A good shot list maximizes shooting time and limits downtime across all departments. In this post, we lay out the essentials of a shot list, and provide the best film & photography shot list template you’ll ever need.

    Create a shot list

    How to make a shot list strategically?

    Create a shot list in three steps:
  1. Write out your list of camera shots.
  2. Group the camera shots by setups.
  3. Reorder the setups into the most efficient order of shooting.
  4. That’s the gist of it. But like most things, the devil’s in the details. Writing out a shot is easy, conceptualizing is hard.

What is a shot list?

The anatomy of a shot list

A shot list is typically comprised of:

  • Scene number
  • Shot number
  • Location
  • Shot description
  • Framing
  • Action/dialogue
  • Actors involved
  • Props needed
  • Extra notes

If you're still asking yourself "What is a shot list?", check out the video below where we explain the shot list anatomy and show you how to build one. 

The Anatomy of a Shot List

Shot List Definition

What is a shot list?

shot list is a full list of all the shots you want to get on a shoot day. Your shot list includes all the key details for every shot, such as shot size, type, camera movement, lens and gear requirements, and more. Think of it as a shopping list to make sure you get every shot you need to tell the story. 

Creative shots aside, it’s easy to forget that a shot list is a strategic document. It’s a way for you to clearly communicate your vision with a DP and 1st AD, and plan out the shooting gameplan for the day. 

Shot lists are not exclusive to filmmaking because you can build a camera shot list for a photography shot list, and if you have multiple cameras you can use a well built shot list to specify which shots will be created with each camera. 


For clarity and ease-of-use, shot lists should be broken up by scenes. Just add the scene number, scene heading and page above the shot list.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Scene Description-min

Shot list example: Scene details via StudioBinder


A setup is the unique placement and preparation of the camera and lighting. The setup number should be increased anytime the camera angle, equipment or camera position is changed. You can also use color labels to identify different setups within StudioBinder.


This is a reference number for the shot / row. Simply list out your shots starting at 1. Reset the shot number back to 1 for every new setup.


The subject is the focus of the shot. It can be a character, group of character, a prop, establishing shot, etc. The subject helps your team plan when actors should report to set or when a prop or location needs to be prepped.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Subject

Shot list example: The subject of the shot via StudioBinder


Provide as much detail as you’d like for each shot. It could be anything from an insert description to an action in the scene to a line of dialogue in the scene.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Description

Shot list example: Add a description to your shots via StudioBinder


If you are on a multi-camera shoot, identify individual cameras, or specialty cameras (i.e. drone, GoPro, security camera, webcam, etc.).

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Camera Choice

Shot list example: Identify which camera(s) are being used via StudioBinder


Shot size defines the size of the subject in the frame (i.e. closeup, medium shot, etc).

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Shot Size

Shot list example: Select from list of camera shots via StudioBinder


The camera angle references the position of the camera in relation to the subject (i.e. eye-level, high angle, low angle, etc.)

A change in camera angle calls for a new setup in your camera shot list. Here’s a comprehensive list of 50+ camera shots and angles commonly used in shot lists.

If the camera angle changes during the take, phrase it as something like a low-med-high, which means the shot starts low, then moves to a medium, and ends on a high angle. This can be added in the Description.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Shot Type

Shot list example: Select from list of camera angles via StudioBinder


Camera movement identifies any movements of the camera during the shot. Remember, complex camera movements are time-consuming to setup so use them sparingly.

Popular framing and camera angles for your shot list

Shot List camera movement types

Types of camera movements to use when creating a shot list

Our shot list template includes the following camera movement terms as drop-downs so that you can build the most detailed camera shot list. 

Camera MoveDescription
When the shot is locked off, the camera doesn’t pan, tilt, zoom or change in any way.
When you rotate the camera horizontally from a fixed location.
When you rotate the camera vertically from a fixed location.
When the camera is moved vertically up or down (without tilting).
When you move the entire camera forwards and backwards along a track.
The same as dollying, only you are moving the entire camera from left to right instead of forward and backward.
Used in combo with dolly or truck to show a curve in the dolly track.
When the camera is stabilized using a special rig onto the body of a specialized operator.
The camera is held by the operator without a stabilizer.
Crane or Boom
When you have a shot that starts extremely high and moves to a lower position or vice versa. Often used for overhead and establishing shots.
When you zoom in or out of a subject.
Rack Focus
This is more a technique than a move. Rack focus is when the focus changes quickly from one subject to another in the same shot.
Dolly Zoom
A technique where the camera moves closer or further from the subject while simultaneously adjusting the zoom angle to keep the subject the same size in the frame.

Identify the camera equipment that will be supporting the camera (i.e. tripod, crane, dolly, etc). This helps you anticipate the set up time for equipment changes.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Equipment

Shot list examples: Select key department equipment via StudioBinder

Pro Tip

Setup can eat up a lot of time over the course of a day. Once the camera is set with specific equipment (or lens) shoot as many setups with that gear before switching.


The Lens column helps your DP and assistant camera team (ACs) prep for upcoming shots. Changing the lens constitutes a new setup, and takes time to accomplish. Minimize setup time by grouping your shotlist by lens setups.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Lens

Shot list examples: Modify template options to add more lenses via StudioBinder


Is a shot covered with a boom mic or a lav mic? Both? Is the shot MOS (without sound)? If you have a complex sound setup add it to the Notes column.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Sound

Shot list examples: Specify sound gear needed via StudioBinder


Our film shot list template has two notes sections: notes for specific shots and notes for the whole scene. These could be used in a variety of ways, including setups, meal breaks, etc.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Notes.

Shot list examples: add notes for shots and scenes via StudioBinder


Script Time is the approximate run-time of the shot. This will help you identify the total shooting time. To approximate the script time of a scene or shot, time yourself as you read the scene and all the dialogue aloud.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Shoot Time - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: How to identify an approximate shoot time via shot list template

Pro Tip

Remember that insert shots are often the easiest to shoot, requiring minimal talent, crew and gear. Factor them strategically into your camera shot list while other shots are being prepped. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of insert shots on standby to keep shooting during downtime.


This is an educated guess but will help determine the total estimated time needed to get the shot. Take into consideration the the complexity of the shot, its importance to the story, and the execution challenge for talent.


Based on the script timesetup time and estimated number of takes, the shot list template will automatically generate an estimated shoot time for every shot.

We also add an additional five minutes of padding to every estimate just to play it safe.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Total Shoot Time for Scene - StudioBinder

The Total Shoot Time for the scene is automatically calculated at the bottom via template


This column is where you can mark your favorite takes when you’re shooting on set. Afterwards you can share the best take numbers with your editor.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Take Number - StudioBinder

Tip: Share the shot list template with your script supervisor (scripty) for marking via template


Similar to the Take Number above, the first column is meant to be filled out on set. Once the shot is complete, mark the row with the ✓ to track your progress.

Pro Tip: Marking shots as Nice-to-Have in advance helps everyone better prioritize the essentials on set—helpful if you start falling behind schedule.

The Only Shot List Template You Need (with Free Download) - Status.

Shot list examples: Check off shots as you complete them via StudioBinder

How to Become a Great Line Producer

Sync with shooting schedule

Sync your shot list with your shooting schedule

A complex shot can tack on hours to a preexisting shooting schedule, limiting what you can shoot in a single day.

So, adjust according. Be sure to send your finalized shot list to your UPM, upload a PDF to an online file sharing sites like Dropbox, and hold a meeting to determine how the schedule will shift and what shots are feasible.

In some production management software, like StudioBinder, you can eliminate this process entirely. Since your shot lists are saved under your scene strips, your shooting schedule and call sheets automatically adjust.

Not to mention, everyone can view, edit, and comment on the shot list within the app.

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Download the Shot List Template

Ultimate Shot List Template - StudioBinder

There are times when all you need is a basic, quick shot list (i.e. a photography shot list template, etc.) and other times when you need something more robust. So we’ve created both!

Up Next

How to create a better shooting schedule? 

And that’s the anatomy of a shot list! But why stop there. You can take your shot list a step further and incorporate a storyboard template as well. Storyboards are a great way to visual the project and lock your most important shots.

Before you dive into the nitty gritty of creating a daily shot list, it’s important to holistically plan the entire production schedule out. Check out our script breakdown example and 15 ways create a better shooting schedule.

Did we miss anything? Please leave your feedback or comments below!

 Up Next: Creating better shooting schedules 
Solution - Shot List and Storyboard

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards.

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows. 

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