3 Reasons Why You
Should Use A Shot Log

Have you ever gone out with your camcorder and shot some beautiful scenes and come back with a bag full of tapes - and you're not sure which scene belongs to which tape?

Well, you're not alone. This kind of thing happens to those videographers who do not use what I call a shot log.

A shot log is a form where you capture important details of a scene. You record its location, who was in it, whether it was a favorite of yours, the lighting conditions, and so forth. Think of it as a record of everything your camcorder sees. This technique is used by most professional videographers who need to know exactly when, where and who was in a shot.

3 reasons to use a shot log

Learn to use a shot log for your footage

Connecting VCR to PC is a simple process as you’ll see. Once you know how to connect VCR to PC you’ll probably use this technique over and over again.

1. Understand Your Footage

The first reason why you should use a shot log is to help you understand your footage. I mean, you'd be surprised. I've seen many digital video enthusiasts who shoot many tapes worth of scenes but have no idea what happened in each scene during post-production. Remember, each tape is about more than an hour's worth of footage - you can't possibly remember all the details.

So this is a reason why you should use a shot log. Understanding your footage allows you to make better editing choices and also to shoot better in future. You'll know what scenes work and what scenes don't.

2. Make Your Editing Easier

Imagine having a full box of DV tapes with video in them. How do you know which tape contains which scene? There's no way to know except to trawl through all the tapes and review them. Since you're going to have to do this, why not do it all upfront? It's a bit more work, but if you record a shot log every time you open a scene, you are guaranteed that you will not forget what is contained within your footage.

This naturally means you can speed up the video editing process. Some videographers I know even record down the Time In and Time Out of a particular scene into a shot log. This enables you to easily detect a particular scene using time indicators if you so wish.

3. Outsource Your Tasks

If you want to outsource the task of video editing to someone else, your shot log will be invaluable to them as an input for scenes you like and scenes you'd like to throw away.

All the person needs to do is to review your shot logs, go into the video editing software and pinpoint using the video timeline which scenes should stay and which should go. This removes all the guesswork from the equation and really speeds up the video editing process.

You now know some good reasons why you should use a shot log. If you're looking for a shot log template, here is a good one. The next time you're filming a movie, be sure you put in a shot log. If you can't do it on your own, enlist someone's help. You'll be surprised at the usefulness of this simple tool - drop me a note to tell me your story. Thank you.

Learn how to shoot better digital video here.

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