A comprehensive guide: Location Scouting Services

An overview
Location scouting services is one of the most important part in the pre-production phase of shooting. It means finding an ideal location for shooting outside the studio which is physically feasible and falls within the budget allotted for the project.

If the location is physically feasible make sure it is also technically feasible – availability of power source, workability with lightings and sounds and is easy to get a permit.

Main points to remember

  • Should be according to the idea of the shoot.
  • It should be physically and technically feasible.
  • It should be easy to acquire permits.

Why is location scouting important?
Location scouting is done by professional scouts who help find the right place for shooting a film. They also prepare a proper schedule and select the right prop and element for the scene.

Location scouting has two main scouting procedure

  • Initial film scouts
    These scouts will provide you with photographs of all the different locations out of which you can select best suitable and move on to visit that place.
  • Tech scouts
    Once you have selected a couple of locations for filming you will proceed to tech scout the location which involves checking out fine details which will help you get a deeper understanding of the location such as lightings and power sources.

How does location scouting work?
Best Location scouting service providers are professional scouts who possess comprehensive knowledge and a library of pre-scouted locations. You will explain the details and the idea of shooting to the scout and he will provide you with various locations which you can visit and deem fit for a shoot.

8 things to keep in mind while scouting a location

  1. Distance
    While scouting various locations keep the distance from center in mind it should be feasible and shouldn’t consume extensive time to reach the destination.
  2. Ease of control
    Are you shooting in a busy street? Too many disturbances? It will take many P.A’s with walkie-talkies to control it. Ensure your surroundings match with what you have in mind.
  3. Ease of getting permits
    Depending on the location of the shoot you may encounter various restrictions while getting a permit such as
  4. Necessary to have cops
  5. Limited time to shoot
  6. Restricted from shinning lights in buildings 
  7. No firearms, not even the fake ones
  8. Cannot block traffic in particular regions.
  9. Check surrounding noise
    Sounds play an important part in a shoot like, the busy street has the sound of people and vehicles, riverside has water gushing, the night sky has wind and insects chirping, these sound elements adds up to the shooting so keep a check on surrounding noises while scouting.
  10. Availability of good parking
    You would want your crew to reach the shooting position in time and have ample space for parking so that they don’t have tickets in their windshield. You want to set up your camera and start shooting as soon as possible, time is the most valuable commodity you have.
  11.  Availability of bathrooms
    Other than having proper parking you also need to take care of bathrooms for your crew, it’s small but an important thing that many production houses neglect.
  12. Distance between the location
    If you have two shooting locations in a single day consider the distance between them. Packing up and traveling to a different location and setting it up all again consumes a lot of time, this is called ‘Company move’ as in this time span no shooting takes place. 
  13. Nearby facilities
    Mention all nearby emergency facilities contact numbers in the call sheet. You never know what might come in handy.

Steps for location scouting 

  1. Have a clear idea of the kind of location
    What do you want to shoot? What emotions or responses do you want to trigger in that scene? Do you need a house? A mansion? Wasteland? Highland? Have a clear idea of what kind of location you want to shoot in.
  2. Set a Budget     
    Locations are not always cheap or expensive, having an idea of budget can help you select a location that would fit your budget.
  3. Set timelines
    Depending on your script you may spend hours or days in the same or different location which directly affects your budget so it is a good idea to formulate a timeline.
  4. Scout the location
    While scouting a location keep above mentioned points in mind to save time and get the best location.
  5. Get a permit
    Once the location is decided contact the owner or the authority responsible for that location and get a permit for shooting.
  6. Start shooting
    All done! Set up your equipment, prepare your crew and you are good to go.

Mistakes to avoid while location scouting

  1. Excessively scouting
    Scouting a location once or twice is okay but you should resist going more than that because it may irritate the owner as they don’t get paid for the scouting.
  2. Having a wrong idea of property
    You cannot assume you have the entire property reserved for shooting unless the host says so. It’s important to tell the host about the various locations you will use while scouting so that he can give you his approval or denial.
  3. Discussing price while scouting
    Many experienced filmmakers make this mistake. You shouldn’t discuss pricing while scouting but rather in emails or text so that later you can have a reference point to check in case of misunderstanding.
  4. Asking questions to the wrong person
    If a person is attending to you while you are scouting the locations it’s not necessary that they have all the answers to your question. If you think they are not the right person to offer you an answer you can ask them to relay the information to the person who can answer your questions.
  5. Not having the contact information of your scout

You should have the contact information of the person that you are expecting to meet at the property.

Conclusion Keeping in mind all these points you can find Best location scouting service provider and select a perfect location for your service. Out of many Moonland.se provides the best location scouting services. Their services extend from Nordic regions to top international locations.

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