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  • Writer's pictureTIS Team Member

The Importance of a Shot List

The most meticulous and time-consuming part of all of production is pre-production. Can you believe that? A large amount of your dedication to a project will be set way before you even begin filming. But it is crucial that you spend a lot of time working out every little detail in pre-production. This way you can save time, energy, and money during production and post-production. Basically, pre-production paves the way for the entirety of your #videoproduction project. One important part of pre-production, that every production should have, but sadly not every production does, is a #shotlist.

A well thought out shot list will be what makes your production. Simply put, the shot list is the blueprint of what you’re filming. It is a document that serves as the Cinematographer’s script. The shot list is composed of every single shot in a scene with minute details to make principal photography go by seamlessly. It is organized by set up and location, which will prove to be more efficient than going by the order of the story. This allows for organization to bring the story to life.

The shot list is drafted by the production manager or even sometimes the director. Then the DP and the director meet to go over it and hash out the director’s vision for the video production (or film). They work hand in hand, giving their input to create a list of every shot that is necessary to tell the entire story in a way that will draw out the desired emotions from the viewer. The shot list identifies the location, actors, camera, shot type, angle, movement, equipment, lens and a description of what is happening. It is organized by grouping together scenes that are alike. For instance, if they are filming a concert scene, they will film all scenes of the people on stage before getting the reverse of the reactions of the crowd.

The shot list could be created once the script is numbered by each scene. Once it is numbered, the scene numbers will reference each shot. The shot list relays into every department in the filmmaking process. This allows everyone to be aware of what scene is being filmed and what/who is needed for each scene.

Last, a shot list should be simple to read, so that anyone can follow it. It is important that it is well thought out with every detail included so that you can trust that if you follow what is on the shot list, the whole film will be captured. Every necessary little insert, big move, or reaction shot is accounted for. This is will speed of production time, ultimately providing a ripple effect that will give you more and save you a lot in the long run.

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