What’s a Shot List?
Number 5 on my pre-production checklist is CREATE A SHOT LIST. After the script is written, I work with the client and the DP (Director of Photography, AKA camera operator) to make a list of all of the different video clips I will need to make a great video.
Creating and using a shot list will help you schedule your day and make sure nothing gets missed. Having a video crew come back because you “missed” an important scene can be expensive.
Shot List Defined
A shot is a filmmaking term that describes a series of frames (single picture), that runs for an uninterrupted period of time; or you can think of it as the video that is captured from the time you press Record until you stop the recording. There are two common types of shots: a static shot and a follow shot. Static shots feature a subject without moving the camera. A follow shot is where the camera physically follows the subject as it moves through the scene.
A shot list is a checklist that describes each individual shot. Originally, the shot list was developed for television and cinema productions and it can be complicated and technical. For business and corporate video, we use a simplified document that contains the location, the cell number from the script, the type of shot, camera movement, and a description of the action.
Shot List Purpose
The shot list is a technical agenda for your day of shooting. Planning what you are going to capture and where you are going to capture it allows you to be efficient with your time and money. The shot list also provides a central document for the three heads of a corporate video shoot: producer, camera operator, and client. All three heads should have a copy of the shot list in hand to make sure all of the shots are captured and you stay on schedule.
Only spend time shooting scenes that fit the story you are telling in the script. Of course, it is good to have options once you get to the edit room, but too much time is often spent making lots of shots to cover a very small part of the script, where one or two great shots would be all that’s needed. By adhering to your shot list, you allow yourself time to move from one great shot to the next without being rushed or worse, panicked.
Shot List Template
During pre-production, create the shot list with your producer and camera operator. Use a shot list template to write out what you need to capture, then rearrange the list to make your recording time efficient (be mindful of anything that might need to be shot in sequence).
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