Your shoot schedule is your friend

Your shoot schedule is your friend

No matter the scale or budget of a production, a shoot schedule is an absolutely essential tool! A shoot schedule is a document, derived from the script, which clearly outlines the order in which scenes are to be shot, and how long to take shooting each scene. All shoot schedules should inform what crew, talent, location, wardrobe, props, lighting and sound equipment is required for each scene. A more extensive schedule will even involve a break down of the various camera angles of each scene, and the number of cameras involved in the shot.

The more crew members involved on your shoot, the more detailed a shoot schedule should be.

Shoot schedules are often accompanied by a call sheet, which lists the details and start and finish times of every aspect of the video shooting process that you could think of – it could even list sunrise and sunset times, the weather forecast for shoot days and what time the main talent will start and finish.

Putting together a shoot schedule

Putting a shoot schedule together

Getting your shoot schedule right is paramount in making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible on set. So how do you put together the most foolproof and flawless shoot schedule?

1. Know the script

Start by very closely reading through the script line by line. This process is sometimes referred to as “lining.” As you read through the script, make note of all elements such as talent, prop, wardrobe, make up, and location that is required for each scene. A good script will have mentions of all of these elements, for more tips on how to put a good script together check out:

2. Break it down

Break down these elements into a document, so it’s clear to see what is needed for each scene. We recommend laying out this information on a spreadsheet to keep track of what is required for each shoot day.

3. Assembling the shoot schedule

Ignore the chronological flow of the script, and group scenes that are easiest to shoot back to back. Generally, this is determined based on the location or talent involved.

More hot tips:

Keep the creative and talent in mind

When scheduling the day, we recommend shooting the harder, more emotionally demanding scenes first. This way talent and crew don’t spend the whole day stressing about these scenes.

Find an app to help you

There are plenty of apps to help you put together a shoot schedule, check out:

Leave room to breathe (and lunch)

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. When scheduling a shoot be sure to leave room for mistakes, for extra shots, for set up and pack down time and remember to give precedence to the most important scenes of your video, as you’ll want to spend a little extra time setting these up and getting them absolutely right. It’s also important to leave some breathing room in the schedule as to not tire the crew out. Schedule in lunch and coffee breaks, your crew will thank you!

Allow for breaks in your shoot schedule

At Rocket Productions, we have a variety of schedules that have been tried and tested over the years to work immaculately, from small to large shoots. We’ll take a look at your idea and storyboard, and help you come up with a shoot schedule that gives priority to your video’s most important shots and scenes, to ensure you get your message across.

Gabi Miles is a Producer at Sydney based video production company, Rocket Productions. You’ll find more useful articles on our blog.