A bit lost with location scouting? If it’s your first time location hunting and you’re not sure where to start, here are some practical tips you can keep in mind to make sure your first location scout doesn’t end up a complete headache.
You don’t need the whole crew to be there.
When it’s your first time, you might think you need everyone’s approval to agree on a location. But you actually don’t. What’s important is you need it for your scene and it works. So, you don’t have to wait for everyone’s schedules to line up. At most, if you’re a low budget filmmaker and it’s your first time, then all you need is your DP to do the initial scout. Just make sure to take lots of photos for the rest of the crew.
Go at the right time of the day.
Scouting a particular area or location in the time of day you need it for the shoot is crucial. If you’re shooting a spot for a sunrise shot, then go at sunrise – same thing for sunsets or midday. Remember, light and mood changes everyday in a particular spot so make sure it’s exactly what you need.
Be friendly and talk!
The best way to find more locations is to talk to other people. If you’ve already had potential places to check out, ask the owners or the locals if they can recommend other areas they think you should check out. Have time to talk to them and get to know them and let them get to know you as well. Most of the time, they will be more than willing to point you to other cool spots. Plus, if you’re scouting their place, they might even give you a discount if you’re nice to them.
Read the tourist pamphlets or local town guide.
If you’re unfamiliar with the place and looking for casual settings like restaurants and other simple places, don’t ignore the importance of tourist pamphlets. They’re incredibly informative. For instance, if you’re looking for restaurants, you can usually find dining options listed in these pamphlets, these are information you won’t otherwise find if you were simply going about blind.
Always know which locations you need for the shoot.
A little planning goes a long way. Don’t leave your home without having a proper location or type of spot you want to scout. This might seem like a no brainer advice but it’s surprising how so many first timers forget this.