Pre-Production Shot List
Pre-production for a specific scene in your script does not just mean composing a breakdown sheet and figuring out the general way in which you want to direct it. You will also want to put together a detailed shot list so you know what bits of footage you want to get from this scene. This shot list pattern can follow the basic principles of coverage or one a little more specified to your video look, but if you do not make sure you are accurate with your shot list you will likely not get everything you want. Here are some things that you should always make sure are present in your shot list.
Shot List and Coverage
A shot list is constructed so that all intended shots are listed. This means that after the scene has been broken down, often through the breakdown sheet, the director and director of photography go through the scene to see exactly what kind of footage they want. This will often follow the standard coverage formula that will get a master shot, shots over the shoulders to the other person’s face, several medium and close up shots from different angles while still respecting the 180 degree rule, and getting inserts of quick images that will not necessarily need sound. All of these pieces need to be able to be arranged in editing so you have the right kind if images for the right moments in the scene. The shot list works as an outline and a checklist so you can go through it and make sure that you do not miss any.
The first thing you will need to always make sure you have on a shot list is a master shot. A master shot is a wide angle shot that gets the entire scene. It is against the master shot that you arrange all other shots, and it is where you fill in between the medium and close up shots.
You are also going to want to make sure that you get almost every shot type on each character so that you have the ability to choose. This means that they will all need medium and close up shots, as well as over the shoulders and two or three shots. Much of this will depend on how many people are in the scene.
All inserts should be listed on the shot list so you can get what you want. These can be as small as the movement of a person’s eyes all the way to them exiting the building. Try to get more than you would even think you would need, and then place them in order of importance on the list. That way you can go through and get the most important inserts and if there is enough time you can get some of the others.
Complete the Scene
When filming each take try to go through as much of the scene as you possibly can from each angle. This means that even if you do not want to show a person doing a certain thing from a specific angle you should get it for continuities sake. This is especially true of any type of actor movement because you are going to need to cut between shots on these movement points.
Once you are done filming for the shooting day you will want to match the shot list with the shot log, which took information down about each take. This is going to make the post-production editing process much more efficient and better matched to your original vision.