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What a Shot List should look like according to Black and Blue
7 replies to this topic
Posted 15 June 2013 - 02:16 PM
Director's show up with these things on set and end up tossing it out after the first 30 mins as the day goes to pot
Posted 15 June 2013 - 02:18 PM
Though honestly, I do enjoy having them so we can reference as things go awry. And you often get much more interesting solutions. Also I mut prefer them, generally, to story-boards which always feel much less malleable.
Posted 15 June 2013 - 04:16 PM
I like shot lists, whether or not you follow them completely... they are useful mainly for two reasons: (1) as a way of remembering ideas you had for certain camera moves, etc. and (2) as a quick overview of the amount of work planned for the day.
If you do the list in advance, you have time to make changes and arrange things. You can see that the list is too long, for example, and either cut it down or re-arrange / re-balance the schedule if possible on the long shot that there is a light day where some work can be moved to. You can order special equipment in advance, like extra track for a 100' long tracking shot or a 360 degree dolly move, or a dutch head, or a remote head for a jib, whatever you aren't carrying daily on the package. You can tell the keys to get ready for some special set-up that may need pre-rigging or an extra crew member to pull off.
It's basically a director's homework. Now there's no rule saying that he has to follow his shot list or that he can't change his mind, and as a director gets more experienced, the need for these sorts of things can start to decline, but I think they are a valuable tool, especially if the director and DP work out the shot list together, because then the DP had some hand in the design of the sequence in advance.
On the other hand, I do prefer to keep the list a bit loose and vague when you are talking about covering a dramatic dialogue scene since you haven't worked out the blocking yet with the actors. The list (or storyboards) are more valuable for remembering select set-ups like a transition shot in or out of the scene, or some "trick" shot for a certain beat in the scene (like a split-diopter shot, for example.)
Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:24 PM
Regardless of whether or not a shot list is followed, it's always better to work from something rather than nothing. I've found that a lot of times the first thing that comes to mind with various shots aren't usually the best, but the basic idea propells you to better ideas. It also gives a common ground/language to talk about things with the director so everyone is on the same page. All of this is to say that a shotlist is useful for far more than simply laying out the precise shots of the day. It's a kind of guide, or "key" to the day.
Posted 22 June 2013 - 12:05 PM
Most of the work I've done has been on industrials and commercials, and there shot lists are followed religiously. Part of it may be that up here in the Bay Area where a lot of work is from computer firms, that there's a "follow the flow chart" kind of mentality that I've never seen on a feature.
The few features I have worked on seemed a bit more freebooting, although there was usually an assistant to the director with a clipboard showing what needed to be done that day. That was usually a shot list.
Me, personally, I can't see how anyone can really operate without one.
Posted 22 June 2013 - 10:38 PM
I storyboard and make shot lists but will drop the plan like a freshly microwaved potato during a New York second if a better idea comes along with the caveat that I ALWAYS make sure the new plan will cut together and cut together with the already shot footage. I don't like to have to patch scenes with a cutaway. It annoys me. Fortunately, I've only ever had to use them while cutting together other people's work.
Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:18 PM
On, Against The Wild, I didn't have a shot list. And I only boarded the action scenes. This was useful so that my 1st AD could look at the boards and inform me that there were too many setups in the time allotted. Ooooops.
Other than that, as writer, producer, director, and editor, I felt I had the clearest vision in my mind of what I needed. And I simply didn't have time to prepare shot lists to hand out to other dept heads.
There wasn't going to be a situation were the editor was cursing on the phone to the producer at 3am because he couldn't edit out of a jam due to lack of coverage. There were however many instances were I was cursing to myself at 3am because I couldn't edit out of a jam.