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Do’s and Don'ts When Shooting on Location

April 17, 2012 IADT Chicago, IADT General, Video and Animation Production 0 Comments

Film ProductionExciting. Realistic. Compelling. That’s how it can feel to shoot your film project on location instead of in a studio. However, location filming can also be risky and time-consuming. Before you decide to venture out in search of new film sites, take a look at these film and video production tips for shooting on location.


  • Prepare for the environment. Filming outside exposes you to the elements: wind can hurt your sound recording while rain can postpone your shoot altogether. Schedule flexibly and make sure you take all the right equipment whether you’re filming indoors or outdoors.
  • Scout locations ahead of time. A quick visit enables you to gauge the pros and cons of a potential film location. Before you scout an area, figure out the major qualities you’re looking for. On the scene, take thorough notes about whether the location matches your priorities.
  • Decide whether you need to apply for a permit. Small projects don’t usually require permits if you’re not interfering with the use of public land. If you are staging a serious shoot, however, you need to contact the local government ahead of time to get information about permit applications.
  • Take security and communication measures to ensure that your shoot isn’t interrupted by passersby. If you will be intruding in a public place, let all involved parties know about your plans and use signs to block off filming areas if necessary.


  • Film a lot on location if you have a tight budget or schedule. Location shooting means you’re more likely to face delays, weather-related problems, and scheduling conflicts than if you were to shoot on your own property.
  • Shoot at noisy times. Extra noise can reduce the quality of any sound you record. Extra traffic at busier times of the day can also interfere with your shoot. When you scout your location, make sure you visit at the same time of day that you want to film so you know what kind of sound and activity to expect.
  • Film in the middle of the day if you’re outside. Bright natural light in the early to mid-afternoon can make your subjects appear dull or cause washed-out complexions. If you’re going for a stark atmosphere, on the other hand, feel free to film in this time frame.
  • Expect to find the exact or perfect location. Unless you plan your project around an existing location, it’s unlikely that any place you look at will perfectly match the artistic vision in your head. Be realistic but also follow your major priorities to choose a place that suits your needs.

This article is presented by IADT-Chicago. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from IADT-Chicago.


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