The Importance of the Video Shot List


Do you wonder how directors prepare for filming? One key tool often used is the video shot list, which keeps film crews on the “same page” when they hear “action." Keep reading to learn more about the video shot list approach.

What Is a Video Shot List?

Did you know that you only have about 3 to 5 seconds to impress a viewer? When planning a “film” production, a shot list organizes all aspects of the cast and crew. A shot list describes every detail for every camera shot. The director makes this list before starting production. It shows cinematographers and assistant directors what the director has in mind. Many times, movies, TV shows, or commercials aren’t shot in order. This increases the chance of continuity errors. The shot list decreases these problems. Often, scenes use different lenses. The crew can optimize their time by grouping the shots for each lens setup. A shot list communicates instructions to crew members across all departments. Thus, everything and everyone you need is ready to shoot at the same time.

How to Make a Shot List

The director begins by studying the script and making notes about their ideas. Next, they create a shot list for each scene. The following is a quick guide to follow when writing a shot list:

  •     Assign a reference number to each shot
  •     Record the scene number from the script
  •     Describe the shot (is it action, dialogue, etc.?)
  •     Describe the camera and lighting setups (what are the angles and the framing of actors?)
  •     Define the most efficient shooting order
  •     Define the shot size (is it a wide shot or a closeup?)
  •     Describe if and how the camera will move during the shot
  •     List the camera equipment needed for the shot
  •     Define the frame rate (what is the frequency you want for the frame captures?)
  •     Describe the location
  •     List the actors you need
  •     Describe how you want to capture the sound and/or dialogue

Make extra notes to help the crew understand your goals for the shot. After filming is completed, it goes through post-production editing. This knits the shots together seamlessly. The video lighting editor can make further adjustments to create the final look.

Filming Tips

For remote locations, make sure all equipment has a full battery, clean lenses, and ample memory. The last thing you want is to have equipment failure. The following tips will help capture the audience when putting videos together:

  •     Film each shot separately and avoid waving the camera around
  •     Use image stabilization and/or a tripod to keep the shot steady
  •     Shoot from different angles and positions around the subjects
  •     Carefully frame your shots and keep them simple
  •     Watch for things in the background or on the edge of shots that interfere with the scene
  •     Lock each exposure and focus manually and then adjust as needed
  •     Pay attention to the sound (use separate microphones, adjust levels, and control extra noise)

Once the shot finishes, have everyone freeze in place for a few seconds. This makes editing smoother.

Are You Looking for a Video Production Company?

This article discussed the director's technique of using a video shot list. This allows the production to be efficient, and it improves quality. If you're interested in having a video, commercial, or event filmed, Rocket House Pictures is ready to meet your needs. We produce TV commercials, television pilots, films, promos, and event videos all over Colorado. However, our office is in Denver.  Our company offers professional film experience to create an outstanding product. Contact us today to see how we can make your ideas come to life.
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