Free Shot List Templates for Film & Photography [Word & Excel]

editable shot list template

The filming process isn’t so simple as it seems on a two hours movie session. There is a lot of preparation involved before starting to shot any scene of a movie. In this regard, a document named shot list template is used by the directors to organize the scenes of a movie.

The term of shot is used in filmmaking as a series of pictures called frames. These pictures are run without any interruption that looks like a video. In the digital camera, the length of the scene being recorded between the one press of record and stop.

There are two types of shots: static and follow shot. A static shot is a shot in which the camera remains still. While in the following shot the camera physically follows the subject. You can also like the potluck sign up sheet.

What is a shot list?

A shot list is basically a document that maps out everything that needs to be captured in a scene of video production. It acts as a checklist because it provides a sense of direction and preparedness. It is usually made with the help of the director, cinematographer, and first assistant director. For making film scenes, managing and preparing shot lists are very difficult.

Moreover, the shot list enables the director to organize their thoughts before filming starts. It is very useful for bigger productions as they require shot in multiple settings.

What is Shot List Template?

A shot list template is a document used to describe each shot. It maps out all the details about the shot such as shot timeframe, location, camera angle, camera move, audio, subject, description of the shot, and script.

There are different types of shot lists. The checklist type shot list preferred by the production teams. Moreover, the shot list can be simple to very complex. Therefore, the shot list that is used for television or cinema productions is a bit complex to organize.

However, the shot list that is used for the production of the business of corporate video is rather simpler and contains limited information such as the location, types of shot, camera angle and move, and description of the shot.

The shot list is used as a guideline by the production staff to record the scenes in a true sense. As the bigger shots require a frequent change of the settings and features of the camera. So, the shot list helps the director to organize the scenes and shooting schedule.

Shot lists are merged with the scripts and pre-production process for a better understanding of the scene.

What are the different types of shots?

One of the most important features of your shot list is the type of shot. Below are the different types of shot that you can use in your shot list;

  • Close-up (CU)
  • Extreme Close-up (ECU)
  • Medium Close-up (MCU)
  • Mid Shot (MS)
  • Very wide shot (WVS)
  • Wide shot (WS)

After deciding the types of your shots in your film now it’s time to determine your subject. Next, you should also add a description of each shot because it will guide you on what will happen in every frame and how things move further.

What are the basic elements of a shot list?

The basic elements of a shot list are discussed below;

  1. Scene details: Firstly, break your document into scenes in order to make it easier and then add scene numbers and headings.
  2. Setup number: Here you have to discuss lightning and camera such as camera position or camera angle.
  3. Shot number: It contains the reference number for a given shot.
  4. Subject: Here, for your subject, you have to focus shots by using a character, group of characters, a prop, and more.
  5. Description: Next, you provide a description for each of the shots.
  6. Camera: If you are using a lot of cameras then you should identify all the individual cameras along with specialty cameras.
  7. Shot size: This element provides you the size of your subject in the frame.
  8. Camera angles: Here you should inform about the camera’s position in relation to your subject.
  9. Camera movement: This element includes any movement of the camera while shooting.

Specific Components of a Shot List Template:

There are several types of shot lists used for different filmmaking strategies. However, a basic shot list must include certain elements for being effective during the shooting.

The following are the components of a simple shot list:

  • Scene Number
  • Shot Number
  • Script Reference Number
  • Location (Interior or Exterior)
  • Camera Angel and Move
  • Subject or Actors
  • Description of the Shot
  • Extra Notes
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How to use a Shot List Template?

The shot list template is very helpful for the production team in shooting scenes. An effectively created shot list templates work as a checklist. It ensures nothing gets ignored and everything is as per plan.

The grouping technique is used by the directors to make the shooting process easier. The different groups of shoots are made based on the shot location and camera settings.

The films that involve actors that have a limited time slot. The shoots are grouped about the subject. So, it is not necessary to start filming the scenes in a fixed order.

A shot list template is an MS Excel-based document. So, it doesn’t require any professional skill of the tool for editing and customization. Also, Excel spreadsheets are easy to design as print-friendly documents.

When to create a shot list?

After finishing your script, you should create your shot list. With the help of this document, you can visualize what you want. It will make it easier to bring your vision to life by organizing the cast, crew, equipment, and locations.

You can add notes to the shot lists such as detailed comments and shot/card numbers during production to help your editor. Keep in mind that you have to organize your shots by location. When you put similar shoots together, it becomes easier to shoot them all at the same time.

How to create a shot list?

Here are some tips that will help you in creating a shot list;

  • Firstly, breakdown the script to organize all the details of the shot.
  • Next, make a storyboard. This step is an option but it can be very helpful. To identify what each shot would look like layout the different types of the shot. If you want to do these steps then do it before meeting with the rest of the team?
  • Then, create a draft of all the shots that you want to involve on your final list.
  • One more thing you have to do is break down the shooting days. You can do this by the availability of the actors and other important factors and then re-draft your shot list template.
  • Organize your camera according to the order of filming and probably this is the last step of your shot list.

Why should you make a shot list?

Here are some reasons why you should make a shot list;


The shot list is an effective strategic development tool. Shot lists use realistic parameters to break an imagined project into individual tasks. This document is important for the producer and their team. It allows efficient budgeting and scheduling by providing a framework. It plays a significant role in predicting costs and delivering a project at a specific time.

Communication and efficiency

With the help of a well-designed shot list, the communication process gets streamlined and increases a product’s efficiency. For critical production information, this document gives a common reference point. Crew members get a snapshot of the day’s objectives through the shot list.

Furthermore, the shot list makes a solid foundation upon which improvisation can confidently stand in case the director or another key creative modifies their mind on the day.

Clarity of vision

The shot list provides a production-friendly method of developing a project’s creative vision. When the producers use shot lists, it becomes easier for them to guide their director and coordinate the rest of the production.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Difference between a scriptwriter and a shot list writer?

The scripter is responsible for the following;

1- For making the dialogue and flow of the story
2- Doing research
3- Establishing the characters and plot
4- On the other hand, a shot list writer is responsible for arranging the storyline for the production of the script.

How many shots does a scene contain?

The answer to this question depends on the objective of the film director. Some scenes just contain more than two shots and some just have one.

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