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How to Choose a Film Shooting Location?

How to Choose a Film Shooting Location

When shooting a movie, the right locations help you build a narrative and become the film’s universe. However, getting the just perfect location is an unnerving task. Permits, fees, and logistics make location scouting more difficult.

To add to it, independent filmmakers are running on a tight budget. Some suggest hiring a location scout, but that is out of the question. 

It is better to do your research beforehand while in the pre-production stage. After all, filmmakers don’t spend 60% of the time in pre-production for no reason.

Even if you find a location that matches your imagination, you wouldn’t want it to be inconvenient for the crew or to look unauthentic.

So, read these tips to craft the perfect location scouting plan.

1. Break Down Your Script

Break down every scene of your film and mark out the set’s settings, props, and costumes required for each. Note down what you need for every scene.

This gives the crew a good idea of what you are looking for, and they can create a storyboard for the location. This materializes or gives a vision of possible places you could shoot at.

2. Ask Your Network

As a film production member, you must have contacts inside the film industry as well as outside. Ask your contacts and the production crew involved if they can connect you to anyone who controls a picturesque location your film needs.

If you ask someone who knows the ins and outs of film/video production, you are more likely to get a positive response.

3. Contact the Local Film Body

Local film bodies have a lot of permits that can provide for locations in the vicinity. For example, Australia has film bodies under each local government that states its rules for filming permission.

In some places, you require permits; in others, you don’t. If there is a famous location you need, chances are that your local body will be of help.

4. Take a Lot of Pictures and Videos

If you are scouting places, visit them yourself. Make sure to take a lot of photographs and videos from different angles, preferably ones you can use in your film. 

You can check natural light and plan your light locations, character positions, and other requirements. 

Moreover, taking videos will pick up the natural audio of the area that you might not notice at the moment.

5. Checklist the Needs of Your Crew

Film production requires a lot of departments to be present around the scene. You know what each scene requires, so make a checklist of the crew members and their requirements when you scout locations.

There have been instances of locations being perfect. But those are so small that the required amount of people could not fit in without hampering the shot.

6. Reuse

Get creative with your locations. For example, if two rooms or two houses need to be shown, you can just choose one house and use two different rooms.

Arrange the props in both rooms to match your narrative, and don’t show the same room in the other’s narrative. No one will know if they are in the same house, and you will get your stories.

7. Movement of People

Film production requires hundreds of people in cast and crew. And with each location you shift, you have to move everyone.

In big cities, where there is no end to traffic jams, moving from one venue to the other with all your equipment in the middle of office hours when you are already running behind schedule is a nightmare.

So, instead of choosing different locations for different scenes, you can venue hire Melbourne in one big space where the entire set can fit in.

This way, all of your locations will be close to each other. And you can shoot multiple scenes within the same premises.

Packing Up…

The right location makes a scene even more genuine and aesthetic. It can add a hint of surreal beauty to scenes. But to get the best locations, you must research and plan your location scouting.

Many filmmakers resort to guerilla filmmaking, which is shooting without permission amidst crowds, for those scenes. But that raises security concerns, so set your locations beforehand, inform the local law enforcement, and shoot your next award-winning film safely!


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