Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Tomorrow I'm going downtown to shoot scenes with my amazing volunteer actress, Anna Ross. While a lot of the footage I've already done have been half planned, half on-the-fly inspiration, this shoot is a bit of a different beast

We have a limited window of time in which to get the shoot done so this is very much like an actual TV/movie/commercial shoot. My intent is match shots with Anna to some of the B roll I've already shot, so we need to hit not only certain locations, but specific areas within those locations; for example, I have a long shot shooting down into the Eaton Centre from one of the interior bridges. What I want now is a shot from below, shooting up at Anna on that very same bridge

In order to accomplish this, in a limited time window, the best tool to use is a Shot List. Now, there are other alternatives of course. Storyboarding is very popular but probably a bit of overkill for my needs here.

I'm organizing the list by location. This is how the big boys do it. In a movie, you could have a scene at the beginning where the actor arrives at Union Station, halfway thru, he picks up his snuggly bear love interest at Union Station and the last shot of him is standing at Union Station looking confused as snuggly bear leaves on a train with his sister ...

You don't go to the train station three separate times. You go once, with all the actors, wardrobe changes etc and shoot all three scenes back to back. That's an efficient way of using your time and for movies it may save them money in fees to use a location.

For me, it's strictly a time issue. I know I want Anna in at least three shots in the Eaton Centre so I will take all three shots while we're there although the scenes will be split up in the movie. So for my Shot List will be organized by location; Eaton Centre, the subway, Dundas Square, Yonge & Bloor etc, again matching shots I've already taken

I want to be fairly specific with the shots too, like putting Anna on the bridge, noting which way I want her to cross a street to match those shots. I always will be specific about "original" shots, such as I want her riding the subway reading a book or listening to music, this is essential to my theme. I will write all this down because I know in the moment of taking these shots, I may forget details. And for this project, this is the only chance I'm getting.

Shot Lists or Stoyrboards are also handy during pre-production to help build your story. Sometimes by visualizing a shot, be it with pictures or photo's or descriptions, it will help you decide if the shot is going to work, if it needs to be altered or thrown out all together.

The other paperwork I need for tomorrow is a props list; pretty short for this endeavour but I want to bring a book, an iPod etc. And although I'll have only one day to shoot with Anna I will bring my digital cam and take pics of her, concentrating on her wardrobe, hair style, make up .. this is just a habit I have for continuity. If I did need to do more shots, all that stuff will have to match if I want the story to appear to be happening during a single day

Whether you are making a video for profit or because you are an Idiot with a Camera, time is always your enemy and anything that makes you more efficient is your buddy

No comments:

Post a Comment