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    Shotlist Creation Process?

    I think a huge process in filmmaking is the creation of your shotlist. I'm really interested in sharpening these skills before my next shoot.

    Lets say you have your crew ready and you have a great script. What are the steps that you take to create a shotlist and the blocking for the scenes before you go into production and what do those final shotlists look like?

    I used Excel on my last filmshoot to create this shotlist.

    SHOTLIST PDF
    Garnet Campbell - RedAnt Film Development
    Filmmaker

    Website
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    #2
    I print the script half-size to paper rotated to landscape. Left side is for actor notes and motivations, right side is for directing and camera.

    Vertical lines of different colours show what needs to be covered. At the same time I'm looking at photos of the location, and drawing an overhead plan of the blocking. Finally I write out (or type-up) the shot-list.

    The nice part about drawing the vertical lines right on the script is that you can immediately see what's not being covered, or what's redundant.

    Usually this has to be done a couple times, because the first time you're just thinking and trying things out and it ends up looking like a big mess. The second version (seen below) is what I've decided upon, and I refer to it while shooting. I always end up changing my mind about something anyway, and having this means I don't have to rethink what I've already thought-out -- and more importantly don't forget to get a shot.

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      #3
      Forgot to mention -- At the side I write the initials of who (or what) the subject should be. For example during a line of dialogue you want to make sure you get a reaction from the person listening. These are the MUST HAVE shots and having them clearly labelled makes it much easier and faster to block.

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        #4
        Well, all my films have been independent in nature so my shot lists aren't the most professional.

        My process is as follows. I read the scene a few times over and over and then I close my eyes and picture the whole thing unfolding visually. I then right down what I see when my eyes are closed. I then read back what I've written and start thinking what works and what doesn't. I ask myself, "if this shot doesn't work, how can I cover myself?" and think of alternate angles that may save my butt if my instincts are wrong.

        Once I've got all this, I put together a list (usually in excel or just a table in MS Word) which is as descriptive as possible. Beyond the simple "wideshot" stuff, I try to include as many details as possible and what the shot is supposed to convey.

        The ironic thing is that, on my current shoot, even though I'd bring a shot list in every morning for my crew, I'd immediately ditch it as soon as we started shooting. I'd have to adapt to things like the location, outside forces, and a ton of other stuff. Very often, something I'd envisioned wouldnt' be practical once I told my DP to try it. Despite throwing out my shot list EVERY morning, I found that, at the end of the day, the shots I got were almost identical to those in the shot list. I just had it all in my head and had to adapt them slightly but it was still the same basic thing I'd always envisioned.

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          #5
          Scrape up all the money you can and go and buy the hollywood camerawork dvds. If you're having any trouble deciding how to shoot something, per holmes will set you straight. He'll also show you how to make your camera movement motivated and not just be there to raise your production value.

          Best money I could have ever spent, and I'm sure many will agree with me.

          The thing I've really learned is that storyboards just make things difficult. Overhead diagrams of your shooting is the best way to go.
          IATSE Local 728
          http://www.ryanthomasfilm.com
          IMDB

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            #6
            You have to give detailed attention to each shot. You have to figure out how many shots you need and what you want in each shot. Do you want tension, laughter, action? What emotion or function does each shot provide to the film? The key is that you have to find the right style of shooting for each scene. You would shoot comedy scenes differently than dramatic scenes and visa versa. Film the person, place, thing, etc., which is most important for that shot at that moment in the script. Write down each shot on a list. There will be disagreements on how best to shoot your shots so be flexible when new ideas arise, which they will as you work through your shots. Everyone has their own opinion. Be flexible. Find ways to use shots to reveal/relate info rather than spelling it out in obvious ways. If you shoot a shot one way then how do you need to shoot the rest of the shots so they fit (edit) together? Think about your film as a whole and then break it down into shots. Shoot every shot with a plan in mind for the finished product. You canít shoot separate shots and hope they all fit together. Just as each scene has to count, so does each shot, otherwise there is no reason to shoot it. It must add something otherwise you have to eliminate it. How do you determine the number of shots? Each scene in your script needs to be analyzed and broken down into its elements, which are the key aspects of the scene such as subjects, setting, info, action, dialogue, etc. Each shot focuses on a certain element of the scene. The number of shots required equals the elements plus coverage. Coverage means shooting extra shots such as reaction shots of characters or other subjects pertaining to the scene, i.e. a gun, ticking clock, storm clouds brewing outside, etc. This coverage allows you more choices during your edit. Coverage allows you to change the pacing of your film by cutting (shorten) or expanding (lengthen) scenes. Coverage can help solve some editing problems. Donít be afraid to try different shots, but be selective. You cannot shoot every scene from every angle imaginable. Youíll never finish shooting. Then from your shot list you have your shooting schedule which is your list in order that you plan on shooting each day since you rarely shoot in order.

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              #7
              Also second Hollywood Camerawork. I diagram using their method -- very quick simple, and easy for others to read once you explain it to them. You can also quickly scribble a few different variations and see what works best.

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                #8
                The standardized format makes it easy to tell its male actors, (as female use two lines), the direction they face, which cameras positions are connected by dolly, locked down for a reverse, etc.

                If everyone used HCW the world would just be a better place.

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                  #9
                  Also, if you measure the room you can figure out what lens you need, and can even figure out how much light you need to get proper exposure with the right DOF. Pretty cool from a simple over-head diagram.

                  On my one-of-these-days list is a plugin for SketchUp to do these diagrams including automatic lighting and DOF calculations. Hopefully someone will beat me to it.

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                    #10
                    On Ryant's suggestion I've ordered the dvds. I'm pretty excited based on the demos on their website.

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                      #11
                      I've evolved my own process numerous times. One thing I do is have a couple movies I watch just to re-energize my ideas about the possibilities of the camera and all the different styles there are to shoot.

                      At the moment they are...
                      Goodfellas (I love everything about this movie)
                      Requiem for a Dream (editing and shot flow working together)
                      Match Point (long takes that are as close to perfect as I've ever seen)
                      Catch Me If You Can (romanticized)
                      Godfather (framing and lighting working together)
                      Amelie (style over substance)

                      And I usually come up with shots throughout the pre-production process and only really lock down the shots the night before shooting (granted stuff on set always opens up inspiration, or forces it when a location wasn't as "locked" as it seemed). Usually in the end it's a combination of a lot of ideas over time, and breaking down the character motivations in each scene is essential before locking shots down.
                      I invented the "remove echo" audio filter. And only people that boom their actors closely get to use it.

                      Alex Donkle - Sound Designer -

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                        #12
                        I'm definitely going to get a hold of those camerawork DVD's. I had done overhead sketches of camera placement but never learned the proper symbols. If your working with a team its nice to have a standardizes system so everyone is on the same page, and I like the idea of checking other movies for camera movement ideas.
                        I loaded THE MATRIX into final cut the other day and started to cut apart all the scenes and its quite amazing when you start to see the rhythm of the edits and looking at the shots individually.
                        Garnet Campbell - RedAnt Film Development
                        Filmmaker

                        Website
                        |Facebook|IMDB Link


                        Communicate::Community

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Imaginate View Post
                          I think a huge process in filmmaking is the creation of your shotlist. I'm really interested in sharpening these skills before my next shoot.

                          Lets say you have your crew ready and you have a great script. What are the steps that you take to create a shotlist and the blocking for the scenes before you go into production and what do those final shotlists look like?

                          I used Excel on my last filmshoot to create this shotlist.

                          SHOTLIST PDF
                          Look at this example of shotlist. It is a usual cinema directors script form in some Europian countries. Also it is "A/V Script" in USA, mainly used for television shows and MOSTLY on advertisement/commercial shoots.
                          http://www.cinematography.com/forum2...dpost&p=186078

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