Filmmaking is a series of choices. For the screenwriter, it’s deciding what moments and scenes to include to tell the story. For directors, it’s choosing how to capture those moments with the type of framing, movement and composition that make up the individual shots. This takes planning and collaboration in the form of an advanced shot list.
Is it possible to wing it when you're on set? Certainly, but as anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows, baking without a recipe (without planning and measuring ingredients) will lead to inconsistent results, high food costs and a loss of profit. Don’t give your producer indigestion. Using our free shot list template, we've made it easy to prepare and distribute a customizable shot list to crew members through Assemble.
Start now by clicking on Use Template or follow along with this article as we walk you through all the relevant information found on the shot list template.
Why You Need a Shot List Template
The idea behind a shot list is clarity. A simple shot list template is a checklist created by the director and the cinematographer during the pre-production process. It gives the specific details for the shoot day including every shot, including camera movement, shot size, and type of shot.
Some benefits to utilizing Assemble’s shot list template and software include:
1. Distribute to Crew Instantly
Since schedules and budgets are highly dependent on what is happening in the shot lists, it's vital to share them as soon as possible with the crew, especially those making the schedules.
Assemble’s shot list template allows the assistant director to take the director’s shot list and digitally distribute it quickly and accurately to the production team or crew.
2. Access Shot List Anywhere
No matter where you are or what device you have at your disposal, Assemble has you covered. In the middle of a company move, in a distant location, or far from the production office? No problem. The shot list information can be accessed without requiring registration or logging in, saving time and stress.
3. Updates in Real Time
Changes are inevitable. And while you may be able to find a free download of a template online, it will need to be updated and re-uploaded every time changes happen. Our shot list template adapts in real-time, allowing the cast and crew to know what shots have been completed, staying up-to-date on the day’s work. Shots can also be re-organized quickly throughout the day to update plans based on schedule changes. Make sure to check out our call sheet template as well to keep your film crew connected.
When to Use a Shot Sheet Template
Films are rarely shot sequentially, as it would be unproductive. For example, when there are several scenes in a kitchen in a script, it makes sense to shoot all of them at once from a budgetary and logistical perspective. In addition, a shot list helps determine the most effective shooting schedule. It can keep track of important details, like if special equipment is required for cinematography, such as a crane or a Steadicam.
The most important part of creating a shot list is for the director to be able to visually and effectively communicate to the crew the details of the work day. Being able to translate the director’s vision for the scene into an easily adaptable shot sheet template should happen in pre-production so that the schedule can be made and the daily call sheets created.
If you're looking for a way to track your crew on set, check out our film crew list template as well.
Our Shot List Creator: What’s Included
Every director may have a slightly different format, which is why our shot list creator is fully customizable. However, we give you a professional baseline to start from.
Here is what is included in our shot list template:
- Scene Number: What scene is captured from the screenplay.
- Shot Number: The reference number assigned to each individual shot.
- Takes: The take refers to each filmed "version" of a particular shot or "setup".
- Shot Description: A short description of the action and / or dialogue.
- Shot Size: Establishing shot, wide shot, medium shot, close-up, etc.
- Movement: How the camera moves or doesn’t move within the shot.
- Equipment: Any specialty equipment used to capture the shot.
- Int/Ext: Describes whether the location is an interior or exterior location.
- Location: Where the shot is captured.
- Cast: The actors included in the shot.
- Sound: If sound will be captured or not.
- Additional Notes: Remaining details the director wants to convey to the crew about the shot.
In addition, Assemble provides you with advanced tools to help you create, collaborate and share your shot list.
- Sort and filter your shot list by completion or a variety of status tags
- Re-order shots by dragging and dropping
- Collaborate with others in real time
- Create new versions and manage version history
Shot List Examples: What you Can Create with Assemble
Assemble’s shot list template will work for a range of project types. Although most projects will have similar needs, we’ve compiled a variety of shot list examples and tips on how you may want to customize our template to suit its unique needs.
Film Shot List Template
Our example shot list creator above covers what you would find in a standard shot list for film, however depending on the genre, your film shot list template might include additional information such as slots for VFX or CGI. You might include a column for specialized props in your film shot list, for example, if it is a period piece or sci-fi.
Video Shot List Template
As with film shot lists, video shot list templates can be simplified by removing unneeded columns or adding columns depending on the complexity of the project. If you use two cameras, you can add shot lists for each camera, highlighting multiple angles for each camera.
Music Video Shot List Template
There will probably be more spontaneity with a music video shot list template, especially if you are recording a live performance. However, you should have a game plan in place beforehand so that the crew knows what equipment is needed and what shots are essential.
Typically, the director will create a high level shot list for performance close-ups and master shots. The camera shot list template directs a cinematographer to focus on important shots to capture while giving the director the freedom to go off-script. A music video shot list template could also include b-roll shots that will be necessary for the visual concept.
Photoshoot Shot List Template
You may or may not be working from a script, but every photoshoot tells a story, whether it's about people, places, or products. Your photoshoot shot list template should be a simple checklist of every photo the client wants to capture on the day of a shoot. The photo shot list template usually contains a list of specific shots and important details such as camera angles and lighting set-ups.
Documentary Shot List
A documentary shot list depends on the type of documentary you are shooting. Usually, documentary filmmakers create shot lists from a general outline. They are more like blueprints with specific details laid out depending on the subject. For example, if you are shooting a sit-down interview, the director may be very detailed with the shots, angles, movement, and lighting. However, with a crowd scene, they may leave room for more spontaneity. Often, shot lists are used to grab b-roll for a documentary, such as location shots or anything that will be needed to tell the story.
Storyboard Shot List Template
A storyboard shot list template shows your shot list in visual form, with each frame of the storyboard next to the corresponding shot. A shot list storyboard is a visual guide that helps everyone plan in a more general way what they need to accomplish. For example, storyboards are very useful for designing action sequences and VFX.
In addition to helping the director prepare the shot list, a storyboard shot list template can also guide the producer and production team during the pre-production budgeting and scheduling process.
Shot Log Template
While sometimes confused, a shot list and a shot log are different documents. Our shot list template is a checklist for the director and cinematographer to plan the shots. Shot logs (or camera reports) are detailed notes that include metadata to help the editor assemble the shots in post-production. To create a shot log, check out our camera report template.
Create Your Shot Lists With Assemble
Get started today with our fully customizable shot list template. Follow these steps to open, customize and distribute the shot list to your production crew.
1. Open the Template
Open this template by clicking Use Template. The template will be created within a new blank project in Assemble.
2. Edit the Template as Needed
Click anywhere within the text to begin adding to or editing the template.
3. Share the Document
Click Share and select Share Document to easily distribute the document to your entire team with one click. You can even track who has viewed the document.
4. Save the Updated Template for Future Projects
Once you've updated it based on your needs, click the menu in the top right and select Save as Template to save it into your your personal template library.
Producing a Video with Assemble
Assemble enables producers to create a centralized hub to manage their entire project from start to finish - including documents, calendars, task management and asset management.
By using this shot list template, you'll get access to all of Assemble's powerful features so that you can not only utilize this document, but keep production moving quickly and efficiently with our advanced collaboration tools built for producers.
Get started today for free by clicking Use Template to begin exploring all of Assemble's powerful features.