Location scouting for videos

Location scouting tips

Location, location, location! Location scouting for video production means searching to find the right place to film. This process is an essential part of pre-production.

Finding your ideal filming location

Once the brief, concept, script and storyboard have been created for your video, the next step is to establish your locations and decide where each of your scenes will be shot.

For a corporate video, this could be as simple as identifying which conference room or office to film in. It could also be identifying which part of the city you’d like to show off if you’re interested in an out-door shoot.Outdoor location

For larger brand film or TV commercials, location scouting can be an extensive process involving a producer, director and cinematographer each going to survey a particular location.

To consider

When scouting for locations, it’s important to consider the following:

  1. The lighting environment and if outdoors, also consider what time you’re planning to shoot there so you can work with the direction of the natural light
  2. The type and level of sound in that location and how it will impact your video – are you recording dialogue outdoors? Is the traffic noise too loud?
  3. How busy it is – foot traffic, general population and similar- if you’re shooting in an office, you’ll want to avoid areas where there’s a lot of foot traffic
  4. The power supply and where you can plug in your equipment – if you haven’t got enough batteries, this could be important
  5. Accesibility and parking facilities on site – if your carting equipment around on a trolley, the last thing you want to encounter is steps
  6. The space available for all cast, crew and gear on site
  7. Wind conditions if you’re shooting with a drone as well as any flight restrictions (more here on that)

Drone

Testing it out

As part of the scouting process, it’s likely you’ll chose to do a small amount of location filming to test out what the location will look like on screen (this is called a recce). It’s also beneficial to do a test shoot in the location to get an idea of the audio that can be picked up, and give you the chance to practice setting up your equipment.

Location scouting

Permissions

It’s important to remember that filming in certain public spaces require permission from the local council or authority. You’ll also need permission for filming on private property (usually, written consent is required from the landowner will suffice). Obtaining location permissions is something that should not be left to the last minute; really it should be done well in advance of your expected start date. Seeking permission from the council make take days to go through, and it’s important to give yourself enough time to find an alternative location should you not be granted permission.

Here are some useful links to gaining shooting permits in Sydney:

Rocket Productions is no stranger to location scouting and obtaining permits. Here at Rocket, we are highly experienced in finding the best possible place to shoot your video. Not only do we choose somewhere that will adequately fit with your story, we also handle all the tricky paperwork for you!

Gabi Miles is a Producer at Sydney based video production company, Rocket Productions. You’ll find more useful articles on our blog.