What does 'covering' a scene mean?
Covering a scene means getting enough shots to allow you to edit together a meaningful, interesting sequence that gets the story and emotion across.
How many shots should you film per scene?
That really depends on the scene, whether it is action packed or a simple dialogue, but for a straightforward conversation between two people, traditionally you will probably want a master shot, a close up on one character, a close up on the other and maybe a medium two shot.
Does that mean I have to film the scene all the way through 4 times?!
Yes and sometimes more than 4. You have to take into account actors forgetting their lines, DPs making mistakes and boom getting in shot. Whatever happens, make sure you do the scene enough times to get every shot you have planned.
Won't the actors and everyone else get bored?
Probably. But it's their job to pretend they're not and usually your team is there because they like doing the job they do and they have committed to making this film with you. So don't worry about asking for the scene again and again or whether people are getting bored or tired. As long as you keep to schedule and work hard it's all fine.
How to cover a scene infographic
This is a little infographic/worksheet you can download and print