Using the script to pre visualize your blocking: Semi Pro

INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:  11:30 Minutes of Instructional Video, lighting, camera schematics and a glossary of terms for better learningSUPPLIED W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES

IN THIS LESSON YOU WILL LEARN:  This lesson is Part 1 of a 6 Part series that is Blocking & Lighting from A to Z.  It takes you through my thought process on how to block a scene with the script, creating Key frames that then become the foundation for your blocking with the actors on the DAY.  Every nuance of being on set and over my shoulder as shot lists are created, blocking is finessed, lighting is perfected is revealed.

This lesson is a master class in understanding what Key Frames are and how you visualize these when reading the script.  They’re your brick and mortar for your blocking foundation.  Knowing your key frames, educates you on where the blocking has to go to achieve these.  I will take a scene and break it down with director conversations, my pre-production process, what I look for in this script to enable the key frames as well as the etiquette of how it is all done with all departments.

We are directing all comments and questions to our New Forum, please find the related course in the forum’s categories to submit.

Bill Stone 25 days ago

– one detail that is outside the specifics of this lesson: @ 01:02, during the camera move where the ambient light falling on Ferrell’s face is very low, I am wondering what you use for the lovely little dot eye light. If you can’t remember, I’m really trying to understand if you have a technique for creating a pin-prick catchlight without pumping up fill on the character – where there is no strong key and fill is very gentle. Thanks.

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    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    23 days ago

      @Bill Stone HI Bill, I use my batten lights and aim them up off the set up into the ceiling and dim them down. Another one is a single 4' flo that emulates the light into the room, maybe a hot practical in the background, in this case it was the China Hat lights that were suspended in the locker room.

Bill Stone 25 days ago

This is an incredibly valuable lesson – getting the “keyframes” and working from there – and it’s shifted the way I look at a scene and make a shot list. It energizes the whole process. (Getting why some have ASC behind their names and others don’t.) Truly a game-changer, thank you.

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    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    23 days ago

      @Bill Stone Hi Bill, H AHA. Yes, it is that many do not want to share these secrets that we learn. I feel that it is very important to educate our future. So glad this energizes the passion. You need to have the passion to succeed. Keep it up

Jabbar 8 days ago

Do you shoot your keyframes FIRST and build the other shots around it or do you shoot your shot list, wide shots first, and getting tighter and tighter with each successive shot (changing camera position when you need to)?

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    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    23 days ago

      @Jabbar Hi Jabbar, No, I shoot the wide first to get the actors and our tech team warmed up, then the mediums and then the close ups. The Key Frames are sprinkled within that efficiency

ctdonoho 10 days ago

When working on films that rely on a heavily improvised script where the actors have a lot of freedom to experiment with different styles of delivery, how does the film keep itself from running into continuity issues in post? Is it safer to do longer takes with as much coverage as much as possible(in the event that part of a take is good, but needs to be spliced with an earlier take that was delivered differently)?

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    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    23 days ago

      @ctdonoho Hi Ctdonoho, we have our script supervisor to monitor the continuity. We were shooting film on this and the improv was awesome, but managed so that I could deliver a very specific look instead of flat lighting that usually accompanies this style. I worked with our director Kent Alterman to find a balance of improv but that looks off the HOOK!!!