How to finalize a location for your shoot?

We often underestimate the power of strong visual set-up in films and mostly concentrate more on the dialogues or camera angles, etc. But, trust me, a set or location should convey more than your actors, camera angles, movement or script. It might not appear prominent but a good location adds on to your emotions, mood and feel of the scene. Although there are so many tips to find and finalise a location, we are going to discuss 5 basic necessities before you finalise your location for shoot:

  1. Do you have the permission: Do not just barge in a location in excitement. There should be a permission, mostly written, before shooting on anyone else’s private property.  There are a lot of people who might get excited by the idea of a shoot and you might think that you can get the location for free. But there should be some form of a written agreement before you even step on their property. There is a provision called ‘Location Release Form’, which includes a written agreement between both the parties (you and him), duly signed and stamped. Also, in case the owner asks for money, it should be mentioned in the agreement to avoid any confusion later on.
A still from Lagaan
  • The distance of the location: Transporting heavy and expensive equipments, camera, crew to a distant location is always tricky as your time is always precious during shooting. So, even if you have a choice between two locations and you have to finalize one, always try to prefer the one which is closer and easy to reach, even if it is not the perfect location as you have dreamed.
  • Can the location accommodate everything?: The look of your location could be the best thing happened for you but did you check whether the location can accommodate your equipments, your crew members, your props and all the character movements? This thing could annoy you and spoil the shoot, if not monitored correctly. Also, there should be an emergency exit as well, in case if something goes wrong.
A still from Gangs of Wasseypur
  • Noise: One aspect of shoot we tend to forget is the sound. In case, if we are recording the sound on location, we have to check whether the location is too noisy to shoot or record the sound. Try to finalise locations which are away from traffic noise, industrial noise, marketplaces, loudspeakers, etc.
  • Power: You might have gone into the interiors of a village and you might think that this is “the” perfect location for your story, but the moment you plugged in your lights, there is a power failure. What would happen then? Your entire hard work in getting there along with your crew and equipments went in vain? Always check whether your location have sufficient power supply to help your shoot or not? Whether there is a regular power-cut in that area? Has it got the sufficient natural light for you to continue your shoot?

Well, there are many more important points you have to remember while finalizing a shoot but we have covered only 5 of them here. Location scouting is one important phase of pre-production and should not be taken lightly as it might hamper your shoot later.

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