Helpful Hints for Location Scouting

Ben McElroyBlog

Boston based video production company, McElroy Films is enjoying the success of their growing corporate video division. The recent influx of clients looking to film their commercials on-location around Massachusetts is the inspiration behind our newest blog post.  This necessary step in pre-production planning is easier said than done, which is why this blog works to provide people with a few helpful tips for scouting the perfect shooting location.

1. Understand The Overall Concept: Understanding the video concept is essential to meeting the needs of your client. The location plays a supporting role to the script so if you understand the message of the video then you are already on your way to finding the perfect filming environment-one that is relevant to the concept. Be sure to ask your client who the target audience is before starting any pre-production work.

2. Timing is Everything: Visit the location on the day and time that you intend to film at so that you can preview the natural lighting as well as the pedestrian and automobile related noises and traffic.

3. Follow the Light: Be aware of where the sun rises and sets when you are filming both indoors and outdoors.  If the interior location does not have blinds then be prepared to bring portable blinds or sun blocking blankets. Lighting outdoor locations is tricky because the lighting changes throughout the day so  be sure to note where the sunrises and sun sets.

4. Get Permission to Film: Before sending the client a visual of a location make sure that you know if permits and legal permission  is required and if so, find out how long approval process takes. Ask a realtor for assistance if you need help finding locations and permits. Always be sure to bring release forms for all the people who appear on camera to sign otherwise you may not even be able to use the footage!

5. Take Photos and Notes: Take photos from as many angles and locations as possible and be sure to note the sounds, sunlight, cell service, proximity to parking and power sources, food, and bathrooms while you are scouting. These may seem like obvious things to remember but often times it is such a relief to find the perfect location that the small details get overlooked!

Good luck!