Action! The importance of communication in filmmaking

3 minutes



Film productions are incredibly complex operations. This is true whether you’re filming a commercial, a TV show or a movie. You’re not just working with the stars or the models. You’re also directing dozens or hundreds of extras, lighting crews, production crew and support personnel.

All of these people may be splitting their time between other projects. That’s why communication on-set is essential. But how do you maintain communication in such a large and dynamic group?

Create Call Sheets

Call sheets are used to identify who will be on set each day. This includes actors and actresses, extras, crew, and support staff. It will outline the shooting schedule. When will you be ready to start? How long does it take to shoot? When do you expect to finish? It should include instructions such as “bring your wardrobe” or “bring these set items”. For example, you might ask extras to bring their marching band uniforms and instruments that day. You’ll state where the shoot will be, whether it is lot B or a remote location. Call sheets should be created for each day of shooting so that you can plan the necessary logistics.

Call sheets allow you to minimize delays in shooting and keep production costs to a minimum if they’re used right.

Use Shot Lists  

Shot lists map out a scene. What will each person do? What shots will you take? The shot list gives the camera crew and director a sense of the shot or scene. You know that you’re going to shoot these two people kissing from this angle or the product demo from a wide-angle shot. The shot list allows you to organize the locations of crew members before you start shooting and ensure that there is nothing in the way. You might need to arrange equipment like ladders for high angle shots or cameras sliding on a track to keep up with a chase scene. You can use a template for your shot list, whether you’re creating product videos for your channel or shooting a movie.

Effective use of shot lists minimizes the odds you’ll need to repeatedly shoot scenes.

Create Storyboards

Storyboards are useful though some think they aren’t essential. Why should you use them? They’ll accelerate your workflow. For example, they improve the odds actors will understand what you want out of the scene. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the storyboard shows them the entire scene with subtext. Furthermore, you can use them to create call shot lists and call lists.

You can also use the storyboard to make sure the story you’re about to film is the one the scriptwriter imagines. What scenes would they like to change due to tone? What scenes can you cut to save time and money without hurting the story?

Carry Walkie Talkies

Walkie talkies are invaluable communication tools. Quickly learn of technical and performance issues so you can address them as fast as possible. Use walkie talkies to keep key people in communication in real time instead of relying on text messages. You don’t have to worry about having their phone number or whether their phone is on silent.

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