A shot list is a blueprint for what should be filmed and when it should be filmed. It’s an essential part of the filmmaking process that helps you visualize exactly how you want to capture each scene and sequence in your film.

A shot list is a document used during the pre-production phase of filmmaking to note all the necessary shots that must be obtained throughout principal photography.

A shot list is an important tool for planning your film and communicating with your team before production commences.

It’s a valuable resource to use when you’re mapping out the visual arc of your story and deciding how you want to direct the audience’s attention.

shot list abbreviations

What Are shot list abbreviations?

In filmmaking, a shot list is a kind of checklist for each scene, listing the types of shots needed to complete that scene.

This list is prepared before shooting begins, and helps the director remember what kinds of shots he or she wants to get during filming.

Shot lists are most commonly used on film sets, so they’re usually created by directors, assistant directors, and cinematographers.

They can also be used by videographers, photographers, or anyone else planning a shoot.

A shot list can be as simple as a few bullet points or as detailed as a complete schematic map of specific shots that must be captured on set.



What Are Shot Lists?

A shot list is a list of shots that you want to get during a filming day.

It varies in length depending on the client, the situation, and your creative aspirations.

A shot list can change between one session and another, but if it does, it should only be minor changes from what you had created. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, but you must create one before every shoot so you can stay on track throughout the session.

The purpose of a shot list is to help keep you focused on the things that need to be accomplished during your shoot.

This can be as simple as creating a lookbook or mood board for your client or as complex as creating an entire workflow, including wireframes and beyond.

You might use an app like Evernote or Trello to create your shot lists, depending on how involved they need to be.

The shot list is a critical component to a good production. 

The shot list is usually created by the 1st AD and then further refined by the director before filming begins.

The breakdown of each shot should include the following:

  • The scene number.
  • What lens, camera angles, and set ups will be used.
  • Who will be in the shot (actors, extras, and/or stand ins).
  • What props are needed (for example: chairs x2, musket balls).
  • What set dressing is needed (for example: trees).
  • How many camera angles will be used (for example: long master, close ups x2).
  • Each element on the shot list should have its own abbreviation so that it can be easily communicated.

Here are some common abbreviations for a shot list:

  • AC – assistant camera operator (stands behind camera)
  • AD – production assistant or assistant director
  • AE – key grip or best boy electric
  • BG – background actor or background action (i.e. stunts)
  • BOOM – sound/video operator who operates the boom mic on set.

What Are Shot List Abbreviations?

Shot lists are often written down, but they can also be stored digitally. The key parts of a shot list are:

  • Scene – this includes the scene title and other brief details about what happens in that scene.
  • Action – this is the description of what happens and when it happens.
  • Angles/Camera – this is where you specify what camera angle and what size lens you want to use.
  • Shot number – each shot needs to have its own unique identifier, which is best done with a simple numbering system. Additional notes about the shot – any additional information you want to add about the scene can easily be included here.
  • Takes – The number of times the talent is expected to repeat the action. This doesn’t include setups, just actions.
  • Setup(s): – The time required to set up equipment and lights for the particular shot before shooting can start.
  • Locations: The locations needed for the particular shot.

What Are Shot Sizes?

Let’s talk about shot sizes. Shot sizes are the different sizes that a camera can take depending on the lens you use.

There are a few different shot sizes but most commonly you will hear about full-frame, APS-C, and four thirds. 

Full frame is a 35mm sensor which means that it’s a little larger than an APS-C sensor, but not as large as a four thirds sensor.

Full frame sensors offer the highest levels of image quality with the least amount of crop factor. A full frame sensor is approximately 1.0x bigger than an APS-C sized sensor.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A CU: Close-up

A CU is a close-up shot. Typically, it shows the front of an object, or the face of a person.

This shot is usually used when the photographer wants to highlight a particular detail of the subject or show its size in relation to other objects. A CU is also called a head shot, as it often only shows part of the face and shoulders.

Photographers will use CU’s to focus on their subject’s eyes, mouth, or nose in order to get a more striking photo. In portraiture, a CU is often used so that a person can be photographed with a high degree of realism and complexity.

When photographing people, you will often take several photos at different distances, angles, and poses to capture different views of your subject’s face. These are then composited together in post-processing to form one complete picture.

Using this technique, you can remove distracting elements from your background while emphasizing your subject’s facial features and creating an image that looks very natural and lifelike

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A MCU: Medium Close-up

A medium close-up is one of the four basic types of shots that are frequently used in movies, TV shows and commercials. A medium close-up is also called a mid-shot.

Heres a list of film shots: Extreme Long Shot (ELS) – Also known as “God Shot”, “Extreme Long Shot” means that all the action on screen is visible, but the characters appear small and distant. A long shot usually features the entire cast and most of the location where the scene takes place.

Long Shot (LS) – It means that the subject can be seen clearly in the frame, but it takes up only a small part of it.Mid Shot (MS) – It’s not very common in filmmaking, since it doesn’t show neither the subject nor his whole environment.

The term “Mid Shot” is often used to describe a shot featuring an actor from his waist up to his head.Close Up (CU) – It’s also called “CU”, “Medium Close Up” or simply “Close Up”. It shows only part of a person or thing. Usually, it’s somewhere from the upper chest

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A ECU: Extreme Close-up

Many people don’t understand how to achieve an extreme close-up with their camera. Many people also don’t know what an extreme close up even is.

But it’s really quite simple and it’s a really great way to add interest to your photographs. 

I’ll explain what an extreme closeup is, how you can achieve them and how you can use them in your own photography to add interest to your images.

It’s important to note that the following tutorial uses one lens and one camera (in this case it’s a Nikon D700 and the 85mm f/1.8G lens). The setup won’t change, but you will need to adjust some of the settings on your camera depending on your gear.

For example, if you’re using a 50mm f/1.8 lens and shooting on a Nikon D7000 then you’re going to want to switch everything over to manual focus and manual exposure mode.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A WCU: Wide Close-up

A wide close-up shot is a camera angle in which the subject occupies roughly the same amount of space on the film or movie screen as it would in reality.

A classic example is th shot of someone’s face filling the screen, as in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. The camera is placed close to the subject, who fills much of the frame, and it is pointed at a wide angle.

Directors and cinematographers often choose this angle because it makes a small object look larger than life. For example, a child looking up at an adult may appear more intimidating and threatening when shown with this angle.

A wide close-up can also be used to create tension or stress by focusing on the subject’s face and reacting to something (or someone) invisible to the audience. This shot was first popularized by D.W. Griffith’s silent film The Birth of a Nation (1915), which features several scenes filmed from this perspective.

It was used extensively throughout Hollywood’s classical era, including in Citizen Kane (1941) and The Searchers (1956). 

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A MS: Medium Shot

A medium shot is a film shot that shows the subject from the waist up. The head, shoulders, and upper part of the chest are included in the shot.

A medium shot can be compared to a close-up where the face is visible but not the whole body.Taken straight on, a medium shot will capture a person’s entire torso and their head turned or facing slightly to one side.

It is also called a full-body shot or a three-quarter shot. This film shot is used in many films, television shows, and music videos as it is considered to be versatile and visually interesting as it allows you to see both the subject’s body language and facial expression at once.

A medium shot can also be described as being around 70mm  from your subject, which will land somewhere between their chin and just past their eyes if they are standing up straight. 

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A CS: Cowboy Shot

A Cowboy Shot is a kind of film shot that is rarely used by cinematographers anymore. 

It’s a shot where the camera is placed far away from the subject and zoomed in so that both the subject and the background are in focus. This causes a lot of unnecessary distortion, but it can be used as an effect for certain shots.

A cowboy shot is also known by several names: wide shot, long shot, long-distance shot, or simply wide. It’s common to use this type of shot in movies, TV shows, and video games.

A cowboy shot is often used to establish a setting, such as showing the entire scene or environment where an event will take place later on in the story.

Using a wide shot could distract your audience from what’s important and make your plot confusing. When making your movie, think about what you want your audience to notice during a scene.

Would the cowboy shot be more appropriate than another camera angle? 

Only you can decide; there are no rules when it comes to filmmaking. Your own creativity is more important than any technique.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A MCS: Medium Close Shot

A medium close-up shot is a type of shot where the subject is filmed from the upper chest or neck up. This type of shot can be used in interviews or as a transitional shot between longer shots.

It is typically filmed from the waist up, but unlike a head and shoulders shot it does not include the head.

The medium close-up is frequently used in sequences with other shots such as a two shot, three shot, and over the shoulder shots to create variety, dynamics, and increase interest.

It can be used to frame another actor or object that may otherwise not be seen in wider shots.

In film and television, this type of shot is generally used for short periods of time ranging from 10 to 30 seconds as it has limited. The least amount of time that you should shoot any particular medium close-up shot is 10 seconds because it will make the audience feel uncomfortable after that amount of time.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A WS: Wide Shot

A wide shot is a shot that has a very wide angle, usually achieved by moving the camera back from the subject. It is used to establish the setting of the film.

In films such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and There Will Be Blood, these shots can be used to show the whole setting of a scene, including the characters’ positions. Wide shots are often held for longer periods of time; more than medium or close-up shots and are usually filmed from the best angle for showing off a set or location.

A wide shot is usually an establishing shot. It is also called a full shot or long shot.

In technical terms, a wide shot is any camera angle wider than normal on an object or set.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A EWS: Extreme Wide Shot

An extreme wide shot (or EWS) is a long shot that shows a lot of the scene. It includes wide views of the landscape as well as any characters and objects within the scene.

The objective of an EWS is to show viewers a wide expanse of space. It is great for establishing shots, especially in films that take place in large areas such as outer space, deserts, or forests.

The extreme wide shot allows viewers to see the vastness of the setting in which the story takes place.This type of shot can also be used when the director wants to use the scenery to reflect character emotion.

For example, if you want to show that your main character is feeling lonely and lost in his new surroundings, you might pan over an expansive landscape with few people or buildings visible. This allows you to show how alone your character feels by placing him in a vast world with no one else around.

You can also use this type of shot when you have a lot happening in a scene but don’t have time to show it all at once. Using an extreme wide shot allows you to show most or all of your action without needing multiple shots or edits. 

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A MFS: Medium Full Shot

A medium full shot is exactly what it sounds like — a medium shot that’s as full as you can make it without cutting off a person’s head or feet. It’s fairly wide — about two heads across — and fairly centered on its subject.

This shot makes it easy for viewers to see a person’s entire body, and helps them connect with his/her presence in your film. Simply moving back from your subject gives you more breathing room without changing the shot type.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A LS: Long Shot

As opposed to a MS (medium shot) or an ECU (extreme close-up), when using the LS technique, your camera is focused on a long shot. It is used in filming an object from a distance, and it is often used for surveillance.

It gives the audience a sense of size and height, as well as providing an interesting angle. Tilt-up shots are mostly used for birds-eye view shots depicting large spaces like cities. This technique is also used when filming through windows or doors that are at eye level or even below them.

What Kind Of Film Shot Is A ELS: Extreme Long Shot

The extreme long shot is also known as the wide shot, long shot, or full shot. It shows everything in the scene, including the landscape (for example, if the characters are in a forest) and the sky above.

This wide shot is useful when you want to show more than one character at once. Screenwriters often use this angle to create a sense of distance between two characters.

For example, if one character is sitting on a rock staring at another character who is standing several feet away, the wide shot shows both of them and how much space is between them.

You can also use it to show how small your characters are compared to their surroundings — for instance, if your characters are lost in a huge forest, an extreme long shot can establish that they’re tiny compared to all that greenery. 

This angle also gives you a good view of where your characters are going — for example, if they’re walking down a street towards the camera, you can see what’s ahead of them.

The extreme long shot works well with medium shots and close-ups because it gives you a complete visual picture of what’s going on. You can combine it with other angles to create more complex shots.

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A LA: Low Angle

A low angle shot refers to the position or angle of the camera. It is also known as a high-angle shot.

The camera is placed below the subject, which shoots upward to make the subject look taller. When the camera is too low, it becomes harder for you to shoot an object or a person from its original point of view.

This type of shot is used when you want to show someone or something in power or importance by making them look taller. The camera is positioned higher than usual so that it can make objects appear taller and more powerful. 

When shooting from this angle, we get an interesting perspective over our subject because we are looking down on it. This shot is helpful if you want to give your audience an idea about how tall something actually is like a building.

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A HA: High Angle

A high angle shot is a shot taken from above the subject and lower than the subject’s eye level. This shot is usually taken with a lens that has a long focal length, such as 200mm or 300mm.

The lens should be tilted down slightly to achieve the effect. The main benefit of this type of shot is that it can be very dramatic

Because the camera is pointed above and in front of the subject, it often creates an illusion of power or superiority. Also, if your model is tall and thin, he/she will look even taller and more thin when photographed from above.

The main disadvantage of this type of shot is that it does not work well with short models. It also does not work well with groups because it separates them visually (they do not align in vertical space).

To get an even more powerful image, you can tilt the camera all the way down so your model’s face looks up toward the camera. 

Another interesting variation on this technique involves shooting from below your subject using a tilt-shift lens. 

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A OTS: Over-the-Shoulder

Over the shoulder or OTS is typically used when two people are having a conversation.

This shot type is mostly used in dialogue scenes. It’s important to note that when using this shot type, the camera should be positioned to show only the shoulder and ear of one character, while including the entire shoulder and ear of the character who is being spoken to.

This angle can be achieved by placing the camera directly behind one character, with their back facing the camera. While shooting this angle, it’s important to make sure that there is no break in eye contact between the two characters who are speaking.

This shot type makes it very easy for viewers to focus on what the characters are saying, rather than anything else that may be going on within the scene.

The following video gives a great example of how to film an OTS:

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A POV: Point of View

POV stands for point of view and it’s an angle where the camera is positioned close to the action, usually with a fisheye lense or GoPro lense with 170 degrees field of view. 

It’s a really cool shot type that you can use to tell a story and put the viewer right into the action. The best way to do that is to have a moving camera.

If you are using a tripod, it doesn’t count. It has to be handheld or attached to something like a car or bike.

Here is an example of a POV video shot by yours truly on my GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition.

The most common POV shots used in movies are when the character is running away and shooting at their pursuers. Having a moving camera is the key here!

This can be used for extreme sports and even for things like cooking videos. POV shots are being used more and more in all types of videos because it gives the viewer a feeling like he or she is actually there.

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A EST: Establishing Shot

In film and television, an establishing shot (or EST for short) is a wide shot that gives the audience a sense of the story’s setting. As opposed to a close-up, it usually shows a larger portion of the setting and is used to orient viewers as to where the story is taking place.

It may also be used to help the viewer differentiate between two different locations in a scene by showing different parts of each location or simply by showing how large one location is in comparison to another.

The EST may then be used later in the scene to show an even closer view of that area. The EST can also be used as a transition between locations by cutting from one EST to another over a period of time.

Establishing shots are typically made up of wide, sweeping, aerial views that show areas such as streets, neighborhoods, cities, parks, and forests. In some cases they can be even more detailed than full-scale landscape shots but they still focus on showing more than just one particular building or street corner.

What Kind Of Film Shot Type Is A SPFX: Special Effects

Practical effects are used to produce physical effects that are practically impossible to create unless using computer-generated imagery (CGI) or other digital techniques. 

They are used by motion picture studios, television production companies, and special effects artists throughout the world to create everything from the simplest of visual tricks to the most complex of tattoos or prosthetic make-up.

The phrase practical effects is often used interchangeably with special effects, but the two terms do not mean the same thing. 

Special effects are any modifications made after the filming has been completed, whereas practical effects involve modifying something between shooting and viewing, such as props and prosthetics.

The term special effect is also sometimes misused, particularly in films and television series, where CGI is substituted for simulated practical effects, such as creating a giant explosion instead of using a stage explosion or firing a gun instead of using a visual effect for one. 

It is also used to describe an optical illusion in which there is no visible alteration to a scene.

How To Make A Shot List

A shot list is a basic tool for any photographer. It’s a list of the shots you need to make, organized by location and subject.

Shot lists are a great way to stay organized and tackle your photography project in an efficient and effective manner. Here are some tips on how to create an effective shot list for your next shoot:

Make sure every shot on your list is necessary. It’s better to have fewer shots than more, especially if you’re on a tight shooting schedule.

If you’re not sure whether or not a shot is necessary, don’t worry about it until you see all the images together later, then decide what works and what doesn’t.

Keep your shot list in one place so you can update it easily when needed. If you’re working with a team of people — especially if they’re all photographers — you’ll want to make sure everyone has access to your shot list so they can help make it happen.