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Where do I shoot my video?

November 3, 2015

By Clarisse Poh, Head of Planning

Quick answer: The location is there to help you tell your story and make the filming easier, if it fails on either one of these factors…choose a different one!

Does location really matter? You bet it does!

Location is crucial when it comes to filming but very often it gets buried under all the other decisions to be made. In broadcast, location plays a huge role and location managers are often one of the heads of department to be hired from the start. There’s time and budget given for location sourcing, recces and application of film permits.

In the corporate world however, location can sometimes be left till the last. One thing I hate personally is to enter a film location blind – that means filming in a place where none of the crew has ever set eyes on or recce-ed.

Making a video in your office is not always the best solution

I don’t know why so many people want to film in their own office but they do. I mean, you don’t do your business on a film set, so why would you think your office makes a good location? I know why, because people think it makes life easier. Well, that’s not always the case.

The most common problem happens with filming at clients’ offices. Sometimes, it’s a measure to cut costs and avoid having to rent a place. Other times, we’re there to film talking heads so it’s a necessity. Clients need to ensure they provide the crew an opportunity to recce the location.

We’ve had nightmare scenarios of filming in offices where the lighting situation is bad, where the sound pollution was high, where there was insufficient space for set up and even places that look horrid on screen.

When arranging filming in your office, make the following arrangements:

  1. Get a brief from the production house on location requirements.
  2. Do an initial recce to source for potential filming spots in your office.
  3. Arrange for the crew to recce your office. This is crucial as it takes a professional to gauge whether the location is suitable or not.  You may think a room is well lit, but on camera, it may not be.
  4. Book the filming location, and for more hours than stipulated. You need to factor in the time to set up, wrap up or even for overtime.
  5. Inform the staff that filming is taking place – this helps with noise and human traffic control. Ensure the office music isn’t playing over the PA system (unless, you have copyright to the music appearing in your final piece!) And make sure people try to stay away from the areas of filming (especially when filming in a common area – footsteps, people talking, doors being opened, are all very disruptive to filming).
  6. Never, ever let the film crew enter blind. If they’re happy to do that, you need to re-consider their professionalism.

Shooting a video on an external location

There’s a bunch of reasons why shooting video externally is better than internally or even in a studio. For a start off you don’t have to spend much time dressing the set because, if you’ve done your homework and the location is good, it’s pretty much ready to go. This is your chance to really inject character into a film with great views, wonderful architecture or even familiar landmarks. There are problems too though.

  1. You may have to get permission or even pay for a permit to shoot in certain locations. Often to use bars or hotels you’ll have to pay a fee to the owner. If you try and do this on the fly you might find your crew being carted off by security guards so beware.
  2. Logistically it can be difficult to get all the equipment to the site and when you get there you may have a problem finding a power source. Remember if you’ve got a film crew they need to eat, go to the toilet and possibly take shelter.
  3. Weather…nuff said!
  4. Sound is an issue that people always seem to overlook. I remember choosing a location on a disused railway that looked beautiful on the locations shots. Sure enough it was beautiful, sadly there was a six-lane highway underneath it. Always think about the sound before you settle on a location.

And finally…

If you want to shoot out and about, be careful because some people don’t like being filmed and security guards, who often have little else to do, are very fond of shouting at film crews and chasing them with large torches.  By all means be adventurous…just be aware of people’s privacy…and wear a good pair of trainers just in case!

For more tips on what to look out for when it comes to filming locations, download our 37 page ebook ‘So you want to make a corporate video?’  absolutely free, gratis and for no money!