When scouting for locations, moviemakers automatically consider what’s going to be in the frame, but sometimes tend to forget that what’s out of it will be of equal importance to your production.

In the video below, “8 Keys to Location Scouting Like a Pro,” StudioBinder, in collaboration with Pond5, outlines a number of factors to watch out for on your prospective locations that could impose upon on-screen action in unwanted ways. Boiled down to the basics, these include:

  • Background noise
  • Air, boat and land traffic in the surrounding area
  • Anachronisms, such as aircraft in the background of your shoot, cars in a location depicting an “ancient” setting, unwanted logos, etc.
  • Accommodating space for gear, trucks, expendables and cast/crew parking
  • Access to power (i.e. outlets, generators, etc.)
  • Erratic weather conditions (rain, sleet, snow, etc.)
  • Modifications to buildings or other structures in the surrounding area that are made after a location is chosen

Much of this checklist is self-explanatory, but it bears repeating that the logistics of your location choice are as crucial, if not more so, than its aesthetic value. Take some time at a prospective location to wander around and consider every variable that could affect your shoot, directly or indirectly. Every visit to a possible location should also be accompanied with lots of photos, in order to give your production designer a reliable frame of reference and some helpful clues as to what kind of resources the set might afford your feature.

Did you find these friendly reminders useful? What things is this video missing? Let us know in the comments below and share your success/nightmare stories of your location scouting adventures. For more, check out our comprehensive guide to location scouting here. MM

Video courtesy of StudioBinder and Pond5.