Finding the right location for your story is an art in itself. Location scouting is a vital step to planning a successful day of filming. Here are a few things we’ve learned over the years when it comes to identifying your story and finding the right location to bring your project to life.

1. Know Your Story

Story is the foundation of your film. Your location is one of the many tools that will help you tell the best story you possibly can. Understanding your script is a crucial step in actualizing your vision. Do your research and think critically about your needs. Ask yourself: How much time do you have to prepare? What kind of equipment will your team be using? How many people do you need to accommodate? Identifying your logistical needs before you dive in will help you form a more targeted search and ultimately be more successful.

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2. Begin Your Search

Make use of the tools available to you and don’t be shy. Search for photos online that will help you clarify your perfect spot and lead you in the right direction. Archive your favourite places so you have a resource available to you for future shoots. Find the pictures that speak to your story and then find out how to get there. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes all you have to do is ask and you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you!

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3. Put your location to the test

There is no substitute for experiencing your proposed location in person before you commit. There are many elements of a location that you’ll miss otherwise. There are three very important steps to remember the next time you go scouting:

  • Bring your camera. Explore the location though your lens. Understand what your location looks like on camera and where to find the best angles. Use this information to build a location log for future shoots.
  • Scout at the same time you plan on scooting that location. Your light and atmosphere will change depending on the time of day. Make sure you go there when you plan to shoot.
  • Pay close attention to any background noise that may interfere with capturing clean audio. Come prepared and take notes. Use this information to determine the best place for your project and to plan your shot list for film day.

Location scouting is crucial part of pre-production. Control your variables ahead of time so you can be well prepared. Scouting your location before hand will give you a huge advantage when you actually go to film. As a final note, always remember to thank the people at your location for providing a space for your film. Credit them when possible, tag their business on social, send them a quick email post shoot with a link to the final video. Maintaining a positive and active relationship with these people will be hugely valuable as you seek locations for future projects.

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