How to Make a Shot List in 2019: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a Shot List in 2019: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hey and welcome back to
our pre-production series. This is the second part of
our shot listing episode. Today, we’re going to
take an existing script, turn it into a shot list and then go on set to
actually shoot the scene. So, let’s dive in. [Music] In this video, we are going to
walk you through the process of creating a shot
list from scratch. As reference, we’re going to shot
list a short scene called “The Pen.” If you haven’t seen it,
click here to check it out. All right, so let’s break down
what happens in the story. In this scene,
we start with a character named Jamie who is sitting in
the conference room. Then his coworker Pat
walks in and sits down. They both reach out for
the pen at the same time, but there is only one. They get in a tussle and
then an all-out brawl. It escalates pretty fast
and Jamie breaks Pat`s neck. Yeah. So Jamie puts the
pen in his pocket, but as he does an
intern walks in. Captures Jamie red-handed,
a lock eyes and a final shot on the pen, and roll credits. You using StudioBinder to create
the shot list and storyboard. It’s free to get started and we
will make your life much easier. Check it out. So you looking at my shot
list for the project. To give us a visual reference, I asked someone to stand
in for all three characters and snapped these photos. In act 1,
we see our first character Jamie sitting in a conference
room by himself. He’s joined by Pat and there’s
an awkward conversation. I was thinking about covering
this part in four shots. First, we will start with a wide shot
to establish the conference room. You generally want to establish
geography at the start of the scene. This is referred to
your master shot. We will keep it on eye-level. Like,
most of the shots actually, since this gives us
the most natural feel. If I selected a
low-angle or high-angle, it will be making a
statement about Jamie, but I don’t really want to
build any assumption just yet. Static shots on sticks will be my main
choice for almost the entire film. So once I do switch it up, the change will be noticeable and
draw more attention to the shot. Now, I want to cover Pat`s
entrance in the medium shot, so we see enough of him. But this time I want to establish
some authority or danger, so we’re going to shoot
it from a low-angle. A classic power shot. The shot will tilt down with Pat as he sits until the
camera becomes eye level which means Pat and Jamie are now
in opposition and equally matched. The next two shots are
basic coverage as we say, which means we will cover the
scene in different angles, but we don’t need to change shots
throughout this part of the scene, as the actors are stationary
versus moving through the space which would require
changes in setups. All right,
so one medium shot on Pat and one on Jamie. Same settings, but what’s important to me
here is that the characters are staying centered with the
eye line slightly off-camera. You may be familiar with highly
stylized straight on symmetrical shots, if you seen Wes Anderson
movies, for example. To me, it gives the
scene an awkward feeling which I’m trying to achieve here as
the situation our characters are, it simply calls for it. “- It`s between you and me. – Yeah, I heard that
they were downsizing.” Let’s move on to act 2. Both characters noticed
the pen on the table. This leads to the
fight under the table where Pat eventually dies. Here, we will need
a bit more coverage. Let’s start with a close-up
on eye-level on the pan, as it’s a story relevant detail. To cover the wrestling
action above the table, we will use a medium-long shot. That way we can follow
the action clearly when both characters reach out
for the pan at the same time. To be clear in my shot list, I’m going to specify
this as a two-shot which means two subjects
will be in the same frame. Once the pen flicks
out of Pat’s hand, it will first hit the
table and then the floor. Here,
I will grab two close up shots. One when the pen hits the
table on eye-level, static. And then the other one on
the ground in a high-angle to sort of match the
actor’s eye line. Next is our wide shot, as the characters
move under the table. It’s the same as the
opening shot of the film, but I want to shoot it on a jib
arm to move the camera vertically. This is called a pedestal shot, and the camera will
be moving down. Now to our fight scene. I will grab a shot of Jamie
and another one of Pat both medium close-ups. And I will shoot
low-angle and high-angles and vary between
them in the edit whenever I want to add
a power shift later. I will use some tilts
for those two shots and let’s make a change
in equipment here. This time, I’m going
handheld to build the energy and visually communicate chaos as things are getting
out of control. Oh, by the way, if you want to dive deeper
into various kinds of camera movements and their effects
on storytelling, check out our filmmaking
techniques series right here. All right moving on. Now, poor Pat is dead. Jamie has the pen and
gets back to his seat. I want to get the same
pedestal shot here as before. The only difference here is the
camera moves up, instead of down. Finally, the last act. Act 3. Jamie goes to write but
finds out the pen has no ink, and then the intern walks in. So let’s grab an insert of the
pen to clearly show the viewer the pen was not
worth the effort. Remember, I want to keep things
centered and symmetrical. So I’m thinking about a
close-up, overhead shot here. I may not be able to
shoot this on sticks since the tripod
will get in the way, but I can think of alternatives, like going handheld and
stabilizing it in post. I might need to make some
adjustments here on set, so I will leave it for now. Well, the intern I will
re-use the same medium shot as when Pat walked in. So this way we can just shoot both
medium shots back to back on set. “Does anyone want
something to drink?” Next, we’re going to grab the
entrance POV and a medium shot when he notices the corpse. This will be a tilt
as he looks down and I will stick with handheld to
give it a jittery, nervous feeling. Jamie’s reaction shot will be
the same as the medium close-up in the beginning of act 1. It’s kind of a
callback and implies, “Here we go again.” And here’s our final
shot of the film. A close-up on the entrance
phase moving down, to reveal the pen
in his chest pocket. Since I want to freeze-frame on
the pen full of the credit roll, I will use a pedestal
shot down with the gyp, so we can get on eye
level with a pen. So now we basically turned
our script into a shot list. And before we go on set
and actually shoot it, we need to do one last step which is grouping our
shots into setups. So number one,
we have our master wide. And we also going to
pick this up later for our pedestal
shot on the jib arm. So what I’m going to do is, I’m going to shoot the
pedestal shot first on the jib. And I’m going to use the
same shot as the static shot for our master wide. And from there, we just move our
way closer to our medium shot when they grab the pen and then later the close-up shot
of the one pen in the cup holder. So now we get everything
from the same axis, we don’t need to change
lighting or anything else. From there,
I want to cover Jamie’s coverage but not only his but also
the intern`s coverage because we’re on the same angle and we basically use,
like the same shot size as well. So we’re going to group
those together here. And then we’re going to
flip the entire world around and shoot Jamie’s coverage. And now when we’re
done with this, we want to move everything
under the table, which means a lot
of lighting changes. So from there, I’m going to have
these two shots on Jamie and Pat. We’re going to grab those
and bundle them together. And then from there we basically
only have four shots left, which is the intern`s
POV shot of Pat`s feet. And then we just have our
three close-up shots of the pen when the pen hits the table when it hits the ground, and when Jamie’s trying
to write with it. For this, you basically
don’t even need your actors since it’s just a
close-up of the pen so you can send them
home, get your last shots and you’re done. So now we basically
have everything we need. We have a full
populated shot list and we grouped
everything into set ups, so we will be really
efficient during the shoot. So now let’s begin the fun part. [Music] Alright guys, so I got our
shot list all printed out here. This is our set –
our conference room. We have our actors Cyrus
and Mike over here. We’re going to go through the
shot list and see what we get. We got our master
wide shot here. Since we shot in 4k and we’re
going to go out in 1080P, we can just punch in and
get the same shot here. We do a quick little change
here in the shot list. We don’t want to change
the setup right now because it requires more like
moving lights and actors, so we’re going to do the last shot
of the pen which is a close-up. Cut, got it. We got our close-up shot. So we’re going to do
our pedestal shot, but instead of using the jib arm because we don’t have space
enough here to use it, we actually going
to go and use Ronin which is a gimbal. Cut it. Thank you so much,
that’s the pen. We can cross those shots out. So in our shot list, we have Pat`s coverage first and then we’re going to
go to Jamie’s coverage. The thing though is our actor who plays the intern
is not here yet, so we can go ahead and shoot
Jamie’s coverage first. “But I have kids.” Action. Cut. Great, love it. So now let’s do a
quick breakdown here. We got Cyrus
coverage right here, so we cross those out. For now, I’m going to flip the
world over to Pat`s coverage. And cameras rolling. “I have kid. I just bought new car” Cut. We got the medium
close-up of Pat. All we need now is actually Pat walking in
and dealing with the chairs, which is a medium
shot right here. Right after that,
we going to fly out Pat, and fly in the intern, and get the very same shot size, so we don’t need
to change anything, we just need to
change the actor. We really just need the POV. After a POV shot, we’re going to
move the world under the table, grab two shots and we
wrap out the actors. Grab our inserts
after, we are all done. So this is officially direct. We got around 20 shots
in three hours or so. And this shot list,
really helped me to get a clear head. Know exactly what
coverage I need and move strategically
throughout the entire shoot. So I think these guys
did an amazing job. We’re going to bring
this to the edit and let’s watch the
film right after. I hope you guys enjoyed this
episode on shot listing. I use StudioBinder`s
shot listing feature to streamline your
entire pre-production. So now I’m curious how you would
have shot the scene of the pen? So if you click on the
link in the description, you can use do to
StudioBinder for free and create your own shot list. Send us the link
in the comments, and we will give you a shout
out in all social media. And don’t forget to subscribe
and click the bell icon to learn more about
pre-production. Thank you so much for watching
and I’ll see you next time.

21 thoughts on “How to Make a Shot List in 2019: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Aw you guise, thanks for putting this up. I think premiering isn't a bad idea, but not when it interrupts the flow of such valuable educational content. Either way, excellent content and insane how quickly you listen to your fans

  2. If you you shooting for a long film. How would you organize you takes when you transfer them to your computer. Do you name every shot during the shooting so you know which one is it easily when you start editing?

    Thank you

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