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Shot List

Where the actors have their scripts, the director and camera operators have their shot list, which is their best friend during taping and editing.

A shot list breaks the script into short segments of dialogue or action and adds meta-information about each shot.

Your shot list is a crucial, required document. I will not pass you through the first gateway without it. To produce it, you will have to visualize your video down to the most detailed level that you can imagine.

Break your script into scenes, the scenes into sequences, and the sequences into shots. For example, let’s say that the second scene from So You Think You Can Dance is the judge’s table right after a dancer has finished his routine. The third sequence is where Judge 1 disagrees with Judge 2 and jumps up from his chair. The first shot of that sequence is the two of them together from the front while Judge 2 talks. The second shot is a close-up of Judge 1 reacting to something Judge 1 said. The third shot is Judge 1 jumping out of his chair. The fourth shot is the reaction of Judge 2.

The format:

Shot number Scene 2 Sequence 3 Shot 1
Action Judge 2 talking, Judge 1 turned toward Judge 1, listening
Camera instructions MCU of Judge 2 with Judge 1 on right. No pan.
Dialogue JUDGE 2: That was the most terrific dance I’ve seen in years!
Other audio Contestant gasps, audience shrieks
Visual effects none

The final two will be more useful during editing than during taping.

Depending on your situation, it may make sense to arrange your shot list in the order in which the shots will be taped, not the order in which they will appear in the final video. The numbering may still be in the order in which the shots will appear in the final video.

Either way, you have a list to follow when you get all the actors and crew ready at the location. What do you do next? Follow your shot list.

Types of shots

Don’t forget to shoot “noddies” (from the verb “to nod”), which are medium close-up shots of all the actors listening and non-verbally expressing a variety of emotions. During editing, you will cut to those reaction clips to cover jump cuts.

shot list for the first scene of the Odd Couple

Shot List with storyboards

This example from AdShack is organized by location. Steelcase/NEOCON Promo Video SHOT LIST AND SHOOTING SCHEDULE

Media College

Media College’s Abbreviations for and examples of camera shots

Media College’s Terms for camera moves

Email these lists to me by October 8. If I approve it, you will be finished with the pre-production process and ready to begin the production process. You will be in excellent shape to make good use of everyone’s time during production, when on stage, studio, or location.