Filming On Location?

The Logistics Of Planning A Shoot Away From The Studio

Ever wondered how much detail goes into planning a shoot on location? Here’s how location managers can prepare the ground for their crew.

Whether it’s a TV series, a documentary or a movie, most viewers can’t possibly envisage the amount of time and effort that goes into filming a project for their entertainment. It’s inconceivable that weeks of shooting may go into a scene that lasts just a few minutes, yet that is the reality for those who work in the industry. Of course, being in a studio is one thing where all amenities and equipment are at-hand, but when it comes to filming on location it’s an entirely different ball-game – based entirely on logistics!

Powering Your Location

Long before arrival, it’s important that the crew has a thorough understanding of where they’re going to be based, including mapping out what facilities are available onsite. As well as knowing where the nearest toilets and kitchen are, this also means working out if you’re going to have access to mains power. Your shoot won’t get very far without adequate power for your lighting and recording equipment, but generator hire services that operate using diesel will ensure that you have power whether you’re filming on a cliff-face or inside Pinewood studio.

Organising Your Crew

Your crew will need to dress appropriately on location. If you’re heading out into a forest or shooting somewhere with a particularly strong weather forecast – whether hot, rainy or ice cold – it’s important that your crew have brought the appropriate attire and gear that allows them to stay comfortable and focus on getting the job done.

Many film shoots take place in anti-social hours, outside of the usual 9-5 working day. This is often to provide access to buildings or areas that are occupied during daylight hours, or it may well be that your scene requires different lighting to match the script. There are various photography apps available which can assist in determining the right light to shoot in. But take note of the timings of your shoot and the likelihood that your crew will be required to work very early mornings or past midnight for example. You’ll all want your accommodation to be a stone’s throw away, so make sure you book something extremely nearby. Trailers and location vehicles with internal accommodation may be a great option here, but remember to give your crew an early wake-up call to avoid anyone sleeping in.

Parking

It’s imperative that you suss out the parking situation when filming on location. Establishing a unit base for your shoot often means finding or defining a parking area that can accommodate somewhere in the region of 30-60 parking bays, depending on the size of your crew and set. For example, as well as generator hire and accommodation trailers, you’ll also have technical vehicles, on-site catering, make-up and wardrobe and even portable loos.

Choosing Your Gear

When it comes to selecting your filming equipment, being on location often means that you don’t have the luxury of bringing everything but the kitchen sink. Instead, you’ll need to consider the weight of your gear, how far you’ll need to carry it from the base to where you’re shooting, as well as how many hands you’ll have to help you transport the kit. Remember to bring plastic wrap to keep your equipment dry and free of dust.

Filming on location is all about logistics, but so long as you have a competent location manager in charge who has the right network of contacts, then you can sit back and do your job whilst enjoying the thrill of shooting outdoors!

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