The estimated duration of a scene in the finished film is called estimated time. Estimated times are prepared by the script supervisor in the preparation phase during the creation of a script breakdown and help to estimate the effort required on a shooting day in the production of the shooting schedule. They are given in 5 or 10-second intervals and are often the reason for adjustments to the screenplay: If the estimated time is too long, it can be a waste of resources and can jeopardize the chances of completing the shoot in the designated shooting time.
From an artistic point of view, however, this can be a win, because the director has material to play with and may not have to use all the filmed scenes to achieve the intended overall length of the film. If the estimated time is too short, scenes have to be added to the film.
The estimated time must not be confused with the planned shooting time. While the estimated time describes the duration of a scene within the movie, the scheduled duration is the time it takes to shoot the scene. A scene with an estimated time of 1 minute can have a scheduled duration of half a day of shooting.
However, the estimated time can help when it comes to estimating the scheduled duration and deciding which scenes can be shot on a shooting day and which combinations might exceed the legal regulations on working hours. However, caution is advised: Things like stunts, digital effects, animals or even children have no influence on the estimated time, but can significantly increase the scheduled duration.
Note: On some productions, the two terms are swapped – always ascertain the meaning of the terms to avoid misunderstanding. The time on screen will be measured in minutes and seconds, the time required to shoot the scene will be measured in hours and minutes.