Scouting and securing locations is an essential part of the filmmaking process. Finding the right location can add authenticity and credibility to a film, while the wrong location can distract or even ruin a film. Additionally, it is important to properly secure a location to ensure that the production team has the necessary permissions and accommodations to film safely and efficiently.
What is location scouting?
Location scouting is the process of finding and identifying potential locations for a film or television production. This can include both indoor and outdoor locations, and can range from highly specific locations such as a specific room in a house or a particular street corner, to more general locations such as a city or region.
Scouting can be done by the director, producer, location manager, or a combination of these people. They will often create a list of requirements for the location, such as the size and layout of the space, the type of scenery and architecture, the availability of power and other resources, and the proximity to other locations or transportation.
How to scout locations
There are several ways to scout locations for a film:
- Research: This can include looking at photographs or video footage of the location, reading about the location online, or consulting with local experts or residents.
- Location libraries: Many production companies and location agencies maintain databases of potential locations, which can be searched and reviewed by filmmakers.
- On-site scouting: This involves physically visiting the location to assess its suitability and gather more detailed information.
- Virtual scouting: With the advent of advanced technology, it is now possible to scout locations remotely using virtual reality or 360-degree video footage.
What to look for when scouting locations
When scouting locations, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Authenticity: The location should match the tone and setting of the film. For example, a historical drama set in 18th century Europe would not be well served by a modern office building.
- Accessibility: The location should be easily accessible for the production team and cast, with adequate parking and space for equipment and support vehicles.
- Safety: The location should be safe for the cast and crew, with no hazards such as unstable structures or dangerous wildlife.
- Logistics: The location should have the necessary resources and amenities such as power, water, and restrooms.
- Permissions: It is important to ensure that the production team has the necessary permissions to film at the location, and to coordinate with the owner or manager of the property.
How to secure a location
Once a location has been identified and deemed suitable for the film, the next step is to secure the location. This can involve negotiating a location agreement or rental contract with the owner or manager of the property.
The location agreement should outline the terms of the filming, including the dates and times of the shoot, the areas of the property that will be used, and any special requirements or restrictions. It should also outline any compensation or fees that will be paid to the owner or manager.
It is important to have a written location agreement in place to protect the interests of both the production team and the property owner. It is also a good idea to have a location manager or representative on hand during the shoot to coordinate with the property owner and address any issues that may arise.