By Jahnavi Patwardhan. Posted on May 02, 2015
Blocking, as a concept originated in theater, to map the exact positions of the actors and their movements on stage. The term was adapted to cinema with the addition of lights and camera. Before shooting a scene, during the rehearsal, blocking plays a very important part as the camera operators and the actors get an idea of how the scene will proceed during the actual take. The term was derived from the practice of 19th century theatre directors such as Sir W. S. Gilbert who worked out the staging of a scene on a miniature stage using blocks to represent each of the actors.
While a film is being shot, blocking a scene involves the actor saying their dialogues and marking their position, stance & movement while doing so. It might also involve the camera movement with reference to the actor. Sometimes the script has blocking instructions written into it but it is eventually the director's call.
When you start making a film, remember that every film shoot is divided into 5 parts:
Adhering to these 5 steps help make the process of shooting the scene easier.
There are multiple combinations you can use to block a scene. The four basic set-ups are;
Here are some tips on blocking that might prove helpful in a shoot.
If you’re using mostly still or single-motion camera shots, it may not be necessary to block the scene. But for complicated shots that use several sequences of motion without cutting, to get things to look smooth and have a certain flow, you should try blocking it out.
FilmSkills.com has put together a very helpful tutorial on blocking a scene for a shoot. Watch it and learn.