When designing your storyboards and shot list, utilizing a camera diagram can be a valuable tool in perspective and logistical planning. Things can be chaotic and hectic on the set and it is easy to make a mistake with eye lines. The camera diagram will put your different angles on a map and allow you to move through your shots with greater ease.
Let’s look at the following diagram that describes a basic dialogue scene. The camera diagram describes the location and movement of objects in a space, as well as camera positions and angles. This is a very simple layout of a dialogue scene. Our actor, Joe, enters the door in the Northeast corner of the space and sits down at a table with Mary. They exchange lines of dialogue. Joe passes a document across the table to Mary, then gets up and leaves.
The shot list we have designed for this scene calls for seven shots to cover the scene. In our camera diagram, we first want to sketch out the floor plan. It is critical that you have an idea of the actual physical space you will be shooting in. Earlier, we discussed two concurrent paths in pre-production. By the time the director has come to this stage in planning his or her visualization, it would be extremely useful if the line producer had secured actual locations or had strong options. Then the director can walk through those locations and get an actual feel for the physical space. With that information, the director can then draw a diagram of the actual space and work out the camera placements and the blocking of the actors as described here. It cannot be emphasized enough that knowledge of the physical space is required to truly be prepared for production.