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What Is a Shot List and How to Make One for Your Videos

What Is a Shot List and How to Make One for Your Videos

Behind every successful project, there is a strong plan. Whether you want to start a business, create a website, or bring your creative ideas to life, you’ll need to do a fair amount of preparations to ensure you achieve the results you’re after. For videographers, a fair share of this process revolves around making a shot list.

From vloggers to Hollywood directors, all types of video creators use shot lists to organize the production of their projects and ensure that everything runs smoothly. Want to follow their steps and take your videos to the next level? Here is everything you need to know about shot lists, from what they are to how to make your own - including a shot list template to help you get started.

What is a shot list?

A shot list is a document that includes all the camera shots that will be captured in a specific day, for a particular scene, or used in the entirety of the video. The purpose is to ease communication between the film crew as well as provide all key details that they need to be aware of.

Shot lists are one of the key components of production schedules, as they allow directors to organize them in the most efficient and detailed manner. The documents include detailed information about each shot, such as the type, camera movement, angle, action, audio, equipment, subjects, etc. This is why they are created during the pre production phase, where they play a huge role in shaping the project and giving it a sense of direction.

How to create a shot list

The level of detail of a shot list depends entirely on the needs of each project and the preferences of its director. No matter the case, there are six core elements that every shot list should have:

  • Scene number

  • Shot number

  • Location

  • Type of Shot

  • Angle

  • Movement

Other technical details commonly covered on a shot list include audio, dialogue, actors, props, a lens, camera, lighting, and duration.

To begin creating a shot list, decide the type of information you’ll want to include in it. While you can write down additional notes later on, knowing what you want from the get-go will save you a lot of time and energy.

Once you’ve set up a table, group the different shots you’ll need based on their similarities. The main detail you should be looking at is their location, as this will make the shooting schedule much more convenient and efficient. After all, it’s much easier to get the right scene order using a video editing software than to move all of your crew and equipment back and forth between places.

The next step is deciding what kind of shots you’ll film, and which camera angles and moves you’ll be using. It’s recommended to freshen up your knowledge of the different types of shots, camera angles, and movements beforehand. In addition to checking out the article linked in the previous sentence, this table may come in handy during this step:

video shot types camera angles camera movements

Shot list template example

If you were to create a shot list for one of the most well-known clips in the history of animated cinema, this is what it might look like:

shot list template example

When it comes to shot list templates, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Some might feel more comfortable with a table that includes solely technical details. Others might prefer to include each shot’s dialogue, and maybe even some sketches to help them visualize the scene.

You should think of a shot list as a problem-free philosophy meant to make your creative process easier, rather than becoming yet another thing to worry about. Test out different options and don’t be afraid to add or modify any elements to adapt this shot list template to the specific needs of your project.

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