Location is Everything: Finding A Shooting Location For Your Video

One overlooked factor when it comes to producing live action videos is the necessity of choosing filming locations. While wild and creative filming locations may abound in your head, actually translating those into reality can be a costly reality check.

Of course, sometimes you don’t need a filming location–if your video is being shot at your own offices, for example. In many cases, however, you’ll need to secure a location for filming. Costs can vary widely depending on geography, but you should budget around ~$500 per day for each unique shooting location.

That said, here’s some other tips and tricks you should keep in mind when making decisions about shooting locations:

Don’t choose locations until you’ve locked down your script TIGHT

You should be 100% final on your script before choosing locations. If you make changes on the fly that might require new scenes or settings, it can delay shooting and most likely increase the final price.

Go to friends and family first

It may seem obvious, but go to family and friends first for shooting locations, since you can often secure these locations for free.

Be specific

When thinking about locations, be specific with your filmmaker. Don’t just say “I want to film it in a house.” Say “a modern house with stylish 1950’s furnishings.” You probably have something specific in your mind when you picture your video, and you need to translate that to your filmmaker.

Contact the local film commission

Big cities tend to have local film commissions that can help you find potential shooting locations and point out popular places to shoot. Film commissions are usually happy to help you as it can be free publicity for them.

Ask to see pictures first!

If you’re working with a filmmaker remotely or can’t see the locations yourself, ask the filmmaker to send you still photos or video clips of the scouted locations so that you can approve them. It’s much worse to be surprised when you see the footage and can’t do anything about it later.

Make sure you have the proper releases and permits

The responsibility for this should ultimately lie with the filmmaker, but make sure you are on the same page regarding securing the proper releases and permits to film in the locations you have chosen.

Scope out the lighting and noise situation

Again, your filmmaker should be taking the lead on this, but be sure to be cognizant of the amount of lighting and ambient sound in the locations you choose. If there is is adequate lighting, your videographer may need to bring in additional costly equipment. It’s also important to take into consideration sunlight and how it may change throughout the day. If there is a lot of noise pollution, he/she may need to bring in sound canceling equipment and better mics. Your filmmaker can even shoot some test footage to be extra sure the conditions are optimal.

As real estate agents are prone to say, it’s all about “location, location, location!” Even if you’re working with a skilled videographer who will take care of most of these details, it’s important to stay on top of the situation and have a hand in the choosing of shooting locations. Video is all about the visual, the right settings can really make all the difference.