Why Movies Are Filmed Out Of Sequence - And What Determines The Shooting Order
Films get shot out of sequence. Why? Here are the Parameter Factors:
Location: Location, location, location… Will the entire crew be flying to Rio de Janeiro? If so, that’s a lot of travel to arrange and scheduling to be done, not to mention shipping gear and getting permits, etc. The availability of the location and permits required to shoot at the location are essential, and can be tricky. Locations can be tough to book, especially during peak seasons. It's important to ensure that all the necessary permits and legal requirements are met before scheduling a shoot. These things make Locations the top priority to consider. If the location isn’t a big problem (scene will be shot indoors or on a set - for example), then the producer looks at -
Cast: The availability of your lead actors will determine the shooting schedule. The lead actors' schedule should be given the utmost priority, as they are the face of the film. If they have other projects or commitments, it can impact the film's shooting schedule and budget.
Day vs Night: The time of day is also a crucial factor to consider when scheduling scenes. Daytime scenes usually require natural lighting, which can limit the time of day they can be shot. Nighttime scenes may require artificial lighting, which can take longer to set up and may require different equipment. The availability of lighting equipment and the need for permits to shoot at night may also affect the shooting schedule.
Interior vs Exterior: The type of shot, whether it is interior or exterior, can significantly affect the shooting schedule. Interior shots are usually easier to control, and there are fewer variables to consider, such as weather and lighting.
Exterior shots, on the other hand, require more planning and flexibility as they are dependent on weather and natural lighting. It’s much harder to control the environment if you’re shooting outside. Inside a studio, you control the lighting and sound. Outside, if the sun pops from behind the clouds, it changes the lighting scenario. Motorcycles in the distance drive production audio people nuts (same with airplanes). So, knock out the exterior scenes first, if possible.
Shooting in Sequence: It’s actually preferred to shoot in sequence (scene 1, then 2, then 3, etc.). So, if the factors 1-4 aren’t an issue, shooting in order takes precedence. Shooting in sequence can be beneficial in terms of the actors' performance and character development. It can help them stay in character and maintain the emotional continuity of the story. However, it may not always be necessary or practical for the overall storytelling of the film.
Child Actors: Working with child actors can present unique challenges for film producers, directors, and the entire production crew. Some of the challenges include:
Legal Requirements: Child labor laws require special consideration for minors on set. There are strict regulations around the number of hours they can work, the types of scenes they can be involved in, and the need for a guardian or chaperone. The production team must comply with these regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of the child actors.
Limited Schedules: Child actors often have limited schedules due to school and other commitments. This can make scheduling scenes challenging and require flexibility and creative solutions to work around their availability.
Limited Attention Span: Child actors may have a limited attention span, which can make it difficult to maintain focus on set. They may require more breaks, special attention, or shorter shooting days to accommodate their needs.
Emotional Support: Child actors may require additional emotional support on set. They may become overwhelmed or feel anxious, especially if they are working on a difficult or emotional scene. It is essential to have a supportive environment and provide resources such as an on-set therapist or counselor.
Acting Experience: Child actors may have limited acting experience, which can impact their ability to perform on set. The production team should provide guidance, support, and training to help them deliver their best performance.
Time Period: Shooting different time periods, such as filming scenes that take place in different decades or centuries, can be challenging for film producers and the production team. Here are some considerations when shooting different time periods:
Historical Accuracy: If the film involves historical periods, it is important to ensure that the sets, costumes, and props accurately represent the time period. Research and attention to detail are critical in creating an authentic and believable environment for the audience (verisimilitude).
Production Design: The production team will need to design and build sets that reflect the time period, which can be time-consuming and costly. They will also need to source appropriate costumes and props.
Location Availability: Filming in authentic locations can enhance the accuracy of the time period and add visual interest to the film. However, finding suitable locations can be difficult, particularly if they no longer exist or have changed significantly since the time period depicted in the film.
Technical Considerations: Shooting different time periods can also involve technical considerations such as camera techniques, lighting, and visual effects. For example, filming a scene set in the 1920s may require specific camera filters or lenses to achieve the desired look and feel.
Post-Production: In post-production, the visual effects team may need to enhance or modify certain elements of the film, such as adding or removing objects, to achieve the desired time period.
Time of Year: the time of year is a priority when scheduling a film shoot. Here are some factors considered:
Weather: The weather can significantly impact the film shoot, particularly for outdoor scenes. Rain, snow, extreme heat or cold can all disrupt shooting schedules and make it difficult to achieve the desired look and feel of the scene. It is essential to plan accordingly and schedule scenes for the most suitable weather conditions.
Daylight Hours: The number of daylight hours changes throughout the year, which can impact the schedule for outdoor shoots. For example, during winter months, daylight hours may be limited, making it difficult to capture all the necessary scenes. Production teams may need to adjust shooting schedules to ensure they capture the scenes during optimal daylight hours.
Seasonal Aesthetics: The time of year can also impact the look and feel of the film. For example, if the film is set during the fall, it may be important to capture the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, or if the film is set during the winter, it may be essential to capture the snow-covered landscapes. Production teams must plan the shoot to ensure they capture the seasonal aesthetics that are important to the story.
Holidays and Festivals: The time of year can also impact the availability of actors and crew members due to holidays and festivals. Production teams must consider these events when scheduling the shoot and ensure that they have the necessary personnel to complete the shoot.
Weather: Weather is another critical parameter to consider when scheduling scenes. If the scenes are outdoor, weather can play a significant role in the production schedule. Rain, snow, or extreme heat can delay or cancel a shoot. It is crucial to plan for these contingencies and have backup plans in case of weather-related issues.
Weather is a critical factor when it comes to filming because it can significantly impact the quality of the footage and the safety of the cast and crew. Here are some reasons why:
Aesthetics: Weather can impact the look and feel of the film. For example, rain, fog, or snow can add visual interest and create a particular mood or atmosphere in a scene. However, extreme weather conditions can also make it difficult to capture the intended aesthetics.
Lighting: Weather can also impact lighting conditions. Overcast or cloudy days can create softer lighting conditions, while bright sunlight can create harsh shadows and cause glare on camera lenses. Production teams must adjust the lighting setup to compensate for weather conditions.
Safety: Extreme weather conditions such as high winds, heavy rain, or thunderstorms can pose a safety risk to the cast and crew. The safety of the production team is of utmost importance, and it is critical to ensure that everyone is safe while shooting.
Logistics: Weather can impact the logistics of the shoot. For example, heavy rain or snow can make it difficult to transport equipment and personnel, causing delays or even cancellations. Production teams must plan for such eventualities and have contingency plans in place.
Continuity: Weather can impact continuity between shots. For example, if a scene is shot on a sunny day, and then the next shot is on a cloudy day, the visual continuity can be disrupted. Production teams must plan and schedule scenes accordingly to maintain continuity.
Special Effects / Stunts: Scenes with stunts and special effects are challenging to film, and the production team must take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the cast and crew while achieving the desired visual effects. Here are some factors to consider when scheduling special effects or stunt scenes:
Safety: Safety should always be the top priority when filming stunt scenes or using special effects. The production team should work with experienced stunt coordinators and special effects experts to ensure that all safety protocols are followed.
Timing: Special effects and stunt scenes may require additional time to set up and execute. Production teams must plan accordingly and allocate sufficient time in the shooting schedule to allow for these scenes.
Continuity: Special effects and stunt scenes can also impact continuity between shots. For example, if an actor's hair is styled a particular way in one shot and then filmed with special effects or performing a stunt in the next shot, their hairstyle must be consistent. Production teams must plan and schedule scenes accordingly to maintain continuity.
Location: Special effects and stunt scenes may require specific locations or set designs to achieve the desired effect. Production teams must ensure that the necessary locations or sets are available and plan the shooting schedule accordingly.
Weather: Special effects and stunt scenes may also be impacted by weather conditions. For example, rain or high winds can make it difficult to film a particular stunt or special effect. Production teams must plan for such eventualities and have contingency plans in place.
Second Camera Unit: Scenes filmed by the 2nd Unit can be challenging to film due to continuity, communication, logistics, technical expertise, and time constraints. The 2nd Unit must have a clear understanding of the director's vision, be able to communicate effectively with the production team, and possess the technical expertise needed to capture high-quality footage.
By planning and coordinating effectively, the 2nd Unit can capture footage that seamlessly integrates with the principal footage, enhancing the overall quality of the film.
Special Equipment: Scenes involving special gear or equipment require extra planning and precautions to ensure that they can be filmed safely and effectively. Production teams must plan ahead to ensure that the necessary equipment is available and that the cast and crew are properly trained to use it. Additionally, safety, time constraints, and backup plans are all factors that need to be considered when scheduling scenes with special gear or equipment.
There are many types of special gear and equipment that can pose unique challenges for film productions. Here are a few examples:
Drones: Drones are commonly used in film-making to capture aerial footage, but they require specialized expertise and pose safety risks if not handled properly. Production teams must ensure that they have experienced drone operators on set and that they follow all safety protocols.
Underwater camera equipment: Filming underwater requires specialized camera equipment, including waterproof housings and lighting. Production teams must plan ahead to ensure that they have the necessary equipment and expertise to operate it safely and effectively.
Steadicams: Steadicams are used to capture smooth, stable footage while the camera is in motion. They require specialized expertise to operate and can be physically demanding for the operator.
Special effects equipment: Special effects equipment, such as pyrotechnics or animatronics, can be expensive and pose safety risks if not handled properly. Production teams must ensure that they have the necessary safety protocols in place and that the equipment is operated by experienced professionals.
Motion control rigs: Motion control rigs are used to create precise camera movements, but they require specialized expertise to operate and can be time-consuming to set up.
As you can see, a lot of thought and consideration goes into which scenes get filmed first and in which order sequences are produced first.
The Producer’s job isn’t easy. But, in conjunction with the 1st AD, they create a schedule that considers these Parameter Factors and sticks closely to the budget requirements.
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