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Film Shoot Scheduling with Constraint Programming

October 7th, 2009

Team: Jay Mandyam
Faculty advisor:  Dr. Barr  Year: 2008
Documents: Final report (PDF)

In Hollywood, the Assistant Director is in charge of creating the shooting schedule and the Unit Production Manager has the task of making sure that each and every crew position is filled for every day of shooting. On smaller, independent, low-budget movies, however, scheduling is at the mercy of the actors and the crew since they usually work for free or for a small stipend. It thus falls on the producer to create the shooting schedule based on people’s availabilities. Typically, the “easiest” way to approach this is to do it manually, with a lot of guessing, testing, and revising.This project develops a model to ease the task of the Assistant Director, mainly for a low-budget independent shoot. The model uses a Constraint-Programming approach to generate all feasible solutions, not necessarily an optimal one. The algorithm takes into account constraints such as scene requirements in terms of actors, crew members, and location, their availability and budget considerations. A software tool using the OPL constraint programming language has been developed and run using a few test cases. The the algorithm will take into account all the availabilities for each requirement of each scene and based on those availabilities will match them up to create all feasible possibilities of the order to be shot in.

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