How does a film shot work

Action Movies, Movie Set, Stunts -

How does a film shot work

How does a film shot work

We can't all work at the same time so you will have to learn the process but it is basically something like this.

  1. Art Dresses the set, the Gaff and lighting team light the set.

  2. The camera department set up the shot and everyone has a look.

  3. Lighting and art move things around and they keep referring back to the DOP and the Director.

  4. Sound woks out where they can stand or how they will mic the performers.

  5. The actors come in and they run through the lines and the action and everyone has a few dry runs at the shot.

  6. 1st ad will call for last checks and make up will come in and touch up the on screen performers.

  7. Everyone will double check their roles and get ready for the action.

  8. The 1st will call out to roll up or something similar.

  9. The camera will start recording and a call out speed or rolling.

  10. The sound will start recording and call out rolling or speed. (speed is a reference back to the early days where film and sound would have to roll up to the right speed as it was a physical tape or film. These days as soon as you record you are up to speed.

  11. Now everyone is quiet and downs tools, don't keep working quietly, just wait.

  12. The actors do their thing along wt everyone else.

  13. Director or 1st ad call cut (please don't go aaaaaannnnnnnddddd cut. Just say cut. What the and does is it distracts the actors and it means that if you want to use more of that shot you now have to remove the aaaannnnddddd sound in post, just annoying. Just wait longer and then call cut, easy)

  14. If it's the first take and you think you nailed it, do two more, you just never know what you will get or what you may have not noticed but you will see in post.

  15. You are taking shots for your scene but have as many takes as you need, but remember that the cast will fluctuate how well they perform and most good actors will nail it in three takes, if it takes more then should have spent more time rehearsing.

  16. If everyone is happy and doesn't want to go again for performance or technical reasons, then move on.

  17. Stick to the 1st ad schedule as much as possible, it will change but if you get behind then push harder to speed up the next few shots to get back on track.

  18. Then when you are done in that location, everyone packs down and moves on.

  19. Then art department come back and take everything away again and return the location or set back to its original state.

Shooting Action and Stunts

When you are shooting action then the stunts are rehearsed without camera or depending on space after everything is set so they can do a camera check.

The stunt coordinator will come over and check you are good to go. You let them know you are.

When the cameras roll and up to speed the coordinator will call ready for stunts or something similar and the performer will acknowledge that they are ready.

Action is called and the stunt or action is performed.

After words the coordinator will go to the performer and check they are OK with no injuries

If all good then we roll again and make any changes. If someone got hurt then administer first aid and call emergency or go to emergency if more serious.

Then production has to do paperwork and may be stopped depending on how serious it is, or we just keep filming.

Its about dealing with any situation and then continuing on.

Weapons on Set

If you have an armourer and are using guns or other weapons. Then don't use real. No one should be under threat. Rubber and plastic are OK if you light creatively. Also you should look into the modification of toy guns and knives in your area. If you remove the red cap off a toy gun, you may be committing a firearm offence and can go to jail and pay a hefty fine.

The armourer will stand just off shot with the gun, then come in for last checks ad show the performers the gun is empty or go over blank firing procedure. They put the gun in the performs hand but keep their hand over ht hammer so it cant fire.

They leave shot and action is called.

The performance happens and if everyone is OK, when cut is called they step in and remove the gun.

Rinse and Repeat

That is pretty much film making You just repeat that over and over until you have all the shots that you need and there is nothing left to film.

Then it's time to treat the team with a wrap party.

Wrap just means that you have done the Martini shot (final shot or Widow Shot – it is named Martini because the next shot will come out of a glass at the wrap party) and apart from some pick ups you may add later, you are done filming the movie.

The wrap party

The wrap party is a way to unwind and have a few laughs with some new friends and maybe bury that hatchet on any outburst that may have happened on set, its a way to cleanse yourself from the film and its a way to have a few drinks and eat some nice food.

A word of warning, don’t be overly amorous in public with your cast and crew, get overly drunk or make a fool of yourself, you are a professional and this is still work.

People talk about wrap party antics and your reputation needs to be protected.


That's it for now, If you want to read more check out our other blogs or one of our books.

See You On Set - Action Movie Star TV


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