Media Production Mentoring

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The Shot List

So we've been gearing up for our big 24 hour Film Festival shoot and when looking through our shots we noticed a problem. We have alot of outside shots. This isn't a bad thing nessicarily, however, we only have 24 hours and well that only gives us aproximatetly 12 hours of day light to shoot our shots!

How do we intend on getting all the shots we need in the time we have to shoot ? The anwser lies in the shot list. The shot list is the list of shots that you intend to shoot for your movie in the order that you intend to shoot them in. Now why could you not just shoot them in the order that they go? The anwser is because it is usually not the most time efficient way to shoot it. Example : You have to shoot a scene where two people are sitting at a table discussing what they want to order at a resturaunt. The script may look something like this.

Marty and his wife sit at the table looking over the menu desiding what to order.

I don't know Sue,
Should I get the

Order what you want dear.


But you must
remember your Diet.

The waiter comes and puts glasses of water on the table.

O.k. so for this shot we know that we want a master shot that plays through the entire scene, close ups on each character, an over the shoulder, some cut aways, and maybe a shot of the waiter to make sure the whole scene is covered. We write up the shots.

Master Shot
OTS-Sue (showing Marty's reaction)
Cu-Menu (cutaway)
Mid shot-Waiter putting classes on table

Now we have to deside what order we want to shoot them in that will be easiest and most time efficient. Alot of time it is recomended that you shoot the master shot first. This is because it is generally the most time consuming to set up and after it is set, it is easier to get the following shots in the scene. So for this shot list we could start with the master. Now do we just move to Close ups? We could but, Jerry, the guy playing the waiter, only has 40 minutes that day!

Thats alright we know hes only in two of our shots. Master and his Mid shot. Looks like our Mid shot will have a differnt lighting set up. We love this shot and can't live without it so we will have to shoot it first because we don't want to light for the master, move all the lights for the midshot, and then relight for the Master. Cool, now lets hit those close ups. The close ups will have the same light set up as the master we just might have to bring them a little closer to the subjects, makes sence to shoot those next. Now the OTS? You might have to change some lighting for the OTS because you may see some light stands in the shot otherwise. Instead lets grab that cutaway first. Finally we will light for the OTS, shoot, and wrap the scene.

Our shot list looks like this.

Mid Shot-waiter
Master Shot
OTS-Sue (showing Marty's reaction)

There is no rule for what order you shoot shots in. It is simply the order that will be most time efficient to shoot. The Shot list is a great tool to help you on set and spending the time to write one up will help you greatly.


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