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Location Scouting


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#1 Vincent T Sharma

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:05 AM

Location scouting



I only did location scouting twice and took with me a checklist I got from a book and it helped me okay.

My checklist

Space Adequate for shooting
Space to move the Camera and space for laying tracks
Window Views
Crowd control
Natural Light and places to hide the lights
Electric Power
Quiet enough for shooting or not
Basic facilities like parking,bathrooms etc.

I heard that Spielberg shot Munich only in three locations and he used a single location for different locations in the movie just by changing the colors......true????

Please post your tips as to how we can make more creative decisions and what to look for in locations with respect to blocking. As most of you have worked in feature films, you should be having a lot of ideas you got from professional experience.

Thank You
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:29 AM

How about: Would it look any good on camera? Will it serve the script needs? Will you be allowed to modify it? (Painting walls in particular but even things like trim trees, move heavy furniture, etc.)

The key with locations is to get the director to think what it will look like through a lens on a typical set-up. Often a director falls in love with a place with an interesting floor and ceiling, but those might only be seen in a few shots compared to the walls and windows.

Also, you have to weigh the difficulty of the location, how far it is to drive to or haul equipment to, with what you're getting out of it. There may be something similar that is closer and easier to shoot.

There is also a "gut feeling" issue -- sometimes a director and DP look at a location and it's "well, it's OK but it doesn't excite me". That may be fine for a throwaway scene, but otherwise, you may want to insist that the location scout keep looking. When I see a location, I hope that some element will excite me visually about it, some detail that I can use that makes it worth coming to this location.
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#3 dudeguy37

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:49 PM

Though I don't really scout locations the "real way" since I'm not at all a professional, one thing that is incredibly helpful when locations have it is a dedicated staging space. If we have room to set up all the gear in a completely separate space that will be out of all the shots yet close by, in increases the efficiency of the shoot many times over. Obviously you could stage in the shooting space if you had to, but you'd be moving stuff around constantly, or the other option is to send someone back and forth to the truck/car, even slower. While a staging area shouldn't make or break a deal if the location itself is perfect, it certainly is a nice luxury.
Peace,

-Harry
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 01:06 PM

You're right, a staging area for equipment is very important. Often you find some room or garage in a house and ask the owner if it can be emptied to use as a staging area, video village area, etc.

On the other hand... you don't want the primary reason for picking a location to be convenience over the visual qualities it gives you. Sometimes they give you a location that is "perfect" -- i.e. perfect for every department but sucks visually and doesn't really tell the story. At that point, I'd rather settle for being a little inconvenienced if what goes on film (or tape, whatever) is more exciting, within reason (you don't want a location that will make it impossible to make your day.)

You also have to consider the sound problems, especially if the sound recordist isn't there on the scout and the scenes are dialogue intensive.
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The Slider

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rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Abel Cine