How to Scout the Perfect Filming Location

The location for your film is a vital part of pre-production. Here are some steps to help you find the perfect spot.




Location Websites


Does the location make sense for the needs of your story? Do you need an Apartment, a farm? A Manor House? You would be surprised how much is available out there, waiting to be hired. There are websites and agencies dedicated to hiring out filming locations and you can even try places like Airbnb.



Contact Local Councils


Want to shoot on the beach, or in the middle of the city? Whether you’re shooting a feature, a short, or a major drama series, boroughs and councils are quite good at doing their best to accommodate you and they don't need much notice either. In exchange for their flexibility, they do expect incoming productions to be fully co-operative and courteous to their residents. When seeking permission make sure you have the following

  • A shooting schedule

  • Evidence of risk assessment

  • A copy of your Public Liability Insurance


Time of Day


When are you planning on shooting your project? Morning? Evening? Make sure to scout your locations at that time so you can take note of what it looks like, how the light is, the colours, and the overall look of the area.



Sound


Is there an airport nearby? Are there fridges, or other appliances that make noise? Are you able to turn them off? Also, pay attention to what your location sounds like at the time you plan on shooting. Does traffic pick up around rush hour? Are kids being let out of school during that time? These are all things to keep in mind.



Take Photographs


One thing to bring with you when location scouting is a camera, whether it's your professional camera or your phone. You will need to take a lot of photos of all the interiors and exteriors you're interested in shooting. You don't want to be back home trying to decide on a location and having no way of referencing it with your team. Also make sure to take wide shots so you can see the whole surroundings.



Weather


What's the temperature like at that time of year? Is there a lot of rain, or snow at this location? Making sure you know all of this will help you decide on the perfect location and give you the necessary planning you will need.



Power


Does your location provide enough electricity to power all your gear? Count sockets and check with the owner. If your location doesn't have power, you'll need to figure out other options. For example, can you afford/do you need a generator? Or, can you use light modifiers to shape sunlight?



Check out the Local Area


It's a good idea to check out the area for essentials, including internet and phone signal, food, toilets. Make sure that your postcode actually takes you and your crew to the right place and not miles out the way. This happens a lot in rural areas.




Scouting locations can be tricky and difficult, but it's so important to get this right so we hope these tips will make it slightly easier.