-14 DIT Filmmaking Guide – DP and 1st AD Prepare for Filming – L2S4p2

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D.P. Prep

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            The director of photography needs to work closely with both the director and the 1st AD in compiling and executing the shot list. Again, this requires a lot of paperwork. The DP and the Director should discuss color pallets, framing, lenses and all aspects of visual storytelling. The DP and Director should visit each location so that the DP can make a camera and lighting diagram for each location.


There are also some great programs and apps available to help you out in this endeavor. Check out 10 Best Apps for Lighting Diagrams (iPhone/iPad) | AppCrawlr or 5 Useful Cinematography iPad Apps for Filmmakers, and http://strobox.com/create a free online creator tool.

Visit exterior locations at the same time of day that you will be shooting in order to get the best understanding of how the sun or moon will affect that particular location and adjust accordingly.

Check out: Camera Movement & Filmaking by tchurchvideos 

as well as Cinematography Learn from a Master @ Hugh Fenton

and A Guide to Basic Cinematography / Filmmaking @ dky29

1st AD Prep

Prepare now Shoot later

            Your 1st AD has the difficult job of preparing all the paperwork that will keep the set running smoothly and on time. This includes organizing the shooting schedule into a day out of days shooting schedule or what like to call, The Plan for the Day! This is a breakdown of what scenes will be covered and the shot order in which they will be filmed.

Organizing the Shot List

When breaking down shot list I usually try and get the most time consuming shots out of the way first, weather it is a complicated crane shot, or a wide shot covering an entire scene; this can be done by breaking down a few factors regarding what each shot entails: 

Lighting Set Ups:

 Try and “Shoot Out” your lighting set ups, you don’t want to have to redo the whole thing again later.

Special Equipment


Allow at least 15-30 min for each shot using special equipment.

Wides to Close Ups and Vs/Versa

You can work in one of two ways. Shooting close up to wide, or wide to close up, however this decision should be made based on which way is easier and faster for lighting set ups. You should allot 15 min per shot.


This is the last factor, but do try to consider that high emotional scenes will take it out of an actor so consider what is most important to see on film and shoot that first.

When your done organizing the shots they should be re-arranged and look something like:

Once you have done this you will need to time out your shot schedule for the day down to the minute. If crew call is at 7am you will need to be shooting by 8am. So, your first shot will go from 8am-815am then the next from 8:30am-8:45am and so on, depending on the type of shot and allotted set up time in between.   Oh and don’t forget to schedule lunch and dinner, unless you want to be eaten alive, you need 30min-60min for each meal break.

Call Sheets

             All the information about the crew, and cast including names titles, phone numbers, call times, etc. will go onto a call sheet for each day of shooting. It will also include the scenes to be covered, the weather for the day, pertinent special equipment for pick up or delivery, and also if it an exterior scene alternative plans if the weather is not permitting.

Check out Doddle an app call sheet creator.

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