Blocking a Scene

Blocking was originally a theatre term that refers to the positioning and movement of the actors which is necessary for a smooth performance. In cinema, blocking a scene is simply working out the details of an actors moves in relation to the camera. Predicting all the elements on set such as actors, extras, vehicles, crew, equipment should move in perfect harmony with each other.

Floor plans and storyboards are used to design the layout of a scene with actors and camera positions. This helps the crew to visualize everything needed for the shoot.

A director must pay close attention on the actors body language. Professional directors instruct their actors on how to move their hands, legs and eyes to make the scene more authentic.

Every film shoot is divided into five parts

  1. Block: determining where the actors will be on the set and the first camera position
  2. Light: time for the DOP to light the set and position the camera for the first shot
  3. Rehearse: Camera rehearsal of the first set-up with the actors and crew
  4. Adjustments: Making lighting and other adjustments
  5. Shoot: Shooting the first scene (repeat the process)

Blocking tips

  1. A shot list will help during the blocking process.
  2. Let the actors show what they want to do first and make suggestions based on something you have already seen.
  3. The cameras place is determined by what is important in the scene.
  4. The director needs to work on the blocking process until the whole scene works.



Pasquine, F. (2009) The 5 Stages of Blocking a Scene. [online] Available at: [Accessed on: 16 Nov 2017]

Marshall, P.D. (2009) The 5 Stages of Shooting a Film Scene [online] Available at: [Accessed on: 16 Nov 2017]

Nedwriter1. (2016) How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks a Scene [online recording] Available at: [Accessed on 16 Nov 2017]

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