Of course every project and every client is different, but I'd like to know what tools/techniques people use when spotting projects with clients?
As a general definition here, lets define spotting as watching down a video or film project with the client/director/producer and taking time-specific audio notes because the director will then leave you to do your work.
Here's how I usually do it:
For all shorter video projects and some films I'm driving the session, which means I can start and stop playback as and ask questions if I need to. I try to keep the pace brisk though, as directors can devolve into long creative rabbit holes about their visions if you let them. Mostly I'm looking for specific facts that relate to the story (does that truck keep idling there or would she have turned it off?) type things. At the end though, I should have a solid feel of overall tone that the director is looking for.
In this situation I tend to just throw down protools markers directly into a session, and write my notes directly into the markers. After the spotting session I'll transfer those into region groups for export into other work sessions or into edicue, or if the project is smaller in scale I'll just work off of the markers.
For films I'll use the transfer process to work up a general list of things that I know I need to get out and record to get the project done the right way, and I often transfer that list to my iphone as a spreadsheet or just a raw email.
Our most recent film was spotted a little differently though, and this is where I'd like your input - if you don't have playback control and you're in a dark room, how do you take notes? For this film we played it down without stopping, and I took notes on a notepad while sitting next to the director. I was still able to ask her all of the questions that I needed answered, but when the lights came back up I felt fortunate to be able to read my few pages of blind handwriting and timecode notes.
In the end I felt the film was spotted about as thoroughly as it would have been otherwise. The process was more efficient but also a little more stressful, though not any more labor intensive (since I transfer my notes either way)
So when you spot, how do you do it? What do you think you could do better?