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Shoots can be expensive but more importantly highly pressured. You have a set amount of time to get all the footage that you might possibly need in the edit. How can you make sure you have everything? A shot list.

The shot list

A shot list is actually a very simple document that lists out all of the shots that you want to film during a day a of production.

It will usually have the following features:

  • Each shot will be given a number
  • Each shot will be described (close-up, wide shot, mid-shot, panning shot from x to y, focus pull etc.)
  • The talent needed for each shot will be clearly stated
  • The scene from the script will be identified
  • What filming location / set-up will need to be included 
  • Sometimes any key relevant lines might be included
  • Occasionally a schedule for when shots will be filmed will built in to the shot list turning into a timetable (of sorts).

Writing a shot list

Writing a shot list takes a little practice. You need to go through the script and/or storyboard and list out all of the shots that would be needed to tell that story.

I always recommend adding in some extras to make sure that you don’t regret not shooting anything. It is better to have too much footage than too little. Of course mark the shots that are actually in the script so that, if you are running behind schedule you can focus on the necessary footage over the bonus extras.

The tricky part is to select the order for shoot. Sometimes it makes sense to film everything chronologically but often it is better to group shots together that take place in the same location and require the same set-up.

This way you don’t have to keep moving the camera, re-lighting a scene or waste any time.

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