Filmmakers have to find locations, and they can be as specific as the Old South, a place that looks like a neighborhood in the present day, or every house on a certain street. A location scout finds sites and arranges to get permission to shoot there.
Location Scouting Checklist
What Is location scouting?
Location scouting is the process of finding the perfect places to film your movie. It’s looking for the right setting, researching it, and then getting permission to use it.
Location scouting involves cold-calling businesses and owners, making appointments with them, and actually shooting in different locations.
If a location scout has done his or her job well, he or she will be able to show the director what a location looks like and how it would look on camera.
A successful location scout is an important part of any production team because, without this person on board, the director can’t make an informed decision about whether or not a certain location is right for his or her film.
In many instances, location scouts play a key role in getting a movie made because they save money by finding free places to shoot that still look good on camera.
What Is Location Scouting?
Location scouting is one of the most important jobs on a film set because it sets the visual tone of the movie.
It’s also an art form in itself.
A good location scout can find just the right place for his director, with just the right look and feel.
Location scouts find everything from mansions for wealthy families to grungy city streets for low-budget films.
Scouting is an essential part of pre-production when filmmakers are planning out every shot in their films.
Location scouts work closely with producers and directors to find places that fit their needs, then get permission from landowners or property owners to use those places for filming.
They negotiate deals for using buildings or other structures and ensure that everything is safe for shooting.
Location scouts do a lot of legwork before filming begins. They work out deals with landlords and property owners and always handle sensitive negotiations respectfully.
Location scouts also interview residents around the shooting area.
Location Scouting Checklist
Film and television productions, commercials, photo shoots, music videos, fashion shows and other big-budget productions often require several locations to complete their production.
More commonly, small-scale projects that require just a simple one-location shoot are also filmed in a variety of locations.
No matter how large or small your project is, you will still need to confirm the availability of your locations.
Location scouting helps you find the right place for your production so that you can easily plan out the logistics.
The first step is to create a list of all the places you need to scout out and determine whether they meet with the requirements of your film shoot.
Here is a checklist that features everything that you need to do during the location scouting process:
- Check the location’s phone number & email address,
- Compose an email or make a phone call to confirm the availability of the location,
- Scout out all other amenities near the location,
- Determine how many people you require for your shoot,
- Inquire about any additional costs or fees associated with your shoot.
Arrange a Meeting with Someone from the Location or Contact Them via Email Follow Up with Your Decisions Once You have Selected Your Location.
Best Practices For Location Tech Scouting
Location scouting, the process of physically visiting a location to check it out before you commit to it, is one of the most important parts of any production.
It’s important that you do location scouting before you shoot, but there are also several other times when scouting is crucial.
If you don’t do your research, you could end up shooting in an unsafe area or a spot where there’s construction going on or even another production.
Here are some key factors in location tech scouting:
Do Your Research
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that all locations look the same in real life as they do on their computer screen.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll want to visit your location as many times as possible and at different times of day to make sure that it looks exactly like you imagined it would.
On-Location Shooting Isn’t Like In-Studio Shooting
Unlike in-studio shooting, location shooting involves a lot more moving parts than just the main cast and crew members.
You need to be aware of whether or not it will be possible to build sets and bring equipment onto the actual property, and if so, how much room will you have to work with? If you’re filming outside, will there be adequate lighting for what scenes?
Keys To Location Scouting Like A Pro
Location scouting is a crucial step in the filmmaking process. If you’re new to filmmaking, you may not know how important it is to find the right locations for your production. It’s extremely important.
In fact, it’s arguably more important than the script itself because without a location that’s suitable for your film, you can’t shoot it at all!
So if you’re in charge of finding locations for your movie or short film, you need to know the keys to location scouting like a pro.
There are certain things that have been true about location scouting for a long time and there are certain things that have only recently become true.
The key when making any decisions about locations is to consider both old and new aspects of the process.
Here are some basic tips to help you scout locations like a pro:
- Location Scouting is as Important as Casting Your Film,
- Scout Locations as Early as Possible,
- Don’t Let Your Budget Determine Your Locations,
- Know Your Audience and What They Want,
- Scout Before You Shoot,
- Location Permits May be Required,
- Consider the Time of Year and the Weather,
- Find Locations Conveniently Located near Other Locations,
- Get Creative with Space and Layers.
What Is A Tech Scout In Filmmaking?
A tech scout is a pre-production visit to locations you intend to shoot on. It’s when you check out the location, meet with the property owner, and walk through the space.
It’s also where you’ll do measurements, decide on shots and start creating your shot list.
The tech scout is usually done during the pre-production phase of a film project. This is because it’s vital to know the physical dimensions of the location before you schedule your shoot day and plan your shoot schedule.
Once you’ve determined the size of each room, or if it’s outdoors, how much area you have to work with, you can already start to figure out how to make everything fit into this space that you have for your film shoot.
Who is involved?
Depending on the size of your production company and how many crew members will be involved in this project, you may need to hire a location scout just for this task.
They are trained professionals who go out and find great places for shoots all over town so that their clients can save time by not having to search for locations themselves.
If you don’t have a scout working on location for your production company yet, this is a relatively low-cost hire that can be well worth the expense of finding what will be.
Movie Location Scouts Start With The Tech Scout Checklist
Exploring a new location and figuring out where to place lights, cameras and microphones is all part of the fun for location scouts. A tech scout, also known as a pre-production scout, is an additional step that location scouts take before production starts.
It’s designed to figure out how to capture a scene and make it look interesting in post-production. Location scouts are usually responsible for making sure the director has everything he needs to make his vision a reality on set.
They’re also responsible for finding the perfect locations for each scene in the movie, as well as negotiating with location owners.
When they’re searching for locations, they have to consider what they’ll need in terms of lighting and sound equipment, as well as whether the location will be available at the time of production.
A tech scout makes sure the location is viable for shooting before crews begin moving equipment in.
Light Sources At Your Filming Location
There are many different types of light sources in the world, but there are usually three that you should be concerned with. These are:
Natural light is any type of light that you receive from the sun.
It is unpredictable and will change depending on the weather, time of day, and even the time of year. Natural Light can be used to light any subject that you want if it is diffused enough.
You must have a good understanding of how to use natural light because it’s free which means that it won’t cost you anything to get whatever effect you’re looking for.
Artificial light is any type of man-made light source, such as fluorescent lights, or tungsten lights, and incandescent lights.
These types of lights are very predictable and can be used to create almost any lighting condition. If you’re filming indoors, artificial lighting is a must-have.
It’s not always possible to use natural lighting in a room or an interior location so artificial lighting will make your life much easier by allowing you to control the amount of illumination and color temperature that you need.
Bounce lighting is when you aim a light source at a surface so it bounces back onto your subject.
Power Sources At Your Filming Location
When you are filming on location, there are a variety of power sources that could be available. The type of power source at your location will depend on what you need to plug in and how much power you need.
Some locations may have generators available and at others you might not be able to run any equipment at all. Below is a list of common power sources:
Plug In Power
If you only need to plug in a few items like a cell phone or camera battery charger then you might be able to plug into an outlet. Many homes and businesses have outlets near the front door for electric door bells or alarm systems.
You can plug into these outlets as long as they are not being used by something else or they are switched off (i.e. breakers turned off).
Don’t assume that because the light is on, the outlet is live! Check with the owner before unplugging anything from the outlet.
You should bring along an extension cord just in case the outlet is too far away from where you need to plug in your items.
If you need more power than what is available from an outlet, then a laptop computer might be your best option for powering just about any piece of equipment short.
Finding Staging Areas At A Movie Filming Location
If you’ve never been to a movie set, it’s hard to imagine how huge they are. They often take up an entire city block and include several different kinds of sets, props, and vehicles.
That’s why it can be hard to find out-of-the-way places to park your car or RV when you arrive at a film shoot.
The best thing you can do is get there early. If you have time before your shoot, scout out some possible parking areas so that you’ll have an idea of where to go when the time comes.
If time is short and you’re not sure where staging areas are located, call the location manager and ask him for information about specific areas on the set where parking will be allowed.
Searching for a parking area may seem like a nuisance, but it would be more frustrating if you end up with a ticket because you had nowhere to park.
If you’ve never worked on a movie set, here are some tips that might help: Locate staging areas closest to the set. The closer they are to the filming location, the better off you’ll be. While it won’t eliminate walking entirely, it will make it easier for everyone involved.
Find Parking On Your Movie Location Scout
Picking the right parking lot or garage for your film shoot can mean the difference between free parking and an expensive headache. If you are shooting in a busy city, finding free parking may seem impossible.
Most major cities offer some type of permits for filming on public property, but it is best to check before you begin location scouting.
Some cities have restrictions on where you can shoot and what time of day, so be sure to contact them for any possible changes.
If you are shooting in a residential area, make sure that you find out if there are any restrictions to parking before you set up camp.
Also, always be aware of street sweeping days and other potential restrictions that could affect your shoot.
To avoid getting tickets and being towed, try to park in an area that will not attract attention from authorities.
It is always smart to ask permission before you park a production vehicle on private property.
Also, be aware of your surroundings when choosing a parking spot near a home or building because it is best to avoid residential areas and streets with speed bumps or stop signs.
What Does Your Filming Location Sound Like?
When you are creating your video, how do you sound? Do you have a nice personality and a positive attitude? Are you talking fast, or are you at ease when you talk? There is more to your video than just the visuals.
Tone of voice is very important in e-commerce videos.
Here are some things to keep in mind when recording:
Don’t be boring or dull. E-commerce customers want to feel like they are friends with the person who will be shipping them their product. You need to convey that feeling.
If necessary, ask for feedback from someone on your team and record yourself again if needed.
Don’t Talk Down
Have an upbeat tone of voice so that your video is fun and friendly as opposed to boring and monotone.
Don’t sound condescending or patronizing either! Make sure that you maintain a professional demeanor but don’t sound like a robot.
Speak Clearly but Not Too Fast
You want to speak clearly so that viewers can hear what you’re saying. If English is not your first language, make sure that you practice pronunciation before recording yourself speaking English so that it doesn’t seem like an entirely different language!
What Kind Of Location Scout Do You Need?
If you’re a location independent freelancer, or someone who works from home, location scouting can be an important part of your job. Is it a job for everyone?
No, not really.
However, many people can do it. In fact, location scouts are responsible for much of the production value of movies and TV shows we watch today.
If you’ve ever wondered how they find the perfect place to film something like a car chase scene, or how they know exactly where to find the best coffee shop in town for that morning shot, the answer is location scouts.
Location scouts use their experience and knowledge to find the perfect places to shoot. They have connections in every market imaginable and they know their way around them all.
They have a keen eye for detail for spotting those little details that make a shot feel real.
Today’s digital age makes it easier than ever for aspiring location scouts to get started—you don’t even need experience in traditional scouting methods like still photography or videography!
With the right software, you can be on your way to finding great locations and reporting them back with ease.
Studio Or Real Location For FIlm Production?
The world of film production is an exciting, fast-paced one. The ability to move and work quickly is a necessity in the industry.
You see it all the time on movies and television shows.
A scene is being filmed in one place and then before you know it, the scenery changes and the actors are in a completely different location with a new set of instructions. It’s amazing to watch!
Trying to pay attention and take in everything that’s happening can often be too much for your brain to handle.
That’s why video production companies use teleprompters to help actors remember their lines, specials effects, and makeup teams to help create characters and give them that professional look, as well as sets that are built specifically for a specific filming location or purpose.
When you’re trying to decide if you should hire a film studio or real location for your film production, there are some things to consider.
Cost – naturally, when you rent out a space for film production, you will have to pay for it.
These spaces aren’t cheap by any means so keep this in mind when you’re shopping around for filming locations.
Time – How long do you need the space? If you only need it for a day or two, renting out space may not be worth it.
Technical Considerations When Film Location Scouting
Location scouting is a fundamental element in the filmmaking process. It is a critical part of pre-production, and a good location scout ensures that filming will be efficient and cost-effective.
So when you are looking for your next filming location, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Name the film and the shooting dates
The first thing you want to decide is the name of your film, as well as the shooting days and dates. This helps your locations person get an idea of how much time you have to spare before production starts, and can give them a better idea of what locations you are looking for.
Once you have decided on your film’s plot, cast, and crew, it’s time to start thinking about where you would like to shoot your film.
Start off with a simple Google search of your chosen location, as well as any nearby towns or cities that could act as alternatives depending on availability and price.
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