Location, Location, Location. It’s the “where” in your video production equation. When finding a video location, there are lots of factors to consider. Here’s a quick tip guide.
If you are going to shoot on private property, get written permission from the owner. If you’re shooting at a business or a government facility like a park, call them well in advance to find out the approval process. This could take weeks, so plan accordingly. Any location might require you to have production insurance, so be ready to have that conversation. Also, if you shoot on the street, you could need a police officer on site to ensure safety. Check with local authorities.
Check out the location at the same time of day that you’ll be shooting. Public places have more and less crowded times during the day. Days of the week (week day vs weekend) also should be factored in. This will have a bearing on the noise/traffic levels at the location site.
3. DO YOU HAVE THE POWER?
Foremost in production consideration… where are you getting your power? You have lights, battery chargers, sound equipment, etc that are going to need juice. Also, larger lights pull more amps than ordinary residential setups can handle. So doublecheck and make sure you have enough power before your shoot day. Also make sure you have access to the fuse box in case something blows.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO SOUND.
Is there a hideously loud a/c unit that can’t be turned off? An airport next door that has a flight out every 10 minutes? It doesn’t matter how perfect a location looks if your sound is unusable. It’s easy to check for problems by listening through your camera’s mic pickup (with headphones). If you’re using a wireless mic, check it at the location for interference.
5. TAKE PICTURES AND NOTES
Use a camera to document the location from all angles you might be shooting. Also keep a location log with notes about each location. For example “Neighbor has a barking dog. Bring lots of kibbles.”