The Only Shot List Template You Need — with Free Download

The Only Shot List Template You Need - With Free Shot List Template Download - StudioBinder

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

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Download the Shot List Template

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! Download them both below.

How to make a shot list strategic

Creative shot choices aside, it’s easy to forget that a shot list is a strategic document. Creating a shot list is essentially like creating a shooting gameplan for the day.

So what’s the best way to write a shot list?

How to write 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.

That’s the gist of it. But like most things, the devil’s in the details.

"It's easy to forget that a shot list is a strategic document." #filmmaking #indiefilm #filmmakers

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We also want to give George V.K. a big shout-out for creating a great shot list template that inspired our own. You can watch George’s walk through his shot list format below.

StudioBinder Shot List Template

Ultimate Shot List Template - StudioBinder

Sample shot list: click for high-res

Shot list examples: The anatomy of a shot list

1. Start with scene information

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.

Shot List Template - Scene Details

Shot list example: Scene details

2. Setup number

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Setup Number - StudioBinder

Shot list example: Identify setup numbers

3. Shot number

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Shot Number - StudioBinder

Shot list example: Identify each shot's number

4. Subject

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Camera Subject - StudioBinder

Shot list example: The subject of the shot

5. Shot size

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

Ultimate Shot List Template - Shot Size - StudioBinder

Shot list example: Select from list of camera shots

Learn more about framing and a list of camera shots in this video by Tom Antos

6. Camera

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

Ultimate Shot List Template - Camera - StudioBinder

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

7. Camera angles

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 list of camera angles commonly used in shot lists.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Camera Angle - StudioBinder

Shot list example: Select from list of camera angles

Camera angles you can use when creating a shot list

StudioBinder Shot Size and Shot List Template

Pro tip: 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.

8. Camera movement

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

Ultimate Shot List Template - Camera Movement - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: Select from list of camera movements

Types of camera movements to use when creating a shot list

Our shot list template includes the following camera movement terms as drop-downs.

Camera MoveDescription
Static
When the shot is locked off, the camera doesn’t pan, tilt, zoom or change in any way.
Pan
When you rotate the camera horizontally from a fixed location.
Tilt
When you rotate the camera vertically from a fixed location.
Pedestal
When the camera is moved vertically up or down (without tilting).
Dolly
When you move the entire camera forwards and backwards along a track.
Truck
The same as dollying, only you are moving the entire camera from left to right instead of forward and backward.
Arc
Used in combo with dolly or truck to show a curve in the dolly track.
Steadicam
When the camera is stabilized using a special rig onto the body of a specialized operator.
Handheld
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.
Zoom
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.

"Just found a handy shot list of camera movements #filmmakers can use for shot lists." #filmmaking #indiefilm

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9. Equipment

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Equipment - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: Select key department equipment

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.

10. Camera lens

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Equipment - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: Modify template options to add more lenses

11. Sound requirements

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Sound - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: Specify sound gear needed

12. Notes

Our film shot list template has two notes sections: notes for specific shots and notes for the whole scene.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Notes Field - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: add notes for shots and scenes

Ultimate Shot List Template - Scene Notes - StudioBinder

13. Script time

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

14. Setup time

Setup time is how long it will take to prep this shot. Breaking down setup times for every shot helps you develop a better understanding of the time cost of a shot. Don’t forget to account for non-camera prep time, such as production design, lighting changes, makeup and wardrobe changes.

shot-list-setup-time-min

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.

Pro tip: Keep a list of insert shots to shoot during downtime #filmmaking #indiefilm #filmmakers

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15. Estimated number of takes

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.

16. Shoot time

Based on the script time, setup 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

"When shot listing, make sure to add 5-min of padding to every shot. You'll need it." #filmmaking #filmmakers

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17. Take number (mark on set)

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

18. What’s the ✓ for? (The shot log)

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.

Ultimate Shot List Template - Film Shot Log Template - StudioBinder

Shot list examples: Check off shots as you complete them

Production management: Going beyond templates

Once you have locked the shot list for the day, you can upload and share it to online file sharing sites like Dropbox.

We also recommend accompanying your call sheets with a PDF of the shot list. It keeps everyone in the loop about where they are in the day, and what’s next. The more information you provide, the less time will be lost explaining what’s about to happen.

Production management software like StudioBinder makes it easy to share your shot list in addition to creating and sending call sheets, stripboards, and breakdown sheets. It’s also free to get started.

StudioBinder Film and TV Production Scheduling Software - Stripboard with Day Breaks

Download the Shot List Template

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! Download them both below.

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"Just found an epic shot list template and resource for #filmmakers." #filmmaking #indiefilm

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Wrapping Up

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!

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Darya Danesh

Darya Danesh

Cofounder and Content Director at StudioBinder
Focused on the intersection between Entertainment and Technology. Grew up in Silicon Valley, now resides in Silicon Beach. Also an animal lover, avid reader and futurist.
Darya Danesh