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Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot: The Process of Film Making

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Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot. Have you heard this before?

One thing I’ve noticed in my time in the film industry is that on many smaller, lower budget film sets the basic way things should run gets completely thrown out the window!

I admit that on some sets blocking is not always completely necessary, but not only is it really helpful to your crew, but don’t you think it would just make sense to get into the habits of the pros?

Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot:

Private Blocking

Sometimes a Director will need to Block the scene with the actors in private before being ready to share the scene with the crew. When a private blocking is happening crew should stay away from the area and try to do some quite work. Grips and Electrics can take this time to build staging area, prep lights or lay cable.

Crew Blocking

Crew blocking is when the scene is acted out for the key crew members. Department heads watch and have an opportunity to ask questions and/or resolve potential issues. Departments like grip and lighting can get a better understanding of necessary tasks based on what is happening and It just aids communication between the Cinematographer and his Grip and Lighting team. When finished actors can go to makeup or do whatever they need while the rest of the crew moves on. Art department can finish any necessary work as well.

Light

After the blocking the Cinematographer gets a chance to discuss the lighting plan with his gaffer and key grip, they go to work as camera team sets up the shot and the rest of the crew does whatever they need to prepare for the shot. The assistant director department times everything out so actors can be ready at the same time as the rest of the crew.

Rehearse

When everyone is ready rehearsals should begin. Now with digital film making on many sets they just roll on the rehearsal. This is fine, but generally you rehearse before you roll on it so you can work out any kinks or make final tweaks before you commit to a take.

Tweak

If necessary the cinematographer or director can make tweaks to the scene based on issues that came up during rehearsals. This can involve adding lights, changing camera positions or height, changing the set, props, wardrobe, makeup or even changing up the blocking. Really its just a fail safe to make sure you are getting every detail right.

Shoot

Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Move on. Start over. Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot!

Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot

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Iggy

Gaffer / Cinematographer & Blogger

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  1. Victor NguyenVictor Nguyen01-13-2013

    If you don’t mind, can we start getting some gaffer lighting tutorial with pictures like the one above?

    • IggyIggy01-13-2013

      Yes, we have a lot of ideas floating around right now, is there anything in particular you would like to see?

  2. tony medinatony medina01-15-2014

    this blog is awesome! I have been perusing through so many different websites, YouTube videos and how to websites that people have posted and for the first time in my many years of life, this particular posting on your blog has executed more ideas for training than anything else I’ve seen. simple yet very effective in helping want to understand how to achieve any project. Very well said and thank you.

    TM

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