Did you know that our video team released a template of the shot lists that we use for our productions at Vimeo? We hope you’re as excited as we are about it, and that’s why we wanted to go a little more in-depth and explain the terms we include in every shot list we make.
Even if you decide you’re going to make your own shot list and not use our template (no hard feelings), this glossary offers up 13 essentials to include in any shot list for any type of project.
Essential shot list terms
Your scene number goes here. Simple!
Your shot is less simple but so important. Every angle is a different shot. If you’re filming a wide shot of two people talking in a coffee shop, that’s scene 1, shot A (1A). Next, is an over-the-shoulder shot of one of the people at the table, that’s 1B. Your next shot is a medium shot outside the coffee shop, that’s 2A. You advanced a scene and restarted your shot counter. Pro tip: The letters “I” and “L” are often skipped due to their close resemblance to the number 1 (and to each other). Another pro tip: If, during your shoot, you add a shot that isn’t on your list, append it with a lowercase “i” (e.g. 2Ai). That indicates “insert shot” that wasn’t on your list.
3. Shot Type
There lots of different shot types you can use. You can read more about shot types here. Above, I mentioned wide shot (WS), an over-the-shoulder (OTS) and medium shot (MS). In the Google Sheets template above, we included 11 different options.
During this shot, is the camera stationary, or does it move? If it moves, what type of movement?
This column is where you typically list your lenses (if you’re using a variety of different ones throughout your video), but feel free to include necessary gear for that specific shot.
This is where the shot is specifically taking place. If you’re shooting in multiple areas of a coffee shop, get specific: “Coffee shop, corner table,” “Coffee shop, counter,” and so on.
7. EXT / INT
Is your shot an exterior or interior shot? Is it at day (AM) or night (PM)?
Are you rolling sound? Or is it silent, for B-Roll?
This is where you describe the scene’s action or camera movements in more detail. For example, “Camera follows Jack carrying coffee from the counter to the table.”
10. Cast or Talent
Who’s in the shot? Are they famous? Can we get an autograph?
11. Setup Time
List the approximate time it’ll take to setup or reset the scene.
12. Shoot Time
Here you want to get the total time it will take to get your shot. Let’s say the shot is 15 seconds long, and you think it will need four takes to get it right. List 60 seconds (15 x 4).
13. Total Time
Total time is just like it sounds: Your setup time + your shoot time, giving you an idea of how much time this total shot will take. This one is crucial to help you plan your shoot days.
One last thing
Your shot list needs to work for you. Meaning, there’s no right or wrong way to create the perfect shot list. Include whatever information you feel is beneficial to your project, and feel free to remove or add criteria as you see fit.
Art by Coco McGuire.