Pre-Production: 7 Tips for Location Scouting

Location scouting is a major part of pre-production. Finding a great looking place to shoot is hard enough as it is, but there are still plenty of other things to keep in mind before making a deal.

1. Safety

Safety comes first in everything you do. If you walk into a location and it strikes you as unsafe, then it probably is. Film sets themselves can be very hazardous. Bringing one into a dangerous location could be disastrous. If the safety issue is merely questionable, you can consider having someone come and check the place for structural integrity. You can also hire a fire marshal, a police officer or an on-set medic to supervise shooting.

2. Space

Productions take up a lot of space not only on the set, but around it. You will need to make sure that the space is big enough to not only fit the scene, but also all of the equipment and crew to bring it to life. Beyond the set, you will need a place to stage equipment. You will also need an actor holding area. If you cannot find these sites in the location, perhaps you can find them nearby.

3. Bathrooms

Far too often, productions forget that people will need to use the bathroom throughout the day. If there are bathrooms on site, make sure that the owners are willing to let you use them. If not, you may need to seek out a nearby facility. If you are out in the woods where there are no bathrooms for miles, you may need to rent some port-a-potties.

4. Parking

Do not wait until the day when all your trucks and production vehicles pull up to realize that there is no where for them to park. Whether there is a parking lot or you want to use street parking, make sure that there is a plan. The cast and crew may also be driving their personal cars to set. If there is no space nearby for all these vehicles, you may need to find a lot to shuttle them from.

5. Electricity

Though you may have the luxury to afford a generator, you should always explore the house-power situation. Check to see how available the outlets are. Make sure that you have access to a breaker box. Find out how much power exists in the building. Though you are not an expert, you should not overlook this need.

6. Sound

Try to listen to the ambiance in the location. If you hear a lot of planes flying overhead while you are there, then this could end up being a problem during shooting. Though you may not afford to allow this to be the deal-breaker, it is something to be aware of.

7. Neighbors

You are going to make a decent amount of commotion when you bring your shoot to the set. Ask the owners whether they have any fussy neighbors who might throw a fit. And to be fair, make sure that you will not be doing anything that will compromise their comfort.

There are many things to consider when picking locations. These are just a few of the things to keep in mind.

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