Unique locations can bring your film to the next level. That’s why location scouting is so important. Size. Lighting. Availability. It all matters. Here’s a few things to know before you go location scouting.

Location scouting is an important step before you film.
Location scouting is an important step before you film.
Photo by Riccardo Bresciani from Pexels

Why Location Scouting is so Important

Location scouting can determine how good your film will be before you even pull the cameras out. If you have horrible locations, it’ll be hard to make your film shine. A unique location can set your film apart.

It’s important during location scouting to know exactly what you’re looking for. How big your location needs to be. What feeling it should give you. If you’re filming a romantic comedy, but you book a haunted insane asylum, you’ll have a tough time convincing your audience to believe in your story.

You Found the Perfect Place, Now What?

You’ve come across the perfect bed-and-breakfast, tucked away in the mountains. It’s everything you hoped for. Now what?

Bring a small camera with you while location scouting. When you think you’ve found the perfect place, pull the camera out and take a few test shots. You are looking at the lighting, framing and any mishaps that could occur because of the location. It’s better to be prepared than to abandon the location half way through filming.

You also need to test the audio. Some locations have a horrible echo, or too much natural sound. This is a step many people forget. Once they know the visual aspects work, they sign the contract. Don’t forget about the audio!

What to look for in a Location
  • Equipment accessibility
  • Availibility
  • Power outlets
  • Visualize your shots
  • Check location’s surrounding
  • Pleasant lighting
  • Clear audio
  • Location matches the script
  • Is it big enough?
  • Common weather
Whoever is in charge of location scouting needs to know the feel of the film.
Whoever is in charge of location scouting needs to know the feel of the film.
Photo by Martin Péchy from Pexels

Permits

After you’ve checked everything about this location and decided you like it, it’s time for the permits. You can’t film without permission from the owner, unless it’s public property. Find the owner and check the availability of that location. You need to line up the dates with your filming schedule.

It will probably cost you a bit of money to rent the location. No one will turn over their house, hotel, or whatever other location, for free. Bring along your location release form every time you film. You need one for every single location where you film. If a cop stops you mid-scene and asks for your filming permits, you better have them.