Action Sequence Cinematography: Logistics: Pt 4

INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:  14:15 minutes of Instructional Video, top down Schematics and camera breakdowns    –Supplied w/English Subtitles

IN THIS LESSON YOU WILL LEARN:  This lesson is Part 4 of a 4 part series in understanding what it takes to shoot an action sequence.  From pre production discussions, preparing floor plans and schematics to communicate your vision.  One of our hardest jobs as an artist is to communicate what is in our heads.  This lesson gives you the step by step process to do this, as well as using specific types of camera motion to educate and immerse your audience.

  • Creating a proper schedule will make or break you:
    • Break down the script and understand what you’re going to be up against. It’s extremely important for you–as the director, director of photography, filmmakers–to understand the tasks ahead.
    • Gather the key crew members to discuss the day, what needs are, and how to execute. Communication is key when doing any type of action sequence or complicated setups.
    • Your Assistant Director/Director Team are going to be key to organizing and scheduling out the day. Run the process through your head and make sure that it works out.
      • You’ll want to make sure your AD understands the importance of what you need in terms of lighting and what it’s going to take for your crew to get the job done.
    • Map out what you’re planning to do so you have a visual reference of it. It’s good to see it from a perspective outside of your mind.
    • Utilize the sun to your advantage and make it work for you. Understand the sun’s path and how it will affect your shot throughout the day.
  • Always take into consideration your talent and minors on set:
    • You need to make sure your talent is in peak performance when delivering for the camera. When trying to cover any stretch of land, ensure that there is time to rest and reset before the next take. The last thing you want is an exhausted cast.
      • This is where you’ll need to prep them in advance before the day. Preparing your cast and crew is pivotal in having the right mindset for the day.
    • Using minors on set creates very unique restrictions so make sure you work within them. Consult the AD team for the best way to fit them into the tight schedule… Whether that means shifting the schedule around or using unique perspectives.
  • Managing your crew and cutting excess:
    • Make sure you have the proper crew to get the job done. If it’s an easy lighting day, cut the electrics and add grips to help move equipment and cameras.
    • Consider everything that your crew will need and what it takes to get the job done.
    • Using multiple cameras on technical shots can free up takes, time, and money.
    • Pre-rigging the night before can help slow down the process and focus on the work over two days. This frees up hands on the day of the shoot.


<<<Manuel>>> Buuum!! Intense beautiful day!!
<<<Michael>>>I really appreciate this Break down! Coordinating crew and talent on set has been a tricky balance historically for me. I like that you are also sharing a practical approach to cutting expenses to save on the production cost as well.
<<<David>>>Good video. Definitely having multiple camera bodies for different set-ups is a must.
<<<Mats>>>Amazing work as always. Teaches me a lot for my upcoming summer shoot, where we need to move fast!
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David Verwey 3 days ago

Hi Shane, for the close up of the boy in the car did you turn the car around to travel in the opposite direction to get him to be backlit? in the wider shot you can see its like around 10-11am but the close-up he is backlit?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    2 days ago

      @David Verwey Hi David, No we waited for the sun to be lower in the sky for the kids coverage. We had to get him off the clock because he is a minor, so we only had 8 hours with him.

MikeKozlenko 7 days ago

Hey Shane, love hearing you dive into the logistics of this shoot day. While you didn’t light anything, what was your approach for grip? Were you flying overheads and bounces for the shots where the talent was more stationary?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    2 days ago

      @MikeKozlenko HI Mike, No grip support other than a 4 x 4 bounce. We knew what we were up against on this day and that I had 12 hours to shoot this massive action sequence. They obviously were not stationary at all, if you watch the sequence everyone is moving, so we just planned it all around the path of the sun and shot out Zone's. If you look at all the lessons in this course you can see the different areas that we were in and how we moved