Filmmaking / Directing : Breaking the norm on shooting hours by Francisco Casals

Francisco Casals

Breaking the norm on shooting hours

YES, I already know that typical film or TV shooting calls for 12 or more hours a day (So please, avoid redundancy) yet I was wondering if there's any director or production company OUTSIDE THE NORM and keep their filming schedule between 8-10 hours?
I come from directing still photography but other than set up time (I typically do a LOT of planning and rehearsing in pre-production), our team rarely exceed 8 hours. I'd like to know tips to know things can be done to keep shooting hours within a decent time frame.

Andrew Sobkovich

Absolutely. Lots of companies try to keep the days shorter because they know they get better work in the can on shorter days.
Famously, Michael Landon was known for directing in 8 hour days on "Little House on the Prairie". It can be done and it is usually better all round. For everyone. Including the production.

Dan MaxXx

I watched Clint Eastwood direct "Sully." The guy directs fast! I talked to a crew member and he said they start packing the Trucks after lunch. So I am assuming a 6-8hrs per day.
Law N Order, here in NyC, they shoot fast and move locations in same day. They shoot with two cameras, master shot and close ups at same time.
I have a stills photography background and it's not the same work flow. Moving camera and sound recording. More labor. More human error.
It all comes down to experience. Starts at the top and flows down.

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth

When I worked for one of the major studios we did an analysis/comparison of 12 hr days v. 8 hr days. Shooting 8 hours (and budget for 10 hours) will extend your schedule and save you money.

Landis Stokes

I've worked some shows that have done 8-10hr days.
Pad your daily schedule and get only what you need. Keep your set workflow simple. Make sure your camera, lighting, and grip team are all on the same page for setups. It will take two or three days for everyone to get the rhythm.
To second Lindbergh's comment, it may extend your shoot schedule. *But the crew will love you for it and you'll get better work from everyone.
Multiple cameras help but there's "a dance" to cross-shooting and an adjusted style of lighting.

Francisco Casals

Dan MaxXx You're in NYC too, cool! When I used to live in NoMad and saw Law N Order trailers on my way back home yet I never thought of making questions to the crew. I also believe that if you do a lot of planning and rehearsing shooting "should go faster" as there's no need to film the same scene so many times. Also, filming in a sound stage cuts the filming time too. I think we can all agree that after the 9th or 10th hour crew and cast are so depleted that mistakes start to happen leading to reshoots anyway. I think the problem is that many production companies, by wanting to cut corners, don't allow for enough pre-production work.

Francisco Casals

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth I agree, I think typically the problem with production is allocating too much money (overpaying) on certain items or services yet skimming on pre-production - Not enough time for a lot for rehearsals and shooting planning. Yes, I know there's a lot of overhead on purpose to producers can get as much money as possible even before the film is released, in case the movie do not generate the expected profit. Better budget management might be a solution.

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