The team is ready, and so are the actors. In case of the movies and web series, since the screenplay is fixed, a complete narration is provided to the primary actors, especially the established and the faces of the films; and thus, if their interest is retained, they are brought on board. However, in the case of TV shows, the screenplay is open to many changes, thus only the pilot episode is narrated and the course of actions is decided.
Budget & Scheduling
What is the most important for a film/ show to be made other than a great concept and a potential phenomenon? It’s the money.
When the producer finds the idea and the story that is pitched to him/ house interesting and bankable, the budget is ensured and the scheduling is decided according to what the show/film asks for. And if we talk about Mythological/ historical shows, they require 10x the budget than the normal productions, as the investment in costumes, sets, VFX and production design is way grand.
  • Division - Budget analyzation and calculation start with breaking down the script into pages per day; basically, deciding how many pages are planned to be shot for each scheduled production day. Budgeting, Output and Efficiency, all are co-dependent on each other and mark up and down due to the format; i.e., TV format or film format. In television, no. of minutes shot every day is very important since 10-15 min are shot from a supposedly 22-minute episode in a single day, whereas in films, the output per day is just one or two minutes. Thus, a lot of budgeting depends on the final edit output per day.
  • Calculation - One day of shoot is generally set to one page of the script. Dialogues are typically easier to shoot than effects-heavy/action sequences; so, in the latter case, the estimates are set to double the page length. And if a sequence requires complex blocking or movement, then a quadruple the page length in each scene is broken down. This sets a basic estimate of budget without extended fees. Cast Members are categorized on the script breakdown template; and based on the shoot pages per day, the number of days each cast member would be needed are calculated. Since actors won’t likely work full days in front of the camera for every day, so their fee value is multiplied by a correction factor of 1.5 or 2 (correction factor is basically an estimate of multiplied times of approx. fee of the actor). This expected number of days on set for each actor is calculated and thus the respective salaries are calculated. Also, in case of secondary cast, the calculation is simple to add up to; for e.g., if 50 actors are needed for 1 page scene, then the number of background actor days would be 50.
  • Production design - There is no one simple formula for this estimation, and it’s completely dependent on the face value of the props, stunts and effects used. Also, the presence or absence of stunt doubles, special effects team, stunt coordinators and second unit camera teams also affect the estimation. So, basically a budget estimate for each effect or stunt on the script breakdown sheet is developed. A major proportion of the Budget also goes in vehicles, critters and animals. Like stunts, these elements also require special estimates for appropriate crew, rental, insurance, etc. Animals and babies since are unpredictable and are difficult to shoot with also need extra estimates for their diet, their nannies/tamers and extra cares; Those too are added to the budget.
  • Crew rates - Once all the technical is derived, the crew comes in last. For this estimate, the full script length is divided by the number of pages to be shot per day to determine crew needs. For e.g., if the script is of 100 pages and 5 pages are shot per day, then the crew is called for 20 days. Hence listing all the crew and multiplying their salaries by the number of production days brings out their budget. The crew breakdown basically includes directors, producers, sound team, craft services, gaffing and electric, art department, camera team, wardrobe, transportation, location management, hair and makeup, property management, etc. However, all of this process of engaging with the crew is not that white and black; negotiations make up a huge part of it, which again is an art. Mostly it is clear per day basis, but it also depends on the skills and experience of the person being hired. Many a times, there are unions too that have fixed rates and limited number of hours for workers etc. All of these things have to be followed, and the producer registered under righteous producer organizations has to consider the possibilities. Not only this, the very seasoned production manager/designer calculates all the variables such as actor dates, weather, travel time, studio and location booking dates, budget, difficulty of shooting sequences etc. to figure out a shooting schedule that matches all the requirements and human limitations and finally the whole algorithm is set and laid out in budget estimate software such as Studiobinder etc.
However, such software can only be validly used for certain aspects such as break-downs and scene one liners, timing of a scene, combinations of actors in a scene etc. As for the budget, it is something that is complex and comes only with experience. Thus, a good team is a prerequisite for the same.
Finally, every sector is quadrated on script budget binding sheet, and is added up to get the final estimate of the budget. Once the budget is settled within the director’s vision and potential final edit, the field work starts.
Art Designing/Production Design
The concept arts, drawings and the miniatures are now brought to life size modelling. As per the locations, shooting schedule, labour presence and budget, sets are stood up and the production design department starts working on the locations. This is where props section also comes in. According to the scene being shot, the art department sets up the environment around and make use of the untouched as well as the interactive props. Overall, this job is super demanding and presence of a good team in art direction is extremely important, since complete set ups before the shoot and clean up after the shoot, all are hour long and tiring jobs.
FILMING - Most of the proportion of production
The director comes to the seat, and according to the schedule, scenes are shot in shifts with a mutual coordination of various technical teams. On location, director sits on the monitor and stages the scene according to the screenplay and how he wants the scene to be shot. Where the director’s team is responsible for easy flow of every small sector, the light team subordinates with the camera team, having the cinematographer on the camera to create a perfect shot. However, what brings the shot to life is an abstract feeling - A bonhomie between the director and the DOP; a chemistry that ensures a smooth shoot.
Generally, movies are shot on one camera or two camera setups through industry standard 1080p or 4k resolution cameras such as Arri Alexa, Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, Canon Cinema EOS, etc. However, TV serials are shot in multiple camera setup with major focus on tight shots or close ups due to the TV format, which basically is a close up medium since people watch it in their homes on small screens. Since in India, the women audience on television is huge (A reason behind rise in the daily soaps), thus elevating emotional quotient, this format works as a favour. And because of the presence of HD resolution in modern TV sets, shows are shot majorly on cameras such as Sony's high-end 4K, F5 etc.
Basically, according to the scene division and story board, each frame is shot with external association to the VFX teams, as green screen or blue screen shots are a major in mythological shows and the light team that ensures proper blacking and diffusion of light; it is very necessary to get the right colour temperature, especially in TV shows because of the use of saturated colours in final product. Normally, to get an ease in shoot, matte paintings are made beforehand digitally and are then used to set lights accordingly. However, there are many other factors that influence light placements in a frame; Props, set extensions, light direction and shadow in VFX shots accompany light effects under acknowledged supervision and coordination with all the departments.
However, this is just the visual aid. Sync sound is generally used for efficient working and use of RODE mics are used to record the dialogues of the actors on set. However, dubbing still takes place in post-production as there is a lot of sound from the set that also gets recorded. Thus, once every sector works together on a shot according to the director’s choice and pre-production standard, a shot is finalized.
And this is how the whole screenplay is justified, and the shoot is completed in scheduled time.

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