The process of discovering actual sites to utilise as fictional film sets is known as location scouting. Location scouting is the process of scouting locations for commercials, television shows, and films. A location manager finds indoor and outdoor venues for scripted scenes. Location reconnaissance is part of pre-production.
A location is any site where actors and dialogue will be filmed. Location filming is typically motivated by a film’s budget and a desire for greater realism. The proper setting aids in the production of a convincing universe in film.
Not all “on-location” filming takes place in the story’s actual setting. The bulk of movies contains both on-location and studio material. Because it is less expensive than erecting a set, low-budget films are typically shot on location.
Read on to discover how to find the best film locations.
Location Scouting Elements to Consider
When choosing a filming site, keep the following six elements in mind:
- The Look and Environment
The space or location must be consistent with the director’s vision and the script. As you assess a location, note down the lighting and the sound that the location can provide, as well as the weather conditions.
- The Distance
Based on the distance, determine the feasibility of moving the cast, crew, and equipment to the location.
- The Permits
Request permission from the property owner to film there. Permit applications must be completed and reviewed on city, county, state, and federal property.
- The Budget
Each film project is given a location budget. Determine whether and how much fees are collected at each establishment. If the price of a site exceeds your budget, try to bargain.
- The Logistics
Take into account the filming logistics of each location. Consider parking, cellphone reception, power, artisan services, and restrooms.
Location Scouting for Location Managers: A Checklist
Location managers and scouts each have their own procedures for finding filming locations, however, there are a few basic steps. Here’s the checklist:
- Deconstruct the script. The location department will review the script to find filming locations.
- Find sources. The location manager and crew will create a list of filming locations. Look through residential real estate listings. Make contact with a film commission. Many municipalities have a film commission or liaison to help with productions. They list the filming locations.
- Travel and scout. The site manager, often known as a scout, travels to numerous locations to document and photograph them. The director, director of photography, and production designer visit filming locations on a regular basis to verify they are suitable.
- Secure the spot and finalise the shooting schedule. Obtain the owner’s signature on a location release form after picking a place.
Site-Scouting Suggestions for Every Film
Consider the following when looking for a filming location:
- Plan ahead of time. Determine the appearance of potential filming sites at the same time of day. Look for ambient sounds during the day.
- Record your observations. When scouting, always keep a notepad to record your thoughts and observations. Send images of the location to the director and production designer. Make a video using your phone to capture light and sound.
- Have local contacts. Make sure you have a contact person at each scouted place, whether it’s the owner or a representative. If you choose this location, you must work with that person to ensure a seamless shoot.
- Take your permit everywhere.
- Maximise the place. Examine your screenplay to see if you can film in distinct sections and if a venue is suitably large or has both an interior and an outdoor. It reduces production mobility while saving money.
- Examine satellite images of the area. Even if you have already visited an area, you should look it up on Google Maps. Cover all of your bases before securing a location.
Indeed, location scouting is an exciting part of any film project. However, it’s also a big responsibility. Now that you know what to do when looking for (and securing) a location, you can plan better and execute a full film production with ease.
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