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Never Miss a Shot Again: Create a Shot List Document

Plan out all your day’s shots by creating a shot list document and never miss that important closeup again. Download the free template here.

Great planning and pre-production is vital to a successful project. By creating a free shot list document, you can plan out all your day’s shots and never worry about missing that important closeup again.

I can’t stress enough how important the pre-production phase is to a smooth, successful shoot. This is the time to take out all of the guesswork, plan for problems you might face, and get your ducks in a row. One important document to consider is a shot list.


What Is a Shot List?

Essentially, a shot list compiles all of the shots you plan on getting within a given day or project. The shot list should be a complete document of everything you’d like to record, and then some. You could choose shots from your storyboard and put them into list form. Or, expand on them to ensure you’ve got extra angles, just in case. A shot list helps a director get everything organized on paper, plus the ability to check off what they captured as the day progressed.

Organization Is the Key
Organization is key to a successful production. Image via Gorodenkoff.

Not only does the shot list give you a concrete list to check off from, but it keeps the rest of the crew on the same page, as well. If you’re working with a crew, they’re able to see exactly what each scene will need to cover and plan accordingly. Once you’re wrapped with a specific shot, the crew will know what they’re moving onto for the next shot.

For this reason, you’ll want to include at least the director of photography (DP) and the assistant director (AD) in the creation of the document. The AD will advise on what’s feasible given the schedule, crew, and location. The DP will be able to talk through specific shots and what will be needed to capture them.


Tips to Consider

Inform Your Crew
It’s just as important to keep your crew involved with each step of the production. Image via weedezign.

Here are a few tips to consider when filling out your shot list.  

  • Include coverage: You may not have included B-roll into your storyboards, but you should in your shot lists. Getting coverage can save you in the edit when you’ve backed yourself into a corner. Be sure to include time for some coverage or B-roll in your shot list and save yourself the hassle in editing. 
  • Consider setup and shoot time: Time is always important. If you know you’re trying to squeeze a lot into a small time frame, keep track of how long you estimate a shot will take to set up and record. When in doubt, overestimate a bit. 
  • Work your way in: If you need multiple angles on a certain scene, start on the wide and work your way into the closeup. The wide will take the most consideration and prep when setting up. As you move into tighter shots, you’ll have less to worry about and you can actually start removing items from the scene if they’re no longer visible. 
  • One day at a time: If you’re shooting over the course of multiple days, split each day into a separate shot list. This will keep your shoot days organized and ensure your mind focuses only the shots you need for the day. 

Smaller Productions

For smaller shoots, where maybe you’re operating as a one-person-band or small crew, completing a simple shot list may do just fine. This would be just a few columns of details you can fill out rather quickly. This list should include the scene, angle (close, medium, wide), movement of the shot, subject, and any specific notes that describe what you’re going for.

Simple Shot List Example
Simple shot list example for a smaller production.

Larger Productions

For larger productions, you’ll want to utilize a more detailed shot list. More info leads to fewer questions later. Plus, a more detailed list will account for important aspects that may not be so clear to others involved. This expanded list could include things such as camera, lenses, if SFX are required, or if sound needs to be recorded, among many other things. 

Advanced Shot List Example
An advanced shot list for larger productions containing more specifics and columns to keep everything in check.

Shot List Template

Lucky for you, we’ve built out both a simple and advanced shot list template for you to use.

OPEN THE FREE SHOT LIST GOOGLE DOC

Simply save a copy of the document for yourself and edit it to fit your production. You will find both the simple and advanced shot lists within the sample document, along with options to fit each category to your shoot.

Shot List Templates
Get your pre-production organized with our shot list templates. Image via gnepphoto.

Give our shot list template a go and get your pre-production in order. You’ll thank us later when every shot you needed is in the editor’s hands. 


For additional production tips and tricks, check out these articles:

Cover image via Sutipond Somnam.

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