Location, location, location — perhaps you’ve heard of phrase enough and may wonder what it actually means. In the film business, location is a crucial part of the whole process of making a successful film. Location selection can increase or decrease the value of any film produced which makes scouting an integral part of ensuring the success of your film, however this can certainly pose as a great challenge for some.
Hollywood-budget productions require formal location scouts to be conducted in which case, a team of experts are assigned to perform the exciting and fun task. Even animated films go through this tedious and challenging process — the Disney movie “Frozen” required the crew to scout the beautiful countryside of Norway where they hunted down symbols and structures that could be used for the film. In corporate and lower budget productions however, this is a luxury that isn’t readily available though there are always ways to work around this.
Here are a few approaches you can consider:
1) Do a preliminary scout online
– There are a number of online location tools you can access from the comfort of your computer. This would save your team all the time and energy required to physically hunt down the perfect location by enabling you to narrow down your selection prior to actual visits.
2) Get in touch with Film Contact Officers responsible for issuing permits
– Some states and cities have their own restrictions in terms of filming within their land jurisdiction, particularly if your production involves moving vehicles or aerial drones. If you have access to a private property with massive space to work with — this would be a more cost-effective and flexible option. In the chance where this option is not available to you, making sure you have the necessary filming permits secured would save you a lot of headache and stress.
3) Get personal and capture lots of photos
– Capturing photos of the set location is something your film director, producer, and film crew will love you for. This will give them a good grasp on what to expect come film day.
4) Be mindful of lighting
– Depending on the mood your film aims to shoot for, the lighting requirements may vary. Generally speaking though, the best form of natural light would be during shaded and overcast days as they provide pretty consistent results.
5) Keep your ears open
– Conduct a few sound tests while you’re at the location — talk, clap, and listen to any sounds you need to be concerned about such as echoes. If there’s a predicted thunderstorm coming, you should be on alert for this too as it would massively impact the sound bytes of your film.
Being hyper-intuitive as you tour around the location is just as critical in ensuring that film production would be as smooth-sailing as possible. Your director and producer will always have your film’s best interest in mind. Make sure you think ahead of them and be mindful of keeping them focused on your film. Here are a few pointers..
- Ensure there’s accessible power sources
- Advice the film crew of the most accessible, convenient, and cost-effective parking
- Being mindful of any uncontrolled noise that could affect production (construction works, nature — birds chirping, traffic, etc)