Disasters can strike at any time during a shoot. There are times when you might have forgotten to check if the SD card has enough space, or perhaps the battery died just as when you're about to start filming. That's why everyone's goal is to make sure that none of these mishaps will ever happen during the shoot.
Aside from having spare batteries and SD cards, there are other things that you need to consider when doing a shoot. Here are a couple of pointers that you can consider when shooting a video in the field.
Tips when scouting for a video location
Understand the storyline
When choosing a site for your project, you need to ensure that it matches the story well. That's why it's crucial to scout the location first to see if it fits the project. There are various factors that you may encounter when doing your location scouting. A few of the possibilities that you can face are historical sites and natural areas. It can also include urban landscapes, distinctive buildings, as well as waterfront settings.
Although they may seem perfect at first glance, you need to remember that you're telling a story above anything else. So, it would be best if you chose an area that can help you tell your project's narrative.
Know the best time to scout
Although the location seems perfect, you can expect that the setting will change as soon as the time of the day changes. So, you need to be mindful on the day of the week and the time of the day that you'll do your shooting. Considering these things will help you produce quality shoots for your project.
Keep in mind that some places are where people hang out over the weekend. So, expect that there will be a lot of noise and traffic coming from the visitors. These factors can dramatically affect your video.
Check the light
Not all areas receive the same amount of light as the others. So, you need to check the light levels before you start your shooting. One way to do it is by doing test footage using your camera. Keep in mind that a well-illuminated space can complement your subject well. That's why you need to ensure that your subject is well-illuminated to capture every detail of the scene.
If you're working on an area with poor lighting, you can either use window blinds and curtain to control the light coming in. It's a practical way to reduce the exposure to the sunlight while still getting the best shots for your project. Meanwhile, they can also use artificial lights for dimly lit areas. Using equipment like these can either help you enhance the location's brightness or block any excessive light.
Consider the sun's light
Unlike what most people believe, doing the outdoor shooting is as complicated as those indoors. So, as you try to find the right location for your project, you also need to observe how it looks like when it's full sun or in full shade.
Remember that exposure to the bright sun can make your subject's face too harsh. Even more, it also tends to blow out light-colored surfaces when exposed to the full sun. Thus, underexposing your shots when using automatic camcorder lenses. So, if you're doing any outdoor shoots, you need to ensure that you do it in fully shaded areas. Another way to get the best lighting is by doing it on overcast days to get consistent results.
Do it outdoors
In most cases, doing an outdoor shoot is a great way to narrate the story behind your business. However, doing it outside has its cons, too. Doing your shoots in heavily crowded places can be tricky since you can't control everything that's going on around you. You need to ensure that you choose the best location based on the right time and day.
Also, there are risks involved in doing an outdoor shooting. Aside from the uncontrollable noise, you’re exposed to various weather conditions, too. Dusty winds and unexpected rains can spoil the entire scene, which can heavily affect the footage. That's why it's always a smart idea to have backup days for doing shoots. Another alternative is to have a plan B in case the weather becomes unfriendly.
Check the weather
As aforementioned, weather changes can happen any time, especially when you're doing outdoor shuts. So, it's critical to check the forecast first before heading out to scout for locations.
Video cameras aren't designed to get wet. So, it's best to stay away from areas near the beach or any sites that can get it exposed to moisture. Remember that any smear on the lenses with water or salt can cause the shots to be blurry. It can even cause the memory card to get corrupted, too.
Meanwhile, working on cold temperature tends to drain the batteries. So, you can either pack a couple more spare batteries than usual or shoot the videos quickly. Meanwhile, you need to make sure that you keep your equipment in a cozy space until you're about to use it. You can either wrap it in a piece of a thick scarf or put it inside your jacket while you're filming.
Always check for power supplies
Since you're working with electronics, it's always a must to find locations near any power sources. If your outdoor area is far from any power supply, bringing several camera batteries is the best choice.
But aside from your cameras, another equipment that you need to worry about is your lights. It would be best if you found ways to power your other equipment to ensure that everything goes as planned. Meanwhile, if your location has power access, you need to think about the system's pre-existing load. Additionally, you also need to check if you have access to the fuse box if ever something blows.
Evaluate the area
One of the most crucial aspects you need to think about is the cell phone reception when scouting for locations. You need to ensure that it has a strong signal reception in case you need to call someone. Also, it would help if you made an alternative plan in case your car breaks down.
Does the area have any nearby food stops? Do you have access to any local electronics store in the place? Learning these things will help everyone to feel comfortable while doing the shoot. Not only will they have access to food in case any gets hungry, but they can also go to the nearby electronics store if ever they need to replace any cable.
Get the right permission
Not every location allows anyone to use it freely. So, it's best to check if the area that you're shooting needs legal permission before using it for your project. You need to do a legal check to see if you need to secure legal permission to shoot at the location.
Will you be using a street to film one of the scenes? Are you planning to film someone else's commercial properties? Malls, businesses. and even cemeteries are private properties. Although some owners will be more than delighted to allow you once you ask their permission, some of them value their privacy. So, if the owners decline, it's best to choose a different location instead. It's best to get the right permission in advance so you won't get interrupted once you start filming.
Take photos or videos
When you're scouting for locations, you must take down notes of everything that you see. You can either write them down or take still photos to check at the end of each day. You can even shoot a few short clips to see how it looks like on film.
Taking down notes of everything that you see will make it easier to decide what area to choose for the shoots. Also, take note of the light's quality and the time of the day that you took the videos. You should consider the sounds in the air and everything that you see, too.
Decide where you want to set up
You need to make sure that there's enough space for you to set up all the pieces of equipment that you need. Having a small room that you can set up everything is ideal. You can try to roam around the area to see if there are any spots that you can prepare all your gear.
In the end
These are only a few of the things you need to think about when choosing a shoot location. It's essential to check the security of the area before starting to film anything. It's best to stay out of dangerous sites to ensure everyone's safety. As long as you follow these tips, you'll indeed find the right venue for your project.
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