crews with two cameras and shoot two shots simultaneously.

What ever your budget you will still have to get multiple shots of the whole scene from12768126_10208310150929098_8871665908478073659_o different angles.  Shot listing is a skill that can be taught. It is very important to learn properly on a film course such as the 3 month Film Course from experienced people. 

As we actually have a real film shoot that you crew on over 3 full days , you learn how to prepare a shot list by actually doing the process.

You learn to actually block actors. That means choreograph the movement of the actors on set. Learning off experienced people is the best way to move your film making career ahead.

All our film coursesare starting very soon, this is the solution to learning off experienced people.

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