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Cinematographer Notebook (2 replies and 4 comments)

3 years ago
TCLS 3 years ago

Dear Rodger A Deakins,

I wasn't sure where to place this but I think this good enough. I wanted to know what kind Notes do you keep for when you work on a film? I shot a short two years back and did my own notes in pre production but had no guide lines to go off for prepping a film. This is the format I used in my binder full of cinematographer notes.

Cinematographer Notes:

  1. Copy of Script
  2. Script Notes
  3. Directors shot list
  4. Storyboards
  5. color settings in camera
  6. Reference photos
  7. lighting plots
  8. Lighting & Camera Crew list
  9. Lighting & Camera Equipment list
  10. Camera Reports

Can you please let me know if this is right or am doing to much to prep.



Jacob Sacks-Jones
3 years ago
Jacob Sacks-Jones 3 years ago

Not Roger, but will chip in - (hopefully helpful)

I don't have physical notes on set anymore - it's all on my iPad. (If I remember right, I read somewhere that Roger likewise uses an iPad at least for reference images? Don't take my word for it though). I have a selection of really fantastic apps that I use to cover these bases -

I can collate moodboards from the billions of images available online on apps like Forge and Curate. I can take notes and annotate images on Noteshelf. 

I can create floorplans (and shotlists) (and edit them on the fly) (and share them) (and sync them across the cloud) on Shot Designer (which has become absolutely indispensable). I can organise by project, but I can also refer back to what I've done on previous shoots.

I can create more complex lighting diagrams and edit on the fly in Lighting Designer. These can be rough or very detailed. And again I can easily refer back to previous projects to compare.

I then can also use Artemis for framing shots, and comparing to previous frames on other films. Helios for sun position, etc. Arri Photometrics to compare lighting fixtures and specs.

And Google Drive is fantastic - camera team, script sup and DIT can collaborate logging shots etc. all synced, which I can then check in on easily to refer back to previous camera settings if I need to.

On top of what you've listed, I like to have access to various production documents - a detailed schedule, a complete crew list, a cast list, a location list, and call sheets. On top of all this digital stuff, I also sometimes find it's helpful to carry my physical scrapbook around, which is just a big book of pasted in images from lots and lots of different sources, which isn't project specific, but which I can flick through for inspiration. Or even better, I can approach the director and use it to help communicate lighting (do you want something more like this image, or more like this image?).

3 years ago

Hi Jacob I like everything you added to this that you do for pre production I have looked in to Shot designer and other. but currently I have an older tablet Samsung Galaxy gt-p7510 so most apps don't work on it. but instead of an actual scrap book you should look in to downloading Evernote its one of the best cloud based apps ive ever used. it a document program that links up between phone, computer, and tablet. lets you make notebooks for projects that where i normally do my scrapbooking for projects.

But thank you I have more stuff I can add to my Pre pro now.

Jacob Sacks-Jones
3 years ago

I've tried a fair few notebook/note-taking apps, and I'm quite picky. Never really liked Evernote, always felt a bit cluttered. But that's just personal preference. I do really like having something physical in the actual scrapbook alongside a tablet - you can actually feel the images and the bulging pages etc., but also never runs out of battery and you get all sorts of unrelated images next to one another making interesting connections that you can flick through. And the process of putting together a physical scrapbook is pretty relaxing!

3 years ago

Thanks alot jacob this all is very helpful can you please give a link to the light designer software i would like to add it to my tablet or laptop for use

Jacob Sacks-Jones
3 years ago
6 months ago
B.R. 6 months ago


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