Learn how to shoot short film scene by blocking with screenwriter K Hari Kumar
Filmmaking Movies Short Films

How to Shoot a Scene for a Short Film

After talking about how to write a short film script, I am going to talk about how to shoot a short film scene and what all goes into the same. I have faced this problem long ago when I was shooting my first short film. But at that time, I didn’t have anyone to guide me, thus, I had to learn it on my own.

How to Shoot Short Film Scene

Shooting a scene for a short film or for any film involves the following five steps:

1) ad-hoc spacing and layout – figuring out where the on-screen characters will be on the set and the principal camera position
2) Lighting and camera setup – time for the cinematographer to light the set and position the camera for the primary shot
3) Rehearsal in the blocked frame– practice performance of the performers in the camera setup
4) Make final touches – adjusting lighting and angle as per requirement
5) Shoot short film scene– rolling the camera and capturing the scene

Learn how to shoot short film scene by blocking with screenwriter K Hari Kumar

To start with, Blocking is the most urgent, part of this 5-section arrangement. Blocking the scene is the part where you will be coordinating with your assistants/actors and set things in your frame. You must give a particular space within the frame where actors can perform. if you fail to reckon the situation here, and you could squander important shooting time attempting to escape the wreckage you made!

During the filming of my short film Ek Mithya, I had to literally measure each and every detail because almost every scene was shot in two different locations- one in Bangalore and the second one in Kerala. Before you step onto any film set, you have to first get your work done on Script and Character Analysis. I have already discussed scriptwriting in this article.

Gather your actors and read out the scene to them. This is important before you shoot short film scene . Let the actors perform a rehearsal. This will help you judge the movements and the extent of the frame that you need based on which you can set the camera and angle for the frame. After which you can decide the layout of the frame. By the time lighting and camera can be setup, your actors can rehearse the scene. After this, you should ask your actors to perform within the blocked frame. Here you will clearly define the extent of movements that the actors can go for. For example, you can’t allow the hand to move past a flowerpot on the left side of table because it has been blocked. Now, you look at the rehearsal and discuss with your cameraman and/or spot-editor about what all needs to be tweaked before going for the final take.

So, you see, it is a kind of a trial and error setup here where the director blocks the scene and then decides the way the scene is to be shot. As a shortfilmmaker you will have lot of options to shoot the scene. Don’t take too many rehearsals, but do take as many takes as needed. This is all you need to shoot short film scene. I would suggest you to watch videos on Blocking a scene on youtube.

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Hari Kumar K
Harikumar Krishnamoorthy (born 3 January 1989), better known as K. Hari Kumar, is an Indian novelist born in Cochin and brought up in the suburbs of Gurgaon. He is the author of bestselling books- When Strangers Meet (2013), That Frequent Visitor (2015) and A Game of Gods (2016). He has been featured as one of the most influential authors on social media. He is a screenwriter and content marketing strategist based out of Mumbai, India.

One thought on “How to Shoot a Scene for a Short Film

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