Choosing the perfect filming location for your video can make or break your final output. Unfortunately, as crucial as it can be, scouting for the right location for your video is like finding a needle in a haystack. Hiring a location manager is a great option. However, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to compromise on authenticity but still want to get the best location for your story, we’re here to help.
5 Things to Consider When Location Hunting
Here are some of the things you need to consider to help you choose the perfect film location:
- Space – Filming in a remote location can be a nightmare. Make sure the production team has enough space to put their equipment and move freely. The last thing you want is for them to get in each other’s way. Find a location where the team can multitask – we recommend getting ample space that can be multi-purposed for a rest area, a control room, and a wardrobe, among others.
- Logistics – Of course, you have a lot of equipment to bring; you need to see if the place has a parking lot. Also, check if there is cell reception, enough power sources, bathrooms, and permits you’ll need to obtain.
- Accessibility – This is crucial, especially for video shoots requiring a location change. When shooting a video, time can be your enemy; you’ll have to beat it. Setting up production equipment takes a lot of time; ensure that moving from one location to another is not time-consuming.
- Security – This is a basic protocol; you should check if the location is secure and closed off to possible trespassers. Remember, your filming equipment is highly valuable.
- Cost – Of course, you’ll not book a location you cannot afford. But what you can do is try planning, list the possible sites you have in mind, how much you can spend per location, and then negotiate with the property owner.
These are just some things you need to remember before choosing a filming location. So, with these on top of mind, let’s go to the actual hunting process!
Step-by-step process in choosing the right filming location
Read the script.
The purpose of your video is to tell a story; that’s why it’s vital to choose a location that matches the setting stated in the script. Break down your script and identify the places you need to find for the video.
Organize and plan your location search.
Initially, you can do a virtual location hunt before going to the location in person. Not only is it time efficient, but it’s also cost-effective.
Do your research. You can contact a film commission or search online location tools such as Shot Hotspots, Location Hub, or real estate listings. Make a list of the locations’ pros and cons, and from here, you should be able to eliminate sites that didn’t pass your initial screening and go to your best bets.
Time your visit.
If you’re shooting outdoors, you need to do the location hunt at around the same time of day you plan on filming. Through this, you’ll be able to assume the same lighting and sound conditions by the time you do your actual shooting. Take notes of where the sun is and what the weather is like. By scouting at the appropriate time, the director of photography can determine what kind of lighting equipment they should bring on the shooting day.
Keep your ear out.
Listen to the sound in and outside of the location. What can you hear? Do you hear a loud noise from the road a few blocks away? Consider every sound you hear, ensure it will not affect your shoot, and take notes of what you can control or not.
If your shoot is indoors, eliminate problematic echoes during filming by using furniture or props that can soundproof the location. We suggest incorporating professional audio equipment, as our ears cannot pick up all the sound waves. Audio can make or break your video. A video that has terrible audio will most likely get skipped.
Identify where to set up.
It’s crucial that right from scouting, you decide where you should set up your equipment. If you don’t know the script by heart, print a copy. Then, visualize the shots you have in mind for the script, pick a suitable area, and check if there’s enough room for your camera to set up so that production staff can quickly get to the spots you intended them to film.
Some locations are just hard to find or even impossible to secure a permit to shoot. What you can do is check out alternatives and think outside the box. For example, if your location should be inside a prison, you may consider looking for a place you can transform to look like one.
Ensure a power backup.
It’s hard to tell when your generator will run out, so ensure you have extra generators ready, especially outdoors shooting.
Sometimes, there are unforeseen circumstances that can happen during the shoot. But as the famous quote says, ‘the show must go on!’ While scouting for locations, list down the possible contingencies that might happen, and in every situation, you should have a readily available plan B.
Make sure to check the following:
- Weather forecast
- Traffic alerts
- Road conditions
- Load shedding schedule
List as many details as you can when scouting a location. It may not be easy at first, but researching your locations will ensure that things will run smoothly and save a lot of time during production. Need to shoot overseas? Let us help you find the right location and local crew.
We are here to help
At Global Media Desk, we specialize in bringing your visions to life. We only work with the top local professionals in such varied fields as video production, photography, creative services, and film & video crews.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about shooting in any country around the world. You can also request a free online quote to see how we can make your project a complete success.