how do you calculate screen time?

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  06 June 2005
how do you calculate screen time?

What techniques to screenwriters/storeyboarders use to calculate the duration of a scene?
Just a Bot: a work in progress
  06 June 2005
1) 1 properly written page = roughly 1 minute of screen time. Surprisingly accurate if you use the US format for writing screenplays.
2) Read the dialogues yourself the way you want them acted.
3) Get a bunch of actors or friends to read and act the dialogues for you. Try to tape it, so you can use it in step 4.
4) From a storyboard, create a story reel. Shoot the storyboard and edit it as if it were the actual film, pacing each board with the time you think it needs for the action or dialogue to take place. No fancy stuff. Just cuts to see the pacing.
If you have no video or computer equipment, place the boards on some big cardboards and while someone else reads the script, "cut" the film in your head visually by using a pointer to point to the appropiate board.
5) shoot the damn film, goddamn it. You are more than ready now. Make sure to use enough coverage (closeup or establishing shots you can then insert anywhere) so you can cover holes in the continuity and add a couple of seconds here and there if needed.
Gonzalo Garramuño
  06 June 2005
Don't go with your own reading of the script. When you read your own stuff you get through it a lot faster than others doing it for you.
  06 June 2005
I'd also like to add that you can use a stop watch and time yourself for each page of text.

The other thing you could do is to create a rough cinematic with really rough sketches and a video camera.

OR you can get a tape recorder (do they still exist :P) and tape the dialogue. For the action sequence (non-talkies) you can describe the scene and action vocally. Or visualise the action in your head and use a stopwatch to time it. Write the times down and add them up.

I'm sure there are also other ways, too.

Good Luck

  06 June 2005
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