Location Scouting: Finding the Perfect Spot for Your Production

location scouting

Productions can range from jet setting stops to different cities or countries or it could be an opportunity to find the perfect scene, closer to home. The problem is without proper location scouting, you may never find the perfect spot to film your production. Location scouting is an important part of the pre-production process and one you can’t start without. Without the perfect background location to set the scene and the mood, your production will fall flat, and your final production won’t captivate audiences anywhere.

Things Location Scouts Look For

  • Sticking to the Script
    Location scouts need to know the ins and the outs of the script. Without knowing the script and the motives behind various scenes, a location scout can’t choose a site that will highlight and emphasize your story setting. If the scout does not know the script, it may hinder the production instead of helping it.

    Scouts will look for settings that add value to the story at hand. For example: you can’t speak about the wonders of nature in your production but shoot the scene in the bustling city. This detracts from the message that needs to be conveyed, the right scene can subtly reinforce the message of the production.

  • Noise and Lighting
    When it comes to location scouting, timing is everything. In daylight it may be a sunshine lit meadow, but as the sky darkens to even or night it could be perfect for a horror scene. Location scouts will also check the location at different times of the day to find a time best suited to the specific scene. Early mornings can be noisy in the city as everyone is hustling off to work, whereas noon may be slightly quieter. The time of day and even the specific day of the week can have an impact on the location. Location scouts will need time to fully assess which day and time would be best suited to the production script.

    Remember – Outdoor lighting changes as time goes on. You wouldn’t want your actors working in the blazing heat with sun on their faces, nor would you want to struggle with underexposed shots. Too much or too little light outdoors can have an impact on the shoot, which is why some location scouts prefer locations that are in constant shade or to make use of overcast days. It’s easier to add lighting in an outdoor environment than it is to reduce the amount of light in a scene.

    Lighting is just as important as time when it comes to production. When location scouts go out, it’s best to take a camera or even a cameraman along to do a few test shots to check the lighting. This will save time on production day and scouts will know if any extra props are needed to brighten or lessen the amount of light that enters a room.

  • Power Please
    With the amount of electrical equipment on site, going without a power supply can be challenging. Location scouts will always try to find a site that will enable them to plug in various equipment such as lighting or cameras. Some may carry spare camera batteries but depending on how long it takes to shoot the scene, a few spare camera batteries may not be enough. If scouts are able to find a location with plug points, they will need to find out where the fuse box is, should the crew inadvertently overload the electrical circuit.

These few points aren’t even the tip of the iceberg for location scouts. Location scouts also need to ensure that the sound in the selected location is perfect, that the required permits or permissions are obtained, that the weather conditions leading up to and on production day won’t have an adverse effect on the scene. Location scouting is not a job to be taken lightly.

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