Risk Assessing Your Shoot

All pre-production must include a risk assessment, this would normally be the task of the producer. You are going work on this together.

Reflect on the briefing in the LT on Thursday @ 10.30 (in retrospect if you like):

Consider all the possible risks of working in an abandoned bunker, underground, with concrete edges (at head height), with little and big steps, some of which are wet! It’s also going to be dark! You will be filming panic and frantic action, what is that action…? Running…


You must really think about this and foresee any possible risks and how your are going to make sure that risk doesn’t turn into injury, accident or spoiling other peoples shoots!

  1. Please read and familiarise yourself with this document.
  2. Work through this risk assessment with your partner…
  3. …print it…
  4. …sign it…
  5. …give the signed copy to your teacher.

You could upload the document in your reflective journal under directing and / or cinematography.

Your Creative Intention!

Remember it is essential that you test your success so far against your creative intentions. See this previous post if you have ‘forgotten’ what your creative intentions are.

So far we have done the following tasks within three production roles:

  • You developed an understanding of German Expressionism and it’s impact on the horror genre. Especially in relation to the monster.
  • We developed an idea from a given circumstance, ‘What if.’ As well as using other stimulus materials, like moodboards and music / sound.
  • We used the screenplay format to write the opening sequence of a horror film.
  • You’ve worked with a fellow screenwriter to collaborate on one script and have redrafted it (you can only make this claim if you actuality did redraft the script as a partnership and made significant amendments)


  • Worked with the cinematographer on story-boarding the sequence this should have taken into consideration framing and narrative importance.
  • You have worked with your actors to explain, explore and develop the characters.
  • You have worked with the cinematographer on blocking.
  • You (will) have overseen the cinematography and worked with your actors to film the sequence.
  • You have worked with the director to develop ideas on lighting, framing and composition in the storyboard.
  • You created a shot list of 30-50 shots, which prioritise the shoot and ensured you are filming to edit.
  • You have setup lighting and camera for each take in collaboration with actors & the director.
The Reflective Journal

All of this work is excellent evidence for your reflective journal.

Please unsure that you keep your journal up to date with all your pre-production documents and reflections.

Also ensure that you do REFLECT! Which means:

  • ‘What have I learnt?’
  • ‘How did I learn it?’
  • ‘What did I learn from my successes and failures?’

Also please remember to reflect on the shoot and if possible take photo evidence of you in action during the shoot (you could give this role to a (minor) role).


Please see updated blog league for specific posts and evidence to be uploaded.

Planning The Shoot

Here is the list of planning documents that you will use over the next few days in order to prepare for your shoot next week.

Extended Step Outline – use this to fine tune your scene and establish the important narrative information

Storyboard – Use this document to visualise each shot. How are you going to frame each shot and how do you see your edit developing (match on action, eye line match, shot reverse shot, 180 degree rule, reaction shots, close ups on key objects…) Here is a document which explains the function and design of a storyboard.

An alternative to the very formal storyboard, which can be inflexible. Is to create a postit note storyboard. Each postit note is a shot, which contains your shoot planning ideas. You should mount these in order on a large (A2) piece of paper. This method allows you to make changes to your storyboard. Here is an example for a music video.

Shot List – Use this to plan out your filming. Use it later to organise your shoot so that you film your film in a practical order.

Production Meeting Agenda – Use this document as a discussion and organisational document. Who is going to bring which props and costumes. Also, who will film what and when.

Please complete this document with requests for mise-en-scene that you are not able to provide as a group. Adding requests to this does not guarantee that you will get the item of costume or prop, so you must also enter a discussion with Mr Gregson or Miss Hales about whether it can be found.

The Brief

This is the brief for your first full film sequence.

‘The opening sequence (approx 2-3 minutes) of a new horror movie.’

Your creative intentions should be clearly identified at the outset and your reflections throughout and once complete will be based on them. You must also reflect on your developing understanding of your production roles.

You must always keep a record of the production process and upload evidence of your work throughout (at least once a week) to your reflective journal

The creative intentions may be drawn from this list and you should identify 3-5. You may choose others or modify these as you wish.

  • Create a sense of…mystery, suspense, horror, intrigue…around a given place.
  • Introduce a monstrous character or presence.
  • Introduce a…tense, frightened, oblivious… victim.
  • Build the sequence to a shocking/scary crescendo.
  • Use specific cinematography techniques from German Expressionist film making.
  • Use montage editing to develop a sense of place and/or compress time.
  • Use continuity editing to make sense of a characters (inter)actions.
  • Design costume and props and dress the set to create a sense of….abandonment, corruption, decay, threat…

Your creative intentions may depend upon you production roles. You will be working in pairs and will be required to adopt at least one production role from each of the three main stages of production:

Pre-production (planning):
  • Screenwriter &/or storyboard artist
  • Production designer
  • Producer (both)
Production (filming):
  • Cinematographer.
  • Director.
  • Sound recording.
  • Producer (both)
Post production (editing):
  • Visual editing.
  • Foley sound designer
  • Sound editing
  • Music composer
  • Producer (both)

Define each of these role in terms of the tasks they will be required to undertake during that particular stage of production.

Update the definitions in your reflective journal under the main headings:

  • Editor
  • Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Sound Designer
  • Screenwriter

Here is our brainstorm of the tasks each production role entails.

Directing 101

The director is best though of as the conductor of the film orchestra.

He or she will direct all the heads of department in order to realise her or his vision, which is inspired by the screenplay.

The director must develop creative collaborations with key personnel. The…

  • Production Designer (Costume, Props, Set, Hair & Make-Up)
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Sound effects and Foley
  • Music composers
  • Actors

In this (Stolen) task the director will be responsible for:

  • Annotating the Screenplay
  • Agreeing Shot list & Storyboard
  • Collaborating on character design
Production (Filming)
  • Discussing the shot set up with the cinematographer
  • Blocking the action
  • Giving actors direction on body language and delivery of their lines.
    • Remember to think of their motivation (wants and needs)
      • Where these are in conflict we have drama!
Post Production
  • Agreeing a sound spotting list with sound designer, feeding back on drafts & signing off final draft.
  • Agreeing an instrumentation and tone with music designer (Temp Score), feeding back a& signing off final score.
  • Collaborating with editor on final cut and agreeing completion.
Independent Study P1

Watch this video from 02.45 to the end….so basically all of it!

How does blocking change a scene? If you were director how would you block the movement of the actors / camera?

Here is a Masterclass in Blocking

Giving notes to actors

Montage Filming and Editing

 Uses of a montage in film & TV

  1. To create a sense of place and/or events without giving any narrative information away. This is often done in title sequences to capture the mood of the film without giving away spoilers.

Here is short film, which is an extended montage of a place.

2. To compress time to show a rapid development of a character or event, which is important in the narrative development

Here are examples from the Rocky franchise:


Create a montage which compresses time and communicates a sense of atmosphere. For example:

  • The tedious lesson
  • A frantic school day
  • Writing an difficult essay
  • Another long event (+1 hour) that can be filmed in school
The Rules
  • The montage should last 30-40 seconds.
  • It should contain at least 12 different (beautifully composed shots) some of which may be repeated in the edit.
  • The montage should communicate a clear meaning (what’s going on) and clear atmosphere (tone or feel).
  • There should be a clear sense of time passing and have a clear beginning and end, which fades out to black (to make it seem like more time has passed).
Creative Partnership

This week you are going to be working in pairs and will have specific roles in production and post production:

  • cutting-room-editing-film_medStoryboard Artist
  • Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Sound Designer / Mixer

To complete this tasks effectively you’re going to have to think carefully about how the edit is going to look in the end and ensure that you film all the shots you need. This means planning your sequence. Do do this we are going to use a screenwriting tool called…

The Storyboard

Here is a storyboard template that is similar layout to the professional one above.

Here is a document which explains how to design a storyboard.

You storyboard should be scanned / photographed and uploaded to your Reflective Journal under the screenwriting section.

You should also reflect on it’s usefulness as a pre-production planning / visualisation tool.

Production & Responsibilities

You will be acting for another pair of students and so will spend one lesson acting and the other filming and directing.

When you are the cinematographer you should ensure that each shot is well composed. Also you should ensure the following:

  • All shots are well lit
  • All shots are in focus
  • You get a variety of shot types.

If you are the director, you should be:

  • Working with the cinematographer to block the scenes.
  • Be clear with the emotion that you want you actors to be expressing.
  • Make sure that you work through the storyboard efficiently and in time.
  • Be an encouraging and positive presence on the shoot.

Post Production

If you are editor, you will be responsible for:

  • Compiling the basic montage.
  • Applying filters and transitions to the edit which contribute to the overall tone
  • Coordinating with the sound designer to apply their sound to the sequence

If you are the sound designer you are responsible for:

  • Completing a spotting session with the editor and making a list of sound effects that you want.
  • Sourcing effects that adds meaning / impact to the scene
  • Inserting your sounds into the edit

Reflective Journal

  • What have you learnt about filming and editing for montage
  • What went well
  • Even better if

Basic Composition

Lesson 2

Framing (distance)

Your mission for today’s lesson is to direct and shoot the following images. For this you will have to alternate taking the images and being the subject for your partner. You will have to take on the role of director and of cinematographer to ensure you get the shots you need.

Once you have completed your mission you should return to the classroom where you will upload your treasure to your masters computer (teachers’ machine D Drive). You then need to collate the data.

This message will self destruct in…

Shot No Shot Size Camera Movement Descriptions
1 MS Static Back to camera, character bored
2 Wide angle Static The front of the SFC or Main School Entrance
3 MCU (Low Angle) Static Traffic sign or door
4 ELS Static Character sits on a step (relaxed)
5 LS (Canted Angle) to MCU Static Character walks towards camera (confident)
6 ECU Static Eyes look nervously off to one side
7 CU Static In profile character looks thoughtful
8 MLS (High Angle) Static Character stand waits outside door (nervous)
9 Over the shoulder to LS Static See the shoulder and head – object in background
Independent Study

Here is a follow up video for you to watch on another 5 best shots of all time: