Capture every scene correctly with a shot list made in Milanote

Film shot list guide example

Follow this easy step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of creating a film shot list in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

Film shot list guide example

How to create a shot list in 7 easy steps

Coordinating a shoot can be stressful and costly, especially if that critical shot is missed on the day. But a clearly defined shot list will make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

A shot list is a simple checklist of each shot (or scene) you need to capture on the day of a shoot. It usually contains a list of specific shots, some visual references and extra details like camera angles or lighting set-up so you don't forget a thing. They serve as a clear and concise reference for the entire production team from the director, the producer and set designer.

In this guide, you'll learn the modern approach to creating a visual shot list using Milanote and set yourself up for a stress-free day of filming.

1. List the scenes

Start by listing the main scenes you'll be filming. Adding reference images or sketches will make your shot list easier to scan—even if they're just rough photos you've taken on your phone. It will also help your crew visualize the shots you plan to capture.

Film shot list guide step01
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your shot list.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Upload images to your board.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio and much more.

2. List the individual shots you need

This is the heart of the shot list. It's where you list each individual shot you require. Some details to include are: camera angle, location, position of the camera, and shot size (how big or small the subject is in the frame). Aside from the scene details, creating shot lists brings other benefits, including:

  • Time management: By listing shots in a logical sequence, you can optimize the shooting schedule and minimize changes or rearrangements on set.
  • Resource allocation: You can allocate specific equipment, props, locations, and personnel for each shot, avoiding unnecessary confusion or last-minute adjustments.
  • Variety and coverage: The shot list ensures you capture a variety of shots, including wide shots for context, medium shots for character interactions, close-ups for emotions, and any specialized shots required for the project.
  • Narrative cohesion: A well-organized shot list ensures that shots flow smoothly, maintaining narrative cohesion and preventing continuity errors.
  • Editing & cost efficiency: A comprehensive shot list provides editors with a clear understanding of available footage, making the editing process more efficient and reducing the need for additional pickups or reshoots.
  • Collaboration: A shot list fosters collaboration among various departments, including the director, cinematographer, art department, and more, as everyone understands the production's visual requirements.
Film shot list guide step02
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new to-do list for each of the specific shots.

    Drag a to-do list onto your board

    Start typing then press "Enter" to create a new item. Add a title to your to-do list using the left hand toolbar.

Pro tip:

Prioritize your shot list based on the shots that are most crucial to telling the story and start with them, as they're essential for narrative clarity or emotional impact.

3. Add extra details

Add any specific details about how you'll film on the day. These might be reminders about the tone, mood, composition or how the camera should move through the scene. Refer back to your script or storyboard to ensure you've covered everything. There's nothing worse than finishing a shoot and realizing you've missed a critical shot.

Film shot list guide step03
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Use note cards to add extra details.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

4. Add a simple gear list

What equipment will you need to shoot these scenes? Imagine being half way through filming when you realize the spare battery pack is still in the studio. Adding a simple gear list will ensure you have everything you need on the day. It's a lifesaver! Cross-check it with your shot list so you know you're fully prepared.

Film shot list guide step04
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Use a note to list your equipment

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

5. Organize & refine

Once you've listed all the shots you need to take, it's time to add some structure. Group related shots and present them in the order you plan to shoot them. That way you can work from left to right on the day of the shoot.

Film shot list guide step05
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a column for each part of your shoot.

    Drag a column onto your board

    Name it, then drag any relevant notes or images into your column

6. Share it with your team

While a shot list is usually the responsibility of one person, it's important that everyone on the production team sees it so they understand what's needed of them on the day.

  • Director: Guides their creative vision and helps communicate ideas.
  • Cinematographer: Plans camera angles and lighting setups.
  • Camera Crew: Understands camera shots and setups.
  • Art Department: Prepares sets based on visible shots.
  • Production Manager: Creates a shooting schedule and manages resources.
  • Editor: Guides post-production and shot selection.
  • Sound Department: Plans for needed audio elements.
  • Costume/Makeup: Ensures character consistency.
  • Actors: Helps them understand the sequence of shots.

Shot lists keep the team on the same page and support effective collaboration. Be sure to scratch out any shots that aren't required and add any new ones that you may have missed.

Film shot list guide step06
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Invite a team member or client to provide feedback.

    Invite editors to your board

    Open the "Editors" menu from the title bar of your board. Add email addresses of the people you'd like to collaborate with—they'll receive an invitation via email.

  2. Start a comment thread.

    Start a comment thread

    Drag out a comment from the toolbar on the left and place it on your board. Other editors can reply to your comment.

  3. Mention teammates to get their attention.

    Mention teammates to get their attention

    Type '@' in any text field to mention someone who has access to your board. They'll receive a notification and be able to respond to your comment.

7. Reference it on the day

Traditionally, you'd print out your shot list to refer to on the day, but digital shot lists can be accessed on phones or laptops. This way, you can check off each shot or adjust it as you need.

Film shot list guide step07
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Learn more about the Milanote mobile apps

And you're done!

Now that your shot list is complete, you have everything you need for a successful shoot—a clear plan and the headspace to do your best creative work. Use the template below to create a new shot list in minutes or check out our full guide on how to plan a film.

Start your shot list

Get started for free with Milanote's easy to use shot list template.